For me, the holidays are a difficult time to stay on track with my health and fitness routine. Over-indulgence, lack of gym access and spending time with friends and family always seem to overpower my will to workout and eat in moderation. With holiday dinners come rich food and plenty of dessert my willpower is almost nonexistent. Here are some ideas to get through the holidays:
- Fill your plate with approximately half vegetables first. Already you’ve reduced the amount of food that will fit on your plate. I always go for the meat and carbs first and then add a handful of vegetables at the end IF there’s space but this year I’ll change it up.
- Take a small spoonful (or forkful) of all those rich foods you want. My kryptonite is mac and cheese, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Normally I add a few large spoonfuls of each and I swear I could fill out pants that are 3 sizes too big by the end of the meal. By taking smaller portions you still get a taste of all the dishes without going into a food coma at the end.
- Don’t go for seconds if you’re not hungry. Or, if you are still hungry, eat those vegetables! If you are too full for vegetables then you’re too full for stuffing. My problem during the holidays is all the food that’s still available after the first round! I think about how rich the casserole was or how good the ham tasted and go back for more, even though I’m stuffed!
- Have one dessert (you still deserve to treat yourself). I know, it’s so hard to choose between pie, chocolate, cake, cookies, ice cream etc. but you’ll feel better for it later! I normally get 3-4 different desserts but this year I’ll choose one and that will be it.
- Wear fitted clothing. After one plate of food your pants/dress will fit a little tighter and you won’t want to eat that extra piece of dessert or an extra helping of creamy mashed potatoes.
- Perform some form of physical activity every day. Going for a 30 minute walk before or after your holiday dinner will make you feel in control of your health over the holidays. Setting a small goal while in holiday mode will be easy to complete and you won’t feel as though you’ve completely ignored your regular fitness goals.
- Take a holiday challenge. I find Pinterest is great for finding challenges or short workouts to fit in your busy day.
- Write down your goals. Making a list in your head does not seem as real as writing down your goals for the holidays. If you write it down you have a reminder to stay on track and accountable.
When I head home for a few days I won’t have access to the gym so I plan to do a yoga class from the internet (doyogawithme.com is an amazing resource for free classes), go for a walk/bike every day (I have a small exercise bike that is easy to transport) and do a few body weight workouts. I’ll report back after the holidays!
Do you have any tips for staying healthy over the holidays?