Holiday parties, rushing around shopping malls and the inevitable sleep deprivation can take a toll on your waistline and energy levels. All of the stress can lead to poor food choices and missed workouts. It’s time to take control during the holiday season. With a little planning, you can enjoy the holidays without gaining weight.
Begin your morning with exercise
Start your day with at least 10 – 20 minutes of exercise to keep focused on fitness. Additionally, squeeze in 5 – 10 minutes bouts of exercise throughout the day, as that activity can really add up without draining your time.
Have a meal plan
We know you can’t always control the food at parties, but you can start off the day with a healthy breakfast to keep you from being famished the rest of the day. Eating a small snack, such as a small handful of nuts or a yogurt with fruit, prior to a party or holiday shopping will keep your from eating everything in sight.
Make good choices
Load up on the veggie platter and lean healthy protein, such as chicken skewers or shrimp, when you attend a party. If you’re craving a fatty treat, take small bites and skip the seconds. When shopping, hit the healthiest options in the food court. Choose lean proteins, broth based soups and green salads to keep your energy up.
Mingle at parties
Keep yourself away from the food table after you had your meal. Holding a glass of sparkling water and chatting with friends will keep you busy and you’ll have a better time.
Eat dessert occasionally
It may seem counterintuitive, but passing up the holiday cookies can lead to binge eating later on. Enjoy a couple cookies or a few bites of cake to satisfy your craving.
Dehydration leads to fatigue and irritability. At least 8 cups of water a day will keep you hydrated and help prevent hunger cravings. It’s also a good idea to have a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage. It helps curb consumption and prevent hangovers the next day.
Sneak fitness in
Are you headed out to the mall? Park your car as far away from the entrance as possible. Do you commute to your job? Get off the bus a stop or two early and walk a few blocks to work. Take a walk at lunchtime, play with your kids or take your dog on a longer walk than usual. These are great ways to get exercise in during the day.
Make exercise dates
Are friends in town that you want to catch up with? Meet them for a hike or go ice skating together. You’ll get to spend time together, have fun and move your body. You can always grab a healthy meal together afterward.
Get some rest
People who are sleep deprived tend to seek out comfort foods and skip workouts. The better rested you are the more likely you will be to stick to healthy food choices and have the energy to exercise. Maintaining fitness, getting adequate rest and eating healthy foods are crucial to staying fit and happy during the holiday season. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to work for you.
Happy Holidays from Laura Stevens Physical Therapy!