The holidays are filled with delicious delicacies, fabulous parties and fun times spent with family and friends — as well as loads of temptation.
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How do we find balance between indulging and enjoying the holiday season, without feeling guilty or packing on the pounds? Fear not: All it takes is a few easy tricks and a bit of willpower to keep you feeling happy and heathy well into the New Year.
Create Active Dates With Friends And Family
It’s much more rewarding to sit around the fire with your loved ones after a festive activity, like holiday shopping, ice skating, or hitting up an outdoor Christmas market. That way, you can get your heart rate up and work your muscles while enjoying time with family and friends. In addition, see if anyone would like to join you for a strength workout at the gym before heading home to bake cookies — after all, it’s all about balance, right? 😉
Enjoy A Pre-Party Meal Or Snack
Holiday parties are a dangerous place for those who want to avoid extra calories. To prevent mindlessly consuming cookies and appetizers, pack in the protein with a pre-party snack or meal. Protein takes longer to digest, so you won’t feel as hungry while you’re there and will be able to focus on other aspects of the party, like having conversations and mingling. Protein-rich snacks include cheese, tuna with crackers, mixed nuts, whey protein shakes, and eggs. Just don’t arrive hungry (unless it’s a full-blown dinner party; in which case, opt for a small snack) or you’ll end up hitting the snack table and staying there.
Water fills you up, so drink plenty of it! We may be less likely to hydrate during the winter months, but this is when you should really be aiming to get in your H20. To mix it up, you can infuse your water with fruit to give it a refreshing taste or add some lemon juice. If you’re looking for something more festive, you can try sparkling water as well. Additionally, this is the perfect time of year to indulge in some herbal teas, like peppermint. Yum!
Have you ever tried telling yourself you’ll only one drink, just to polish off two within the half hour and go for another (and then another)? This strategy is a mistake. Just as with chewing, sip slowly and carefully to avoid overdoing it. To drink at a leisurely pace, have a glass of water in-between cocktails, and limit yourself to one every hour. Also, choose healthier, low-cal drinks wherever possible (thankfully, champagne is on the list!).
If you’re prone to the munchies, it’s a good idea to busy yourself with a task that involves your hands. You could make handmade gifts for your friends and family, decorate your home festively, knit (if that’s your thing), do yard work or shovel snow (if the snow ever arrives!), give yourself a holiday-inspired manicure or play a game. That way, you won’t be tempted to graze on snacks. As opposed to sitting and watching TV, you can’t eat when your hands are occupied. This tip is helpful for anytime during the year, but especially on the holidays when there are many treats laying around.
Keep Healthy Snacks Handy (And Don’t Keep Treats At Home)
The holidays mean lots of cookies, cakes, and dessert-type snacks. Most of the holiday delicacies aren’t the healthiest or most nutritious options, so you have to take it upon yourself to keep some other snack selections around the kitchen when you’re home. Some pre-made snacks include sliced turkey and cheese, chopped veggies and hummus, peanut butter and apple slices, and yogurt and granola. Knowing that you have these options on hand will help you reach for the healthier choice. And if you’re baking some Christmas goods yourself, make sure you give them out to coworkers, friends and family — no need to leave those lying around the house.
Walking is an easy way to keep active while de-stressing (perfect around this time of year). It’s simple to add to your routine whether it’s going on a walk with a friend in the afternoon, or going on a morning stroll to start your day on the right foot. If you don’t feel like doing an intense workout, then you can just walk for your physical activity. Every workout will add up, whether it’s walking or strength training.
Stick To A Schedule
Part of the problem around the holidays are the neverending to-do lists and overall packed schedules. Exercise is usually the first activity to fall by the wayside. To keep this from happening, come up with a strict fitness schedule that you cannot stray from. For many people, it’s best to get a workout done first thing in the morning. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy an endorphins high all day long without worrying about getting your workout in. For others, simply committing to a specific class twice a week is all they need to keep them motivated.
Opt For Quick, Efficient Workouts
This one goes without saying because the holiday season is busy and there is always more to do than there is time in the day. For this reason, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and quick strength-training workouts are perfect. You can carve 10 to 20 minutes out of your schedule for a quick and productive sweat session that will crank your metabolism up for the rest of the day.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
‘Tis the season of temptation and indulgence, so don’t worry too much if you overdo it one day. If you’ve succumbed to one-too-many eggnogs, resolve to eat healthier and get over your junk-food hangover for the next few days. And remember:
Try in all of these tips to stay healthy, happy, and fit over the holiday season. You can enjoy the festivities and maintain your weight with ease by following this advice.