The holidays are here and with them comes the hardest season to stay on track with your diet and fitness goals. Between the holiday office party, social obligations, and family celebrations it’s hard to stay away from the fat, sugar, and starch, and stick with your healthy eating habits. Learn how “Junk” food changes your hormonal profile and why cheat meals are devastating to your health. To avoid destroying your hard earned progress here are the best tips to stay healthy this holiday season, and fend off those extra pounds.
Arrive To The Party Half Full
Have a small and healthy meal at home before you leave for the party. If you don’t have time for a meal try drinking a large bottle of water before hand so you feel fuller when you arrive.
Bring Your Own Dish
When you bring your own dish you can control what goes in it. As a bonus, you know there will be at least one dish at the party you’ll love!
Don’t Overdo The Cocktails
Alternate one alcoholic drink with one glass of water. If you think water is too boring for a holiday party, make some fruit infused water to tantalize your taste buds and keep you good and hydrated.
Stick To Your Routine
You wouldn’t normally skip your Thursday afternoon leg workout, why do it this week?
Exercise In The Morning
Getting your workout in early in the morning prevents you from getting bogged down with a busy schedule and running out of time later in the day.
Fill Up On Nutrient-Rich Veggies
Most vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber which will help you to feel fuller faster, and longer. Use crunchy vegetables to help curb cravings for crunchy junk foods, like chips.
Partner With A Friend To Help With Accountability
If you have a friend that has similar fitness goals to yours it helps to partner up and keep each other accountable during holiday parties. It’s easier to stay on track when you’ve got a friend beside you looking out for you and helping along the way.
Pay Attention To Portion Sizes
With so many yummy new dishes to choose from, the smaller you keep your portions, the more you’ll be able to try without overstuffing yourself!
The holidays can be a very stressful time, take a few minutes out everyday to destress. Yoga and meditation are great ways to calm your mind and body–let us know in the comments your favorite way to destress.
Wear Something Form-Fitting
When your outfit shows every curve and bump, you’ll be more conscious of carrying around a food baby.
Make Socializing The Priority
The holidays are a great time for everyone to break out their favorite Pinterest-worthy recipes and crafts–instead of attempting to taste everything, talk to the hostess about her DIY mantle decorations.
Turn Your Back To The Buffet Table
Eat your healthy meals that fit into your nutritional plans before you arrive at the party and it will be easier to avoid the buffet table. If you are still fighting temptation set up shop in a different room, out of sight out of mind.
Be A Food Snob
If you wouldn’t eat it on a normal day, why eat it just because it’s the ‘holiday season’? That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge just a bit but if the dish or dessert isn’t an absolute favorite of yours don’t bother with it.
Chew Gum To Avoid Cravings
Holiday parties are packed with food and if you’re bored or nervous you may find yourself nibbling away at the closest buffet table just to keep your mouth busy. Popping a piece of gum in your mouth will help you avoid this bad habit and keep your breath fresh for conversations with your friends and coworkers.
Choose Protein Over Snacks
Choose a main dish that you need to sit down and take your time to eat–you’ll eat slower and it will fill you up so you’re not snitching finger foods just because they’re easy and accessible and you’re overstuffed before you know it.
Limit The Variety Of Food On Your Plate
You may not be in control of what’s lying on the buffet table but you are in control of what makes it onto your plate. If you put 20 different options on your plate you are likely going to want to eat all 20, and then go back for more of what you liked. Instead put just 2 or 3 options of things you thoroughly enjoy on your plate.
Put Down Your Fork Between Bites
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full, by putting your fork down between bites, you are giving your body more time to recognize the feeling of fullness so you don’t overeat.
Keep A Food Journal
A food journal is a great way to keep track of what you’ve been eating and to hold yourself accountable for what you’re eating.
If you think you’re ready for your second helping of mashed potatoes, wait 20 minutes to see if you’re actually hungry before heading back.
Take A Walk After Dinner
Did you know that taking a quick walk, even if it’s just around the block can aid in the digestion process while also improving your blood sugar level.
Be Encouraged Not Discouraged By Snow
Just because the weather outside is frightful, doesn’t mean you have to be too! Rather than think of shoveling as a chore, think of it as an exercise.
Everyone loves a taste of something sweet after dinner. A great way to indulge without overindulging is to split dessert with a friend or family member.
Drop Off Desserts At A Homeless Shelter
It’s a win-win, you won’t be tempted by the food staring at your from your countertop all day, and you’re helping those in need have a sweet treat this holiday season.
Weigh In With Your Scale
People always assume that they’re gaining upwards of 10 pounds during the holiday season, but on average, most people only gain about 1 pound! But just because it’s not showing up on the scale, eating only cookies for a week is affecting your body and health.
Redesign The Cookie Exchange
Rather than having an annual cookie exchange where you go home with 12 dozen different types of cookies (half of which were experimental and you probably will end up throwing them out anyway), suggest exchanging ornaments, books, etc. this year.
Stick To Your Normal Sleep Schedule
Sleeping in is great, but messing up your sleep schedule is not. Aim to go to sleep and wake up within 1 hour of your typical work-week schedule so it’s easier to get back into the groove after the holidays.
Stressful as the holidays can be, remember the real reason for the season–family, friends, and being thankful for all that you have. Take at least a few days off from the hectic travels and huge gatherings to have some “me-time” and do what makes you happy. Re-energize for the new year!
Entertain At Your Place
You’ll have more control over the atmosphere and menu when you host this year’s holiday party.
Beware Of Free Food
Most people think that one of the best parts of holiday parties is the free food. Even though the holidays are about being with the people that you care about, it’s easy to get caught up with the food variety available and forget that this time of year is not about stuffing your face with everything in sight.
Drink More Water
Before every meal, drink one large glass of water so you’re more full and won’t overeat at every sitting.
Mark Danger Days On Your Calendar
This will help you to know when you have to be on high alert for cravings and temptations but it will also help you see that there are plenty of days that will not tempt your will to stay on track.
Applaud Yourself For Your Dedication
Surviving the holidays intact is cause enough for celebration! Reward yourself for staying on track and not eating that fifth cookie that you wanted but restrained yourself from. Reward yourself with something that’s good for you, like that cycling class you’ve been wanting to try!
Move And Be Active
As tempting as a week-long Netflix binge session sounds, do your body and soul some good and get up and move around. Even if it’s something as simple as doing crunches during commercial breaks or getting up every 5 minutes to refill the popcorn bowl.
Remember it’s a Holi-day (not a holi-season)
Between Cookie Exchanges, work parties, family parties, and nights out with friends, this holiday can seem like it lasts forever, but just because you have all these events to attend, doesn’t mean you have to veer off track.
Keep Up With Social Media
Social media is great for accountability! When you make all of your friends and followers apart of your goals and journey you are more likely to follow through with good eating habits.
Treat Yourself To A Workout
Find a fun festive workout like, the Santa Dash Treadmill Workout or sign up for your local Reindeer Run or Christmas-themed 5K/Marathon. Especially one that’s proceeds benefit a good cause–it is the season of giving after all!
Join A Winter Challenge Group & Set A Goal
By setting a goal and having others to hold you accountable for the days when it’s hard to do it on your own, having a winter goal and group to support you will help you stay on track during the cold months.
Remember Your Reward
Don’t ruin all of your hard work in the gym and kitchen this year in a single month of holiday splurging. It will make you feel terrible and it will make re motivating yourself incredibly difficult when the holiday’s are over. Remember that your reward for staying on track is a healthier body, that feels great.
Schedule Your Workouts
This is a busy season and it’s easy to forget or skip a workout because you think that you ‘don’t have enough time’ so make sure to schedule them in and make them a priority so that they don’t get pushed to the side until the new year.
Don’t Fear The Weather
Stock up on some proper winter workout gear, download some workout videos you can do in your living room, or sign up for some indoor fitness classes to keep you sweating, even though it’s freezing outside.
Engage In Winter Exercises That Feel Like Fun
Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sledding sound like fun vacation activities, but they’re also quite the workout! Hitting the slopes, trying to keep your balance on the ice, and trekking back up that long hill are great exercises that’ll leave you more sore the next morning than after your last leg day!
Don’t Stress Out
For many people stress is a trigger for poor diet choices and the holidays are loaded with it. If you’re feeling stressed remember that it’s okay to take yourself out of the situation to avoid unhealthy stress eating. Try meditating in the morning to help center your mind and relax your spirit.
Skip The Dinner Plate
Use a smaller appetizer or salad plate to keep yourself in check when approaching the long buffet table.
Put The Food Away After Dinner
If you can’t see it, it’s less tempting to grab little bites, even if you’re not hungry anymore.
Take An Indoor Class
Cycling, Zumba, Yoga, Barre, Butts and Guts….the list of indoor exercise classes is endless! Find one that you enjoy so you’re sure to stick with it and look forward to it.
Experiment With Recipes
Modify your grandma’s traditional, high butter, high salt recipes with some healthier alternatives that’ll leave you a legendary chef in your family!
Double Up Your Workouts
If you splurged a little at the party be sure to hit the gym an extra time or two to help work off those extra calories you consumed, and get you back on track. Be sure that you aren’t using extra trips to the gym as validation for overeating though!
Expect The Unexpected
Have some indoor/at home workouts ready for when the roads get icy and it’s too dangerous to drive to the gym.
Don’t Give Up If You Mess Up
With all of the holiday hustle and bustle you might slip up in your diet or exercise routine, but that is no reason to give up all together. In fact it should be all the more reason to get out there and try harder tomorrow.
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