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This week is the holiday season kickoff. A season where discipline is tossed out the window for understandable reasons. The winter days bring colder weather, the bed and couch are your best buddies, and you’re in the mood to indulge with family and friends. The last thing on your mind is focusing on eating healthy or training on a regular basis. Nah, let’s put that off until January.
But why not try something different this year? I’m not saying start a new exercise program or restrict your diet. The holidays should be enjoyed including delicious meals with the family, fun parties, and snacking in front of the fireplace. Go have fun doing the things you love with the ones you love but if you don’t want to compromise your hard earned gains too much there are a few tips on how to stay on track.
Here are tips to get the best of both worlds during the holiday season:
1. Create a plan.
Add everything to your calendar — holiday gatherings, work parties, travel, and dinners. This will help you see all your upcoming events and the ways you can plan your workouts.
2. Make time to exercise.
You don’t need a gym or weights to get your heart rate going. Strive towards setting aside a minimum of 20 minutes and how many days a week you want to commit. Even if it’s a walk or light jog, something is better than nothing.
Do not starve yourself. Skipping meals to save calories for the big feast is not the right idea. Instead eat small meals throughout the day to keep your body fueled. You will not experience cravings if you are not hungry.
4. Drink water.
Water is your friend. If you haven’t already, invest in a water bottle. Often we feel hungry or crave sweets when all we need is water. Also, the holiday season triggers a higher consumption of alcohol and rich foods. Drinking water keeps the body hydrated and constantly flushing out any toxins.
5. Enjoy the good stuff first.
That’s veggies and protein. Fill your plate with lots of vegetables and turkey or any available lean meats. This will curb the taste of biscuits, stuffing, gravy, and any other carb-heavy food. If there’s a dessert or snack you can’t live without wait until after you finished your meal. Listen to your body and if you are full you might want to resist the seconds or desserts.
6. Stick with it.
Don’t stress if you indulge more than usual. It doesn’t mean the day is ruined. I’m a fan of the car tire analogy — when you have a flat tire, you don’t stab the other three. Instead you fix the flat and get back on the road. And if you had a “bad” meal, follow it up with a healthy and clean one and you’re right back on track.
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7. Stay weary of the booze.
I know, it’s not what you want to hear but it will help you. Alcohol comes with empty calories and it will quickly add up over the course of an evening. Switch to water following every drink. Drinking water keeps your body feeling full and you will be less inclined to keep drinking or worse you getting the munchies and consuming a high calorie meal.
8. Sharing is caring.
If you want to stay on track, don’t be hesitant to bring the healthier dishes to any gathering. It’ll help mix things up. Be the person adding healthy yet delicious choices amongst the other options. I’m confident everyone will appreciate your sentiment.
9. Avoid stress.
It’s easier said than done but stress triggers the “see food” diet. If you’re stressing out, take the opportunity to do something active. Whether it’s going for a walk, hitting the gym, dancing around the house, anything active to release the tension and keep your mind away from food.
10. Celebrate and enjoy the season.
Enjoy and celebrate! Focus on family, friends, and fun. Don’t let food be your main priority or take the spotlight. Get creative with activities – go outside for a hike, play a game of charade, or sing together on top of your lungs.
Think of how accomplished you will feel following the season of cheer. You will wake up on New Year’s day feeling like the BADASS you are because you don’t have to recover from the holidays. You can just continue being your awesome self.