I approach each holiday with joy and excitement and spirit, that carries me through multitudes of poor health decisions. Always leaving me with a food baby, some serious guilt I try to ignore, and a few excess pounds when the holiday season is finally at wraps. And I know I’m not the only one in this battle!! I am in need of a serious holiday health makeover.
The holidays always make an easy excuse to unleash my inner fatty. I mean I know I should go on a run… but I’d much rather curl up under my fuzzy blanket with my slippers and a hot cocoa. And, I know I shouldn’t eat Mac’ n’ cheese and Cheddar Broccoli soup for every meal….but something about comfort food when it’s cold out seems necessary. And, let’s not mention all those yummy desserts and sweets and pumpkin spice lattes…
So if you too, ate too many sweets this Halloween, and are tired of feeling guilty, tired of the damage control year after year; follow along with these 8 tips to stay on track this holiday season, and give your holiday health a boost!
All Season Long
Tip #1) Follow the 90/10 rule.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect all the time to stay healthy. Many nutrition experts agree that making healthy choices 90% of the time, and having a cheat meal or treat 10% of the time is one way to make your diet realistic and sustainable, while remaining healthy.
Tip #2) Choose quality treats.
Don’t waste calories on ‘treats’ that you don’t even really like. A slice of Lil’ Ceasar’s pizza here, a pack of your kids’ fruit snacks there, half a box of Teddy Graham’s? Unless you actually love these items and want to make them your special treat, curb the snacking! Learn to say no, and save up those calories for a treat or cheat meal worth waiting for- like some Afters’ Ice Cream, or a Margarita!
Tip #3) Consider how you can make what you’re craving lighter or healthier?
A lot of the things that we eat can be easily lightened up. Instead of using heavy cream, opt for a lighter milk. Instead of butter, consider cooking with healthier fats like olive oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, etc. Maybe instead of brownies from a box, go for some no bake dark chocolate and date brownies.
#4) Just keep moving.
Throughout the whole winter season it’s easy just to fall off the fitness train in general. So, if you’re really dreading your workout, drop your original plan and pick whatever activity actually sounds fun to you, and just go with it. Doing an activity you enjoy will help bolster a positive fitness mindset.
Even if it’s just 20 minutes of stretching and foam rolling, or a yoga video you found on YouTube, or convincing your roommate to go shoot hoops. It may not be the workout you originally planned, but I promise you will feel way less guilty and lazy than if you hadn’t done it at all- and, another plus: it’ll be all that much easier to ride that momentum into doing something active the next day.
Party/ Get Together Days
#5) Make the habit of exercising before big meals.
On day’s when you know there will be a big meal involved (or you’re expecting your aunt to produce her infamous pecan pie, and there’s no other option but eating two slices), make a point of working out that morning!
Wake up before everyone else to go on a solitary walk, or run. Or, get your family involved, and start a new tradition of playing tennis, or hiking before kicking off the festivities. Trust me, you will feel much better about that big meal after getting your daily dose of exercise.
#6) Eat lighter earlier in the day.
If you’re planning on that big turkey dinner, or big ol’ Christmas feast- eat lighter and healthier earlier in the day to save up calories for the main event. Take this a step further and consider what you’re eating at the big meal (if you have an idea).
Fit in nutrients in your lighter meals that you might miss later. A lot of holiday meals are often pretty void of fruits or vegetables, so I always try to make a point of squeezing those in earlier in the day.
#7) Eat a healthy snack before the party.
Before I head to a party, I’ll gobble up a healthy snack I can find at home. I always choose something that doesn’t entirely fill me up, but will hold me if I can’t find anything worth eating at the party.
I’ve noticed that this simple act makes me more mindful once I’m at the party, about what healthy choices I can make out of what’s available, and forces me pick and choose my treats (since it’s only just a few before I’m totally stuffed).
#8) Limit alcohol consumption.
It’s easy to go a little overboard on the alcohol consumption, especially with all of the holiday spirit in the air. But all of those extra calories from drinks can add up quick. Either offer to be the designated driver, (which gets you off the hook from even contemplating the number of drinks you should consume) OR limit yourself to one or two drinks.
I tend to stick with the red wine, or a light cocktail like a vodka soda, rather than sugary cocktails or beer which make me feel bloated and guilty later!
What are your favorite tricks to stay fit and trim through the holidays? Comment and share your ideas below! I need all the help I can get.