We all struggle with willpower when it comes to eating. This is especially true during the holiday season when we’re surrounded by delicious and tempting foods and drinks. It’s also difficult to remain active when you’re busy preparing for the holidays, attending parties, and shopping for gifts. But your health and fitness shouldn’t be put on hold just because the holidays are coming.
Here are 10 tips that will help you stay fit and healthy during the holidays.
1. Host and Make Healthy Snacks
The best way to ensure you’re eating healthy during the holiday season is to prepare your own snacks and meals. And what better way to achieve this than offering to host parties and make foods that will help you stick to your diet plan? Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be boring. There are countless recipes you can make that are both nutritious and delicious. The best part is, you can still make many of your favorite recipes by simply swapping ingredients. Use non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or whole wheat bread or flour instead of white. If your guests are picky eaters, make a few dishes that will please their palette and healthier versions for yourself.
2. Eat Before Attending a Party
If you can’t control what’s being served at a holiday party you’re attending, it’s best to eat a healthy snack prior to going. You don’t need to eat an entire meal or avoid eating altogether once you get to the party, but having a healthy snack beforehand can keep you from overindulging or straying too far from your eating plan. If you know the host well enough, you can even bring along your own food. Most people won’t be offended if they know you and understand your fitness and nutrition goals.
3. Allow Yourself a Cheat Meal
The holidays are about togetherness, traditions, and good food. If you have a favorite holiday treat that you look forward to each year, don’t deprive yourself. It’s okay to indulge in some less than healthy foods, as long as it’s done in moderation. When you deprive yourself of something you truly want, a few things can happen. This lack of indulgence can cause mood swings and crankiness. It may also lead to overindulging later on. When your body craves something for too long and isn’t met with satisfaction, you tend to lose self-control and overeat. To avoid this, allow yourself a small portion of something you truly enjoy. And don’t forget to let go of those feelings of guilt. If you’re going to indulge, enjoy every minute of it!
4. Stay Active
Just because the holiday season is upon us, it never means that you can’t remain active. Stick to your regular exercise and workout routine. If you live in an area where winter weather might prevent you from making it out to the gym, have an alternate plan in place. You can do a workout using online resources, perform yoga in your living room, or use light weights and other equipment you have on hand.
Did you know that shoveling snow can burn over 200 calories every 30 minutes. Simply going outside to clean snow can act as both a cardio and upper body workout. Opt for shopping in store versus online. This gives you the opportunity to walk around the mall or shopping center. If you want to take it a step further, park your car farther away from the entrance and take the stairs versus the elevator or escalator. Find small ways to incorporate activity into your daily routine during the holiday season, even if it’s not a traditional form of exercise.
5. Set Healthy, Realistic Goals
One of the worst things you can do when it comes to weight loss is setting unrealistic goals. When you do this, you’re essentially setting yourself up for failure. When you’re unable to reach these unattainable goals, you’re left feeling disappointed and defeated. This chips away at your self-confidence and may even cause you to give up altogether. Instead, set realistic goals this holiday season. That might mean not setting a weight loss goal but instead maintaining your current weight in the face of temptation. Or perhaps your goal is to not overindulge in cookies or sweet treats. Try not to set your goals too high. Be kind to yourself during the holiday season. Maintaining a healthy and positive attitude is equally as important as figuring out how to lose stubborn fat.
6. Don’t Skip Meals
You might be tempted to skip certain meals and save your appetite and calories for something more indulgent later on. While counting calories is important during the holiday season, you should never skip meals. When you do, your body goes into starvation mode and actually holds onto extra fat and may actually burn muscle mass. This is an unhealthy approach to weight loss and may lead to additional health complications. It also slows down your metabolism, which is the last thing you want. Instead of skipping meals, eat several small meals throughout the day. Make healthy choices for these meals, allowing you to truly enjoy whatever indulgent meal you choose later on.
7. Keep a Positive Mindset
When it comes to weight loss and staying strong during the holiday season, it’s sometimes about mind over matter. When you head into the holidays, do so with a positive mindset. Tell yourself that you won’t overeat and won’t give into every temptation that crosses your path. Encourage yourself to workout, remain active, and stay motivated. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the holidays are usually just one day or one party. There’s no sense in giving up on your goals or yourself for one day. Remind yourself how strong and capable you are and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve, no matter the time of year.
8. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is an important part of your everyday routine. But when the holidays arrive and things get busy, sometimes your water intake is lacking. Stay on top of your hydration by opting for water before you have a glass of wine or eggnog. Another benefit of staying hydrated is that water keeps you feeling full longer, cuts cravings, and helps your body better recognize hunger cues. If you do decide to indulge in alcohol, staying hydrated will help keep next day hangovers at bay.
This holiday season, enjoy yourself in moderation, set realistic goals, and stay active. When the craziness of the season is over, you’ll thank yourself for keeping your cravings under check and staying strong in the face of temptation.
Article Submitted By Community Writer