With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, you’ve probably had a taste of holiday food and fun with friends and family. For me, anything that takes me out of my routine practices can be a little stressful, but like I said, that’s me. The habits and consistency that you put in place all year round can apply to the holidays just the same as they do the rest of the year. And it all starts with a plan.
From Halloween until Valentine’s Day, there’s sugar everywhere. Halloween candy lingers around the office until the Pumpkin Pie spice season ushers in new sugar, followed by Christmas cookies and then New Year’s Resolution kick in while fending off all that Valentine’s Day candies. What if I told you that the inevitable weight gain over the holidays isn’t really inevitable?
Let’s get one thing straight – you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. So getting on a hamster wheel to undo your food choices just doesn’t work.
This doesn’t have to mean that you can’t enjoy yourself through the season’s festivities. It just takes a lot more planning and good decision making.
Here’s a few tips for getting through it successfully.
- Be clear about your goals. If you know that the holiday season is going to be busy and full of social engagements, set your goals for maintenance. Know what that means for you in terms of your food choices and your activity levels. Keeping a consistent workout schedule is key, so find time to maintain your normal routine.
- Drink a lot of water. Water is the elixir of life and is a helpful aid for digestion. We lose water through exercise, respiration, and digestion, so staying hydrated, especially in these winter months, is important. Also, drinking water or other non-caloric drinks helps to curb appetite. Instead of choosing caloric or alcoholic beverages, keep a glass of water in your hand this holiday season, adding infusions like citrus, cucumber, and/or mint to keep it feeling fancy.
- If you’re not sure of the menu, bring something you can eat to share with your party peeps. Protein and vegetables work great in a variety of appetizers. One of my tricks is to drink a protein shake in advance so I know I am hitting my macro goals and helping to keep myself satiated before I’m staring at a buffet table. If you show up hungry, you’re just asking for trouble!
- Make the holidays about connecting with friends and family instead of food. Our culture is so food-centric, but it doesn’t have to be. Make socializing or physical activities the highlight of our holiday season. There’s so many fun runs this time of year. Sign up for one and get your family and friends to join you as a way to support your health goals.
- If you decided to indulge, do it mindfully. Plan it. Log it. Enjoy it. In the big picture, this is just a month of your life. If you are focused on your goals, making mindful choices with your food, and consistent with your routine otherwise, you’ll get through it just fine. Just be prepared to accept your decision and not beat yourself up over it.
Do you have any tips to share for holiday survival? Share a comment!