How To Survive The Holidays:
It’s that time of year again. Halloween and all those Snickers and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups have come and gone, and now Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season is right upon us. This 2-month’ish stretch can often throw a wrench in anyone’s healthy lifestyle. Let’s take a few minutes to map out a strategy to close 2017 strong and hit 2018 with momentum…and not 10 extra pounds around our mid sections.
One of the worst mindsets to have going into the holiday season is to just think, “Well, I always put on a few pounds this time of year anyways, what’s a few more?” There is no excuse to just throw in the towel for these 6-8 weeks and get back after it in 2018. The one thing that you truly can control over this holiday season is what you put into your body and with the right mindset you can crush it. The 10 tips listed below should put you well on your way to thrive this holiday season.
Prep Your Food For The Meals You Can Control
After Thanksgiving there are 20 days (4 Monday-Friday workweeks) until the weekend before Christmas. If you bring your lunch everyday to work don’t stop just because it’s holiday time. Those 20 meals can make a huge positive impact on you. If you’re having a potluck at work, be the one that brings the healthy dish. There needs to be one anyways, I’m pretty sure it’s a rule, and it might as well be yours. Plus you can take it home and bring it for lunch the next day. That’s called a win-win.
Holiday parties are about to be in full effect so please plan accordingly. If you’ve been doing awesome eating well and not over indulging there is no reason to stop now. If you know you have a night of drinks or a dinner with friends, plan ahead so if by chance you do overindulge you gave yourself enough wiggle room earlier in the day that it will have minimal effect. Even if the party isn’t until Friday night you can start preparing by eating a little less each day leading up to it. That way you don’t have to be the person busting out the food scale at a party to be sure you’re staying on track.
Schedule Some Me Time
Stress can be a big factor over the holidays. I know there are plenty of people out there that are stress eaters, and the holiday season can really amplify that. Then throw in friends and family pulling you in every direction and its a ticking time bomb until you get your hands on some pie. That’s why it is important to schedule time for yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary. Make plans to go to a Hot Yoga class, or schedule a massage, or even just go see a movie all by yourself (but only get a small popcorn). The more stress free you can be the easier it will be to stay on track.
This is non-negotiable. Don’t use the holidays as your 6 weeks of rest per year. This is the time to ramp it up. On the days where you know that you have a function and even on Thanksgiving day or Christmas, you can do a simple at home body weight circuit for 10-15 minutes. Or get outside and go for a run. Yes you’re busy, but you’re not that busy. Wake up 10 minutes earlier. Do some air squats in the morning while you’re preparing the big meal. Keep it simple, keep it fast, and keep it intense. Earn your carbs!
I know it seems like more calories, but in the long run by having a little something in the AM you’ll be able to control your appetite better in the PM. Even something as simple as a protein shake and a piece of fruit will suffice, or an egg and some yogurt. The point is you don’t want to roll into the PM hours without something in your system because you are now significantly more likely to binge. And binge hard. I’ve always found it easiest to keep the same breakfast routine during the holidays.
Eat Slow…And Put Your Phone Down
By slowly savoring your food, putting your fork down and tasting each mouthful of food, you will feel more satisfied and enjoy the foods that you rarely eat more. Remember it’s not just about the bounty of food, it’s a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. Be social at the table, don’t just put your head down and shovel it in. Also try to limit your distractions while eating, so avoid eating in front of the TV or while scrolling through IG. Remember, social media is not social at all. Here’s a real challenge, no cell phone for an entire day during the holidays…Can you do it?
Drink In Moderation
Most people will make the mistake of overindulging on the libations this holiday season. Which comes with a ton of empty calories and also leads to poor decision making in regards to portion control when eating. Alcohol is one of the worst holiday traps of excessive calories. Drinking calories is one of the easiest ways to get off track. It’s important to enjoy yourself, but if you have goals and easy way to stay on track is to alternate between a cocktail and then a glass of water.
Step Away From The Table
Will power can only last so long especially if you are starring into a delicious vat of mashed potatoes. Push away from the table, throw in a mint or a piece of gum and start to get the kitchen ready for the big cleanup. Sometimes the easiest way to not eat is to separate yourself from the stimulus of the food. Another useful strategy is to go for a walk. Grab the dog and go for a stroll or grab a friends kid and go play outside with them for a bit. That’s another win-win!
Help Cleanup The Big Mess
I get that you hate doing dishes, but there is one thing that it is hard to do while washing dishes…eat! Plus you’re burning a few calories and it gives you some extra time to chat it up with your friends and family while cleaning up. Also it scores you a ton of brownie points with the host. Just don’t drop anything, that will lose you brownie points. But if it’s someones dish that you don’t like…whoops, it slipped.
The holidays are meant to be fun. Don’t get stressed out when you get stuck in a conversation with your annoying Aunt, it will eventually be over. Take a moment this holiday season, heck take many moments, to pause and reflect on what you’re thankful for this year. As tasty as the food will be, nothing compares to the friends and family and gym buddies that you get to share it with.