Let’s be honest. A lot of people seem to throw in the towel healthwise from Halloween through New Year’s.
It starts with all the Halloween candy, extends through Thanksgiving, which seems to be synonymous with stuffing ourselves silly, and shifts into even higher gear with December’s holiday parties and treats.
You may have neither time nor inclination for your regular exercise during the busy season. Holiday shopping, party planning, getting ready for company and other errands combine to weaken resolve and send willpower the way of the North Pole. But a few strategies can help you navigate holiday fitness obstacles with no regrets on the other end.
Let’s throw in some good news, the National Institutes of Health report Americans gain about 1 pound over the winter holidays — far below the 7 pounds many believe is the annual average gain. The bad news is this yearly weight gain can accumulate, leading to obesity later in life.
So, I thought this year, instead of waiting for January to get back on track, why not focus on making better choices and modifying a few behaviors to improve your health during this potentially unhealthy period. (Eggnog, anyone?)
Start off by setting the achievable goal of simply maintaining your current weight and consider yourself a success if you make it to January without any extra pounds.
Plan Realistic Workouts
Begin making plans to stay fit during the holidays before they begin. Create a schedule that allows for workouts and for time to prepare healthy meals. The key is to be realistic and plan workouts that are shorter than usual. We are all pressed for time during the holidays. Not only is a 10-minute workout much better than none at all, but once you’ve started, you might find you really do have the energy — and time to go longer.
Exercise early in the day when you are more likely to be motivated. If you’ve already burned some calories, you will feel less guilty when you plop down on the couch with a sugar cookie after a long day of holiday shenanigans. I really do love that word.
Combine physical activities with holiday tasks and errands. Park a distance from the mall entrance and jog to the doors — please wear the proper shoes. Walking rapidly while shopping or taking a 10-minute break from baking to do a YouTube video can all help burn excess calories and promote well-being.
Now, let’s talk about food.
Rule No. 1: JUST SAY NO
You probably aren’t aware how much extra food you consume just from people offering it to you. A sample at the market here, an extra cookie at an office party there and it all adds up. Just think twice before you take that food and decide if you really want it.
When in doubt, eat vegetables first — like a salad before dinner or a vegetable-based appetizer earlier in the afternoon. Make this a family affair. It will help everyone make sure they get the vegetables they need instead of filling up on buttery mashed potatoes, gravy and bread.
Do you make baked goods for gift giving? Chances are you eat much of what you bake. Who wouldn’t? Instead make nonfood gifts or prepare ingredients for baked goods and put them in pretty jars — let your gift recipient bake it up. That way, they can eat it when they want it, and you don’t have to be tempted in the kitchen.
Keep your water bottle with you at all times. You should be drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. One handy trick is to buy a 64-ounce water jug. Fill it up in the morning and know you need to finish it by the end of the day.
The holidays are full of family and friends and while this can be a great thing it can also be draining and stressful. Whether you’re staying with family over the holidays or just attending a large number of events, remember to take time every day for yourself. Go for a walk, meditate once a day or offer to go to the store for a few minutes of quiet. Even extroverts need time to recharge.
Eating well and staying healthy can be difficult over the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. By maintaining your physical and mental health with some of these easy tips, you’ll be able to start the new year off strong.
We are always here to help at WickedFiTT, please feel free to look us up on FB, or give us a call at (520) 450-1678.