The holidays are always the time of year when temptation is just as present as the holiday spirit. The weekends are spent at gatherings, parties, and get-togethers surrounded by your loved ones and tons of food and treats. With so many tempting goodies, it can be challenging to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. From now until New Years', you will be fielding enough tempting foods to last you for the entire year.
To help keep you on track, we have put together 12 of the best tips for staying fit and healthy during the holidays. These tips are simple, straightforward, and designed to let you enjoy your holidays while still maintaining your physical fitness and preferred figure. There is no need to deprive yourself of all of the things you love during the holidays! You can enjoy all of your favorite treats, in moderation, of course, and still, keep up with all of your fitness goals. Keep reading to learn how!
Eat Before Heading To A Party
This may seem a bit counterintuitive but hear us out. Many of us starve ourselves all day before a big party or celebration so that we can overeat once we arrive. The problem with this behavior is that you will be snacking at the party long after you are satisfied. Instead, have a small meal or snack beforehand. This will ensure that you aren’t only focused on the food once you arrive at the party. Skipping meals is never a good idea, and the holidays are no exception. Stack on track by sticking to your standard eating patterns.
Drink In Moderation
Food isn’t the only temptation during the holidays – there are so many cocktails! Party guests bring delicious bottles of wine, fun holiday-themed drinks are present at every party, and nearly every guest has a few drinks to distress around the holidays. Regulating your alcohol is not just essential for maintaining your waistline; it helps to keep you hydrated and keeps your calories in check. An easy way to manage your drinking during parties is by having a glass of water between drinks. Another easy way to keep your consumption in check is by limiting the beverages you plan on having.
Prioritize Your Exercise Routine
As the holidays roll around and our schedule fills up with parties, shopping trips, dinners, and everything else, it is easy to let your workouts fall to the wayside. When trying to free up our schedules, workouts are usually the first thing to go. Rather than skip out on your workouts, try rescheduling them for a time early in the morning when everyone else is still sleeping. You can avoid any distractions and still have enough time to do plenty of fun activities with your family and friends.
Eat Smaller Meals More Often
Rather than indulging in large breakfasts, big boozy brunches, or enormous dinners, opt for having smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. By keeping your energy up and your cravings down, you will give yourself more control over your eating habits as you go through your day. Eating five or six small meals during the day, you will have a better handle on your hunger because you don’t allow your body to go into a starving or extremely hungry state. Feel free to make a couple of these small meals a holiday treat!
Set Realistic Goals
Nothing is more discouraging than setting unrealistic goals and not being able to achieve them. This leads to you losing your motivation, and it makes you more likely to stray from your goals. Instead, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, even if it is just a walk. It is not always easy to find the time and energy to participate in a strenuous workout every day throughout the holidays. However, almost anyone can find a spare 30 minutes to get their body moving. Not only will this help you stay fit and maintaining your goals, but it is also going to make you feel great!
Drink All Of The Water
Water not only keeps you hydrated but also satiates your appetite. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty and have no real necessity to eat. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water throughout the day ensures that you don’t mindlessly snack or overeat simply because you haven’t had enough to drink. As an added bonus, it helps prevent a possible hangover if you plan to have a few drinks at a holiday party or gathering.
Fill Up on Lean Proteins and Vegetables
When you head to a party or a dinner, take some time to scope out all of the food and consider your options. Try to practice some control over your choices. It may be tempting to start reaching for all of the fried and cheesy finger foods as soon as you walk in but try to exercise some patience as you look at the rest of the food. Feel free to indulge a bit here and there but try to fill your plate with mostly proteins and vegetables. These healthy options will keep your calories low and your stomach full.
It may seem like the only option to stay on track throughout the holidays is to restrict yourself from all of the delicious foods you look forward to eating during the holidays. However, this can actually make you more likely to overindulge and then feel guilty about it afterward. Rather than engorging yourself with treats after you spent all night trying to avoid them, grab a small plate and add smaller portions of the foods that may not be the healthiest but foods that you genuinely enjoy.
Make The Holidays About The People
With so much emphasis on food and drinks, it can be a challenge to keep the focus on what is most important during the holidays – your family and friends. The holidays are a time of the year to reconnect and spend nights reliving old memories and funny stories! Make that your focus, rather than only looking forward to eating as much food as you can fit onto your plate. Keep away from the snack table and instead catch up with all of those aunts, uncles, and old friends that you haven’t spoken to since last year.
Find Fun Ways To Stay Active
Sometimes squeezing in a workout seems too time-consuming or challenging. There are many different ways to factor in more physical activities during the holidays that don’t have to be a traditional workout. When you go out shopping with your family and friends, park further away from the storefronts so that you have to walk a bit further. You can even make physical activity a bonding experience with your family. Bundle up and head out for a walk to see all of the decorated houses and Christmas lights.
Continue To Track Your Progress
While the holidays may feel like a free-for-all, keeping track of your success during the holidays the same way you would otherwise help you stay on course. There are plenty of ways for you to keep track of your progress during the holidays and any other time of the year. You can use fitness trackers and calorie counters on your phone to keep you updated on how well your day is going or stick with something more traditional like a food journal or checking the scale. Whatever your system, holding yourself accountable in some way is beneficial to your overall goals.
Don’t Forget About Strength Training
Cardio is excellent for burning calories, but continuing to work on your strength training will help you burn more excess fat. This is particularly helpful during the holidays when you are likely consuming more calories than usual. When you exercise your muscles, they take more time to repair, which causes you to burn more calories continuously. As your muscles grow, they require more calories to function correctly, which translates into your ability to consume more calories without affecting your progress.
Most Importantly, Don’t Forget To Enjoy Yourself
While it is essential to stick to your healthy habits during the holidays, not only because they help you stay fit, but also because they make you feel better, it is also essential to have fun! If you have an extra Christmas cookie at a party, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply enjoy your food and keep going about your day with your usual healthy habits. The holidays only come around once a year, don’t let yourself get too upset if you overindulge.