During the holidays there may be a voice inside your head saying, “Come to the dark side. We have cookies.”
Don’t give in to the dark side! Holidays are tough. With all the parties, great food and hectic shopping, it can be so easy to splurge on diet and exercise programs. Here’s the thing: those tiny splurges add up at the end of the season. You may be starting the New Year trying to undo all of your holiday indulgences. We know the holidays can be stressful, busy, and tempting, but follow these tips to get through them with better, healthier food choices.
Eat Before You Party
Don’t show up starving to your next holiday party. Grab a healthy snack before you go so you’ll be able to resist the numerous temptations that holiday parties generally offer. Try to pick something protein-based as it will keep you fuller longer. If you’re not completely ravenous when you spot the mile-long buffet table, you can make wiser and more healthy choices and still have an awesome meal.
Bring Your Own Food
Contribute a healthy dish to a gathering so you know there’s something you can indulge in. You’ll look super-generous AND stay on track in the process. Consider volunteering to host the party. There’s no better way to ensure that there will be diet-friendly, healthy choices on the menu than by throwing the party yourself.
Watch Your Portions
OK, so you’re going to have some of that not-good-for-you treat. Don’t over do it. Try using the smallest plate available at the party to put your treats on, and don’t get any refills. Make sure that your dinner plate has a good balance of healthy vegetable dishes and lean protein to compensate for dessert.
Don’t Hover Over The Snacks
Out of sight, out of mind! If you are at a party with a big delicious spread of naughty/delicious desserts, go hang out in the other room. If you can’t see the treats, you won’t be as tempted to stuff your face. Move that bowl of chocolate kisses to another table, or put a centerpiece in front of you and the snacks. If you can’t reach or easily access the snacks, you won’t be eating them without a lot of effort.
Watch The Booze
We all want to have a little fun. One drink couldn’t hurt, right? The sad truth is that alcoholic beverages are calorie bombs. Guzzling down eggnog can sabotage your holiday diet even if you’ve been really good at saying no to cookies and other treats. It’s pretty hard to avoid alcohol during the holidays but you can arm yourself with the following:
- Consider low-calorie alternatives like sparkling water. All the bubbly fun, none of the calories!
- If you must choose an alcoholic beverage, choose red or white wine. Reservatrol, baby!
- Steer clear of alternatives that are high in sugar, like soda. Nothing good comes from soda.
- Fill your glass full of ice so that there is much less room for the hooch.
- Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses instead of fat, wide ones. You’ll drink less and look extra-fancy.
- Drink lots of water. For every alcoholic drink you imbibe, try to double or triple the amount of water you drink between servings.
- Hold your drink in your non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed, hold your drink in your left hand.
- Remember, once the booze hits the bloodstream, your willpower will disintegrate, so stay away from the candy!
- Always drink responsibly. ALWAYS. If you’ve had too much, don’t just ‘suck it up.’ Call a taxi. Call a neighbor. Call your smelly cousin.
Please don’t drive while intoxicated, because this is the quickest way to guarantee a disaster.
When You’re Out Shopping For Trainer Bob’s Gifts…
Plan your store route so that you are efficient, quick, and most important, not passing a Cinnabon every fifteen minutes. If you’ve filled up with good quality power foods before your shopping adventure, you’ll be less likely to indulge in food court pizza. Better yet, shop online and avoid the temptation of easy fast food altogether. When you’re parking your car, park in the farthest (safe) spot available, and don’t be afraid to make an extra lap of the mall once you’re inside.
When Your Coworker brings in donuts with sprinkles…again…
Stash healthy snacks at your desk. Seasonal goodies pile up in office breakrooms this time of year, and odds are you probably shouldn’t eat them. Nuts are a great alternative and easy to keep in your desk drawer. If possible, position your workstation so that you are not in direct line of sight with that tempting bowl of chocolates. If you must indulge, only do so if you have already done a healthy activity like lunch time walkies. If you receive holiday gifts at your office, consider regifting the candy towers.
Stay active during your time off
We know the holidays are extremely busy for most folks, but workouts shouldn’t be completely neglected just because you’re in holiday-panic-mode. Here’s a few ideas for working up a sweat that even Santa can get behind:
- Acknowledge that the holidays will impact your schedule, and make adjustments accordingly.
- Schedule your workouts in advance so you know you have the time allotted for that day.
- If you are so swamped that you can not block out 30 minutes a day, try splitting your workout up into three 10 minute sessions.
- Remember that your health is also a priority during this season!
- Are you at a party with dancing? DANCE! Are your friends going to a holiday-themed 5K? JOIN THEM, even if you’re walking.
- If your kids are home from school and driving you stir-crazy, try engaging in a fun physical activity the whole family can take part in, like ice skating or sledding.
- Walk around your neighborhood to look at holiday lights, or volunteer to shovel some snow.
- Change it up. Sometimes a little something different can provide the right kind of motivation. Try a new class and experiment with a new form of fitness.
- Instead of meeting up for drinks, take a fitness class with your friends.
- Traveling for the holidays? Be prepared. Look up walking trails in your area, find out if your hotel has an exercise room, and bring some gear with you. Bodyweight exercises are fantastic for traveling because all you really need is you!
Allow Yourself A Treat
It’s the holidays. Don’t deprive yourself or you will binge and overeat. Snacking is inevitable, so allow yourself a holiday favorite. Choose your indulgences wisely – instead of wasting calories on foods that you can have at any time of the year, pick items that are truly special and unique to the season, like your grandmother’s famous chocolate chip cookies. Set yourself a limit before you begin eating. If you want to reward yourself or give yourself an extra present this holiday season, shift your reward from something food-based (example: I earned this cookie!) to something activity-based (example: I earned this new music album!).
Be Good To Yourself. Enough Said.
Happy Holidays to everyone from Heavy Metal Fitness!