Have you heard that the average person gains 8-10 lbs. during the holidays? Whoa. No wonder gyms and fitness classes are bursting at the seams in January! Like most people, I love this time of year. Over the years, I’ve learned some tips and tricks to keep from putting on that dreaded holiday weight while still fully enjoying myself and not feeling deprived. It is possible!
- Keep Working Out! This is huge. Continuing your workout routine throughout the holidays goes a long way in keeping those pounds off. I know life is busy in November and December, but you can carve out some time to exercise. Get up a little earlier. Spend less time on Facebook and Netflix. I guarantee you can find time in your schedule if you try.
- Get an Accountability Partner. Find a friend who wants to keep the holiday pounds off, too. Encourage each other to stick with your workouts and not go off the rails with eating. Check in daily by texting or calling and support each other when you’re struggling.
- Drink Water. You’ve probably heard that drinking water helps curb your appetite, but have you actually tested it? I have and it really does help. Buy a fun water bottle and carry it with you everywhere. Drink a big glass of water before meals and before you go to parties or events. I also like to drink a glass after a meal if I’m planning to have dessert.
- Move More. It’s important to keep on our feet as much as we can, but it’s especially important during the holidays. Work to increase your steps by 1,000 during this time. Stand when you’re online shopping or working on Christmas cards. Take a walk around the block after dinner. Just move more! Being on your feet and moving burns calories and every little bit helps.
- Pick which days you plan to indulge. Most people simply give themselves carte blanche throughout the holidays and put off worrying about it until January 1. Instead, pick your splurge days. Maybe your plan is to splurge at Thanksgiving, a few parties or events, Christmas day and New Years. If so, eat a healthy diet on the other days. Having splurge days keeps you from feeling deprived while keeping you from going hog wild the entire month of December.
- Snack BEFORE the party. I know people who starve themselves all day before a party or event and then go NUTS at the party. I’ve found a better plan is to eat like normal and even have a healthy snack before the party. By feeling satisfied and not ravenous, you will have better control and not inhale the entire dessert table.
- Splurge on seasonal goodies. One fun aspect of holiday food is that much of it is only around during this time of year. Cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, fudge and eggnog aren’t on your normal weekly menu. When you splurge, don’t waste calories on things you can eat anytime such as bread or brownies. Save it for seasonal stuff.
- Eat greens at every meal. This is a good year round tip, but it can be especially helpful at the holidays. Load up on plenty of healthy greens to help fill you up, leaving less room for all the other stuff. I even enjoy having greens at breakfast by throwing some spinach in scrambled eggs or a smoothie. If that’s not for you, have fruit with your breakfast. Having healthy produce at each meal is always a good idea.
- Enjoy your food and don’t feel bad. On the days you choose to splurge, fully enjoy it and don’t stress. One of the keys to enjoying your holiday splurges is to eat healthy and exercise throughout the year. When you have a consistently healthy lifestyle, some holiday indulgence won’t hurt you. Key word is “some.” Indulging constantly throughout the holidays will have you wearing your fat pants in January, so pick your days. Once you do that, relax and savor every bite.
- Finally, and this is crucial, get right back on track. So often, we have an “all or nothing” mentality. We think, “Oh Well! I’ve blown it, so I may as well keep eating garbage.” Before you know it, you’ve gone two weeks without working out or watching your diet. Free yourself from that way of thinking and just get right back at it after a splurge. Overdid it Christmas Day? Start back December 26. Went a little nuts at a Christmas party? Get back the very next meal and workout the very next day. Don’t let unhealthy habits linger.
With a little effort and planning, you can fully enjoy this wonderful season without doing damage to your waistline. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, y’all!