Most people love the holidays for one reason or another, but no one loves that extra 3-5 pounds they gain after spending a month or more indulging in the bounty of the season. One year, I managed to get through the holidays without gaining a single ounce!
How did I do it? Not by refraining from eating those holiday goodies or keeping myself locked in the house to avoid those festive parties. Where’s the fun in that? Instead, here are 12 ways to keep you in tip-top shape throughout the holidays without sacrificing any of the fun.
- Continue the same healthy eating you’re currently doing. You can make exceptions for parties, holiday meals, and special treats or desserts without blowing your whole eating routine. Just because it’s the holidays it doesn’t mean you have to go hog wild every single day.
- Be mindful of your eating. Have an eating plan, in writing if possible, and then just stick to it. You don’t have to be a scrooge, you can pencil in get-togethers and treats, just pay attention to what you’re eating.
- Watch your portion sizes. It’s okay if you want to sample everything at the party, just make sure you’re taking a little taste of everything and maybe only going back for seconds on what you really liked.
4. Whatever you do, don’t stop exercising! In fact, kick the workouts into high gear if you can. Nothing packs the pounds on faster than skipping the gym, especially when you’re also indulging in holiday treats. It’s a double whammy for your waistline.
5. To that end, choose a cop-out workout that you can do when you’re just not feeling it during the holidays. I tell myself that all I have to do is 20 minutes on the treadmill. It keeps my workout momentum going and I usually end up doing more than the 20 minutes once I’m there.
6. It’s okay to say no sometimes – to the party invitation, to the plate of cookies, to the pile of junk food on the break room table. Ask yourself, do I really want this because it’s that good, or am I just going for it because it’s there and ‘tis the season?
7. Along the same line, choose your vices wisely. Pick your favorite party food, holiday meals, special treats, or whatever, and say no to the rest. Again, ask yourself if this is something you REALLY want and if not then save the indulgence for another time.
8. If you know you’re going to party or special holiday meal, eat lightly the rest of the day to “save the calories” for the special event. You can also eat lightly the next day as a way to recover from your splurge.
9. Eat a healthy, protein-rich snack 30-45 minutes before parties to keep from pigging out once you get there. Try a handful of nuts, some peanut butter, or a protein bar.
10. Watch your alcohol intake. It’s amazing how many calories are in an innocuous looking little drink. Plus, the more you drink the more you’re likely to scrap your healthy eating plan and go ballistic on the buffet table. Make sure to drink plenty of water, too. No one eats healthy or works out with a hangover.
11. Prioritize sleep. This may be difficult with all that’s going on during the holidays, but again, no one eats healthy or works out when tired, either.
12. Make a plan to get completely back on track with your healthy habits once the holiday season is over. Knowing that your health matters to you will help keep you on track during the holidays, as well.
There you have it, everything you need to keep from packing on the pounds over the holidays. Now I just have to practice what I preach! 😀
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