It is November, which means we are fast approaching holiday season. In fact, I’m sure some of you are already listening to holiday music. Holiday season is notorious for including lots of sweets, big family meals, and staying indoors snuggled up on the couch to avoid the cooler temperatures.
So basically, holiday season includes all the things your trainer tells you to avoid.
Studies have shown that an individual can gain anywhere from two to ten pounds over the 6-weeks of holiday festivities.
Many factors play into this weight gain, including: holiday parties, bigger meals, stress, and travel. Now, I’m not going to ask you to give those things up (except the stress, that’s not good for anyone). But instead, today I want to give you a few tips on how to get through all of those things without packing on the extra pounds.
Food & Drink Tips
- Eat a small meal before the party
Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach, that’s a recipe for disaster! Eating something before will keep you from overeating the not so healthy food at the party. Eat a meal with plenty of fiber and protein. Those meals will keep you full and clear minded to make healthy decisions among so many temptations.
- BYOS (Bring Your Own Side)
Bring the vegetables or another healthy snack to the party. This way you know there is something healthy for you to eat. Don’t rely on the host to provide the nutritious stuff.
- Chew slower / Take sips of water between bites
Just telling you to eat slower wouldn’t be a good enough tip. So, I suggest trying to make yourself chew slower or take small sips of water between bites of food. This will force you to eat slower. Eating slower allows you to really feel when you are full.
- Use smaller plates
It’s a mind trick… you are still eating everything on your plate (but it’s less food)
- Fiber & Protein
As I said before, opt for the snacks that are filled with fiber and protein, as they will keep you fuller longer.
- Eat your vegetables first
Fill up on the good stuff first. You know if you wait till the end of the meal, those vegetables will not get eaten.
- Build a healthy plate
If your whole plate is beige, you should probably change that. Fill your plate with colorful produce and darker whole grain foods. For more tips on building a healthy plate, check out my previous post on the topic: Build A Smart Thanksgiving Plate
- Just say no
Do you want to take some of this pie home? No. If you spend $100 more you get a free chocolate gift! No. Just say no! You don’t need to take home all of Grandma’s deserts. You really don’t. Don’t bring that stuff into your house, because you will eat it, and you will be upset with yourself.
- Turn off the television
I know that it’s hard to turn away from a good football game. But, did you know that you could potentially increase your calorie intake by 25% when eating while watching television. Eating while distracted is never a good thing.
- Everything in moderation
Alcohol, pie, cookies, and stuffing… you don’t have to turn it all down. But you should consume in moderation. Have one cookie and then eat some broccoli. Drink a cocktail and then sip on a glass of water.
- Water, water, water
As I said, water! Drink a lot of it. It will keep you full and more aware of your appetite.
Exercise & Mindset Tips
- Set realistic goals
Make small goals for yourself to reach everyday. For example, make the goal to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day (via dancing, cleaning, working out, etc). This goal is more achievable than running a marathon every other day. Don’t try to be a hero… it is holiday season after all. If you have been trying to lose weight, make it your goal to MAINTAIN over the holidays – this again, is simply more realistic.
- Take a moment for you to de-stress
Meditate, listen to music, or go for a run… just do something for yourself. For more tips on distressing during the holiday’s check out this article: De-stress During The Holidays
- Find an exercise buddy
Find a friend who will motivate you to exercise over the holidays. If one of you starts to slack off, the other can be the motivator.
- Make the most of your workout time
With family and friends around, you probably don’t have 1-2 hours a day to devote to exercise. Make the most of your time by doing HIIT routines, working multiple muscle groups in a single resistance training session, and keeping your workouts focused. You can find many workouts like this on my MFit channel
- Get it done early
Wake up and workout. Get it done early, so you don’t “forget” to do it later.
- Schedule it
If you are like me, you follow what is written on your planner. If something is scheduled in my day, I will do it. So write down what time you plan on going to the gym each day, and then go! Alternatively, you can sign up for a 5k race, boot camp classes, or personal training sessions. Paying for exercise AND scheduling the time will surely keep you from flaking.