The holiday season is here, which also means eating/drinking and packing on those winter LBs. Which is definitely fun, but then when spring hits, you’ll regret it. The key is MAINTENANCE; maintain yourself year-round and keep all that hard work you did over the warmer months and getting into your summer bod will be a cake walk #nopunintended
If you’re just starting out on your health & fitness journey, this is a hard time because you can easily slip back into old habits and lose your momentum.
I am here to tell you that you can most definitely enjoy yourself during the holiday season without making too much damage. Here are my tips for surviving the holidays!
1. Don’t skip your workouts
During the holiday season, it’s imperative that you at least stick to working out and staying active. It’s easy to get off track when you’re traveling or busy with holiday parties. Schedule your workouts, plan gym dates with friends, research spots you can exercise wherever your going, or use dad’s old weight set that’s hidden in the basement… If you’re going to indulge in all the goodies, then skipping your workouts is a hard NO.
Now if you don’t workout or don’t have a fitness regime, stay active. Take the stairs if you can, go for walks, go out and shop local instead of shopping for gifts online. Any movement helps and it all adds up.
2. On the actual holiday, don’t skip breakfast/lunch in anticipation for the big meal.
This is a big no no. If you go starving all day till the dinner you will most definitely overeat and because your body is in starvation mode and your metabolism is dormant, you’re going to hold on to every morsel of food you consume during the holiday dinner.
Start your day with a high protein breakfast, eggs or a healthy smoothie. You can have something light for lunch, like a salad or soup. You will still be hungry at dinner, trust me, but maybe now you can actually enjoy the food and savor it because you won’t do that if you’re gorging.
Now if you enjoy gorging, then that’s all good too! No judgements. Just don’t complain afterward if you feel like shit.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Water is so important for anyone trying to get healthy and fit, especially during the holiday season since we consume a lot of alcohol along with foods that are high in salt. Drinking a lot of water also helps fill you up and you end up eating less. It also flushes out all the bad shit you’re putting in your body. It’s a win-win situation.
Before the holiday dinner, drink two tall glasses of water.
For every glass of alcohol you drink, drink a glass of water.
4. Eat slow, focus on the conversation and your family.
When you eat slow, your body can easily process and break down the foods you are eating, which puts less pressure on your gut and all your internal systems. It also takes about 20 minutes for your mind to register that you are actually full. Take this time to enjoy being around your loved ones. Talk about stuff. I know that in some cases, being with certain family members can be stressful, especially when Aunt Karen is asking you why you’re still single… so the first thing you do is shove a whole spoon of mashed potatoes in your mouth to numb the pain. Instead of doing that, I suggest standing up for yourself! Yup! Tell Karen, you’re not single, you’re “Self-Partnered.” Don’t eat your feelings, especially during the holiday season. Speaking up is very empowering!
5. Fill your plate with the healthy-ish stuff and then there won’t be too much room for the other stuff
Stick to lean proteins and veggies. Fill your plate up with the healthy stuff, and then add the not-so-healthy yummy food to the side. Enjoy, indulge, and nothing is off limits! I hate looking at food as good and bad. This dieting mentality in our society is really not good for our brains. The more we think a food is “bad” for us, the more we want it. If we are allowed to eat everything, then it’s not that appealing anymore. All that being said, if you fill your plate with mashed potatoes, you won’t get full and you will need more, etc. so if you’re trying to maintain yourself, adding some yummy turkey and veggies will keep you full.
6. Try to stick to one plate.
If you’re still hungry after finishing your first serving, then go for seconds! Or try to only fill up a salad dish.
7. Consider how you’ll feel after eating certain foods or too much food.
The worst feeling is after you overate. You feel sluggish, gross, and tired. Consider this anytime you reach for seconds, or that food you know your body doesn’t agree with. Being in tune with yourself is so important when it comes to a healthy relationship with food. I always think to myself, How I am going to feel after eating this? and sometimes I say to myself, “I don’t care, I am eating it,” which is fine, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself after. If you’re going to allow yourself to indulge, let it be and let it go. Beating yourself up over it makes it worse. Eat with no guilt.
8. Help your hosts clean!
After the meal, get up and get moving. Help the host clean. Not only will this get your blood pumping and burn calories, but you will be a rockstar! Getting some movement in after dinner will help you digest. Going to lay down on the couch will only make you feel worse.
9. Plan non-eating activities with your friends/family
Go for a walk, do something fun with the family that doesn’t involve food. Around the holidays, people get together to eat and drink, but the best moments are spent creating memories!
10. Practice self-care
The holidays is a great time to take care of yourself. Catch up on sleep, meditate, read a book, listen to a podcast, etc. Calming the mind during this stressful season is key to managing your emotional eating (if that’s a challenge for you). Sleep is also so important and we don’t get enough of it. Around the holidays, we can take the time to nap and sleep in a little! If you have little kids, hopefully there is some family around that can help out.