Every year, clients ask me what they can do to stay on track with their weight loss, health and fitness goals while still enjoying the holidays.
This is the time of year known for events with friends and family, lots of stress, and lots of food that doesn’t appear on your trainer or Dietician approved meal plans. Most people don’t want to feel left out of the fun of the holidays by avoiding events that include lots of “fun” food and drinks, nor do they want to feel guilty for indulging in treats that come around only once a year.
My clients that are the most successful are those who create a plan and stick to it.
Stick to your regular workout schedule: either with your trainer, at home following a workout designed by your trainer, or getting outside for at least 30-minutes of walking, cycling, running, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, hiking, etc. 3-4 times per week (or as recommended by your trainer).
Eat a healthy snack before going to a holiday event that will serve food. You’ll be less likely to overindulge in foods that aren’t good for you, and you’ll know that you started the evening out right.
Take time for mindfulness: go to a yoga class, mediate on your own, or treat yourself to a massage to help manage the stress of the holidays.
If mindfulness isn’t your thing, try a vigorous workout such as boxing, going for a run, or battling rope to get stress out.
Limit your intake of alcohol at holiday parties and increase your consumption of water
Remove temptations at home and at work.
Create a nonfood reward system to help yourself stay on track. Put aside money to buy yourself a new workout outfit, new running shoes, a massage, tickets to a concert you’ve been wanting to go to, or anything else nonfood related that will motivate you to stay disciplined.
If you are known to be the holiday baker, alter recipes to make them better for you and those you will give them to! Use apple sauce instead of oil, almond flour instead of enriched white flour, dried fruit instead of chocolate chips, etc.
Limit yourself to one bite of a “fun” food at each event. Studies have shown that the pleasure center of our brain gets the most pleasure out of the first bite, and significantly less pleasure out of all subsequent bites. Really savor that one bite and enjoy it guilt free.
Get 6-8 hours of sleep every night to help your body and brain get the rest they need as well as to help reduce stress.
If you know the event you are going to will not have healthy food options, bring your own whenever possible.
Planning is the best thing you can do to stay on track and avoid getting overwhelmed. Remember, the holidays are a time to be enjoyed, not dreaded. Plan your workouts whether you are travelling or staying home. If you are going to a potluck holiday event,
bring a healthy dish for everyone to enjoy. If you overindulge in “fun” food, burn it off with a longer, more intense workout the following day.
Limited on time while you are travelling or have guests staying with you? Try the following workout, but be sure to modify the intensity as needed to match your fitness level. (lower intensity options are in parenthesis)
Warm-up (30 seconds each)
Jog in place
March in place with arm swings
Alternating forward lunges
Arm circles forward
Arm circles backwards
Jog in place
Circuit #1, 3 sets, 30-60 seconds each
Jumping jacks (side steps with overhead claps)
Mountain climbers (plank)
Push-ups (wall push ups)
Shadow boxing jab cross
Circuit #2, 3 sets, 30-60 seconds each
Alternating reverse lunges (static lunges, 8-10 reps ea leg)
Dumbbell or resistance band bicep curls (isometric bicep curls if no weights or bands are available)
Bicycle crunches (curl ups or partial crunches)
Circuit #3, 3 sets 30-60 seconds each
Donkey kicks, alternating (8-10 on each leg, not alternating)
High knees (march in place)
Shadow speed bag punches
Stretch & hydrate!