10 Tips for a Healthier You this Holiday Season!

[‘Tis the season for family, friends, festivity and FOOD.  Studies have shown that the average weight gain during the holiday season is 5 pounds.  You, however, do not have to become a statistic!  If you are a veteran gym goer or have just started your fitness journey, this time of year can be a stressor when it comes to staying on track with goals.  Fortunately, there is help!  By sticking to the 10 fit tips below, you will be able to maintain that healthy holiday bod while still being able to enjoy yourself and a few of your favorite holiday indulgences!

  • Keep Those Legs Moving – Whether you park at the furthest parking spot from the mall entrance or take the stairs instead of the elevator, keep moving! Get as many steps in as possible to combat those food and drink calories this holiday season.  Every step counts! Not only will staying sedentary promote those unwanted pounds, it will make you feel fuller and more bloated.  Keep those heart rates up and legs moving!
  • Portion Control – Change your mindset from “I can’t have that” to “I’ll allow myself to have a couple bites of that”. Once you get yourself in the mindset of “I can’t”, you will trigger your brain to crave even more, which could lead to binges and overeating.  Binges and overeating often lead to guilt, which lead to more binges and overeating.  Change your mindset!
  • Drink Smart – Life is about moderation… not deprivation. Part of the holiday fun is having that extra glass of wine… or two.  Just remember that alcohol calories do count (roughly 125 calories for a 5oz glass of wine).  Will one night of drinking make you fat? No. Will it destroy all the muscle you’ve built? No.  However, alcohol consumption has been known to take good eating intentions and throw them right out the window.  More alcohol typically equates to more food intake and more splurges.  In addition, the more alcohol you consume the more likely you are to become dehydrated.  This can lead to water retention, bloat and a not so pleasant headache in the morning.  Remember to enjoy your libations and DRINK YOUR WATER!  You can make wine spritzers (wine mixed with sparkling water) or use water and citrus as mixers for your liquor instead of fruit juices and sodas.  You can also use the 1 to 1 rule (1 alcoholic drink, 1 glass of water).
  • Avoid Hunger Pangs with Smart Snacks – Don’t leave the house without food… or water! Dehydration can be mistaken for hunger, so stay hydrated when you’re out and about this holiday season.  Whether you’re going holiday shopping, attending workplace parties, running last minute errands or heading out to a family function, bring your smart snacks!  Hunger pains lead to nothing good if you do not have healthy food at your disposal.  You can bring fruit (apples, bananas, grapes), nuts, protein bars, chopped veggies and a container of hummus, mini rice cakes, etc.  Don’t let being hangry lead to poor food choices!
  • Cook your Own Festive Food (and share!) – Are you tired of never having healthy options at family festivities? You’ve seen your fair share of unhealthy dips, chips and sweets and know that you’re either going to be left starving because you are trying to stick to your goals or you are going to be left feeling guilty because you indulged in everything that was on the table.  You don’t have to fall victim to either option!  Bring food with you that the whole family will enjoy!  Bring healthy side dishes and/or snacks or offer to cook the main dish if you’re feeling ambitious.  That way you know that you can at least eat what you bring!
  • Embrace Morning Workouts – Yes, it’s cold out. Yes, you’re tired.  However, when you put exercise first, it is the best way to ensure you don’t miss a workout.  This will guarantee that unforeseen interruptions later in the day won’t compromise your sweat sessions.  This will also allow you to get those endorphins fired up to make you feel good for the rest of the day!  This time of year can be stressful.  The more you exercise, the better you will be at combating stressful situations when they arise (and they will!)
  • Make Body Weight Workouts your Best Friend – This is the time of year for travel, staying in hotels or staying with family members. This can mean limited or no access to your regular gym or even gym equipment.  Don’t give up on exercise just because you are out of your routine… and dumbbells.  Body weight exercises and High Intensity Interval Training is extremely effective in weight loss, maintaining lean muscle mass and achieving your health goals.
  • Start a Friends and Family Fit Tradition – Start a new fitness trend this holiday season! Invite those you care about to join you on a New Year’s day spin or yoga class.  Sign up for that Christmas Day 5K.  Do that holiday boot camp or CrossFit class.  This is a very popular time of year personal trainers, group fitness classes and holiday inspired runs (5ks, marathons, half marathons, etc.)  More than likely, there is group class (boot camp, kickboxing, barre, etc.) or personal trainer you can hire who will do a small group session with you and your family.  There are also many organized fitness event/races happening around the country this time of year. If not, start your own!  Lead your own small group of loved ones through a 20-minutes workout or run around the neighborhood (if you need ideas, we can help!)  Fitness is always more fun with friends and family!
  • Be Proud and Vocal of your Health Goals – Let your friends, family and coworkers know that you are on a plan. Give them the opportunity to be a support system for you during the holiday season.  You will also feel more accountable knowing that others are watching your food choices!  Not only will you feel more accountable, but it is rewarding knowing that you can be the force that inspires others this holiday season!
  • Say Goodbye to Guilt Trips – You’re human. Enjoy yourself this holiday season.  Being “fit” and “healthy” is a LIFESTYLE.  It’s a journey full of ups, downs, indulgences, holidays and vacations. Be as proactive as possible with the tips mentioned here and set yourself up for success as much as you can.  Just because you had one too many treats… or drinks… DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP!  And don’t let it completely derail you either.  Just because you had one piece of pie does not mean you should give up and eat the whole thing!  Get back on the proverbial horse (or stair climber) the next day and get yourself back on track!
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