It’s that time of year…
When holiday parties and family gatherings abound, it can be pretty challenging to stick to a healthy routine.
In fact, sometimes it can feel as though every healthy habit we’ve cultivated throughout the year flies right out the window once the holidays hit. Don’t despair. I have a few tips up my sleeve that will help you stay motivated to eat healthy and stay fit during the holiday season.
Before you travel, research local gyms, equipment rental companies, and athletic events you can join once you get to your destination. Having a plan will make follow-through a lot more likely.
Let go of structured training, but keep exercising
During the holidays, it can feel good to unplug and relax. Instead of worrying about doing structured workouts to a T, try incorporating some version of exercise every day, whether it’s hiking, skiing, trying a dance class or lifting weights. Get creative and be open to trying new things.
Did you know your brain can sometimes confuse thirst with hunger? If you think you’re hungry, try drinking a big glass of water first and waiting 10-15 minutes. Also, keep in mind that cold weather can suppress thirst sensations making dehydration more likely.
Exercise early in the day
If you want to exercise consistently, try exercising first thing in the morning. Not only will it elevate your metabolism for the rest of the day (burning more calories and helping you feel energized), but it will also make it less likely for you to miss a workout once the day gets underway.
Pre-Eating, your secret weapon
Do you starve yourself for hours up until the big holiday meal? If so, stop! It might sound counter-intuitive, but if you want to keep your metabolism revved and prevent over-eating of unhealthy foods, it’s incredibly helpful to pre-eat a small, healthy meal. Two hours before the main meal, eat a small snack of veggies, quality protein and healthy fat.
Bring your own dish to the holiday meal. The trick? Keep it healthy. There will likely be plenty of unhealthy treats to entertain your palate, so why not bring something nutritious to keep the balance?
Make exercise social
When it comes to staying active, you don’t have to do it alone. Include your friends and family in group activities. Prioritize family activities or other group exercise that will encourage you to get moving.
Moderation in all things
Go easy on yourself and let go of perfection. No one has flawless eating habits or a perfect workout schedule year-round. Give yourself permission to enjoy special holiday treats and depart from your normal routine in moderation. Let your friends and family know your intentions to stay active and eat healthy. Having their support will make sticking to a plan a lot more feasible.
Indulge for the night, not the season
In reality, holidays are just a handful of days out of an entire year. Once the day is over, get rid of leftovers and unhealthy foods. Better yet, you can often donate holiday leftovers to your local food pantry.