I love the Holiday season.
There are so many wonderful things about the Holidays like spending time with family, feasting, hot cocoa, baking cookies, decorating the house, holiday parties, traveling, kids are home from school, shopping, and gift wrapping. It's a time of joy and merriness but it also can be a BUSY time of year for most.
Usually, the period between Halloween and New Years wreaks havoc on people's fitness and nutrition. Schedules get crazy and added stress can affect sleep, which can throw off your workout routine. Holiday parties and baking and leftovers around the house leave you with endless opportunities to give in to temptation. The average weight gain can be anywhere from 3-7 pounds over the holiday season. In the grand scheme of things, that winter coat can be shed over the next month or two but why go through that vicious yo-yo weight gain and loss process?
Be smart this holiday season! I believe you shouldn't restrict yourself from things you love and enjoy, but it can be helpful to practice moderation in all areas through this crazy time of year.
Here are a few tips to consider so that you don't turn into that person who says "New Year, New me" and starts a crash diet and crazy fitness routine on January 1st...
It can be overwhelming. Maintain a positive attitude and use this time to explore yourself and grow mentally. Remember that at the end of the day, food is JUST FOOD. Yes, it fuels you and provides you the nutrients and energy you need for workouts or even just daily life. But it also is just food... Your food choices don't equal your value as a human being. Things may not go exactly as planned, you might over indulge at a holiday party, or you may under eat because you were just THAT busy one day... that is OK. This time of year can be difficult for most people so just know that you are not the only one struggling. Take it easy on yourself. Remember the bigger picture and what the holidays are all about!
Stick to your routine/schedule.
Life gets busy but trying to stick to your normal gym, meal, and sleep schedule can really help keep you on track. Meal prepping and eating your normal healthy meals a majority of the time will limit weight gain. If you have your food prepared like normal, it keeps you on track by wanting to eat those meals instead of allowing them to go to waste. Stick to the same gym schedule as much as possible. That is your YOU time. Write it down in your planner or plug it into your calendar. It's like a date with yourself, you can't cancel that! And get some sleep... the stores will still be open tomorrow to get your holiday shopping done (or better yet, order online from your bed!!). Make a schedule and stick to it.
Be prepared and plan ahead.
You are the only one who is in charge of you. You control the outcome of your daily choices and habits. Continue to prep your healthy meals to eat majority of the time AKA be prepared every day! If you know you won't make your normal gym time on a Saturday and you normally rest Thursdays, maybe switch it up and get that extra sweat sesh in on a Thursday. If you know you are going to be indulging in a larger meal that day, stick to your normal healthy food like normal beforehand. NEVER go to a party starving... that just leads to binging on everything in sight. Going shopping all day? Pack some healthy meals or snacks with you so that you don't skip eating or grab something at the food court. Going to a family members house for dinner? Get your workout done beforehand so that you have a little room for those extra calories! Traveling? Look up a CrossFit box or gym ahead of time in the area, check their schedule, call/email ahead of time and set up a time to drop in. Drop-ins while traveling are my favorite!
Indulge with awareness. Practice moderation.
If you have a holiday party coming up that seems overwhelming, remember food IS NOT the reason you are attending the event... spending time with friends, family, loved ones is. Focus on the event, the people there, and any activities that may go on at the event. That buffet of food over in the corner is just food. Make sure to not starve yourself all day leading up to the event and then binge on the entire buffet table. Eat like you normally would that day. Eat a solid meal beforehand so that you aren't so hungry that you grab everything in sight. If you still want to eat some of the food at the event, eat a lighter meal and then pick a few choices from the buffet and savor each bite. Eat slowly and enjoy the food you are chewing. Taking the time to really taste the food and satisfy those cravings can help you to be aware of how the food makes you feel and also allows you to notice your fullness sooner so that you may stop eating once you are actually full. That's another thing, eat until you are full and satisfied and THAT'S IT. Just because you are having something not in your "diet" do not give you an excuse to go crazy and shove everything and anything in your mouth. MODERATION. That's one of my favorite words. Yes, I will have a cookie or two. Yes, I will indulge at a family gathering and eat more than normal. NO I will not eat and eat and eat until it hurts. Craving something? Eat it and then MOVE ON. Don't let it ruin the rest of your day or even week. Have some self control and save those special treats for when it is really worth it!
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE that you have to keep up with every day. It's not a phase or a fad and it's full of challenges but also many victories, big or small. Celebrate the small victories you may have... like saying no to that extra piece of pie staring at you or getting your workout in when you didn't think you had time. Those are WINS in my book. Focusing on those wins allows you to feel the progress you are making both mentally and physically. If you do indulge, it isn't the end of the world. Embrace the slip-up and learn from it. MOVE ON. Enjoy the holiday season and make the most of this time with family and friends. Making good, healthy choices a majority of the time will allow you to maintain your health and fitness while still enjoying the fun things like cookies or hot cocoa.
I am passionate about creating a healthy lifestyle for myself & helping those around me.