The holidays often become a time of overindulgence and excess. Between social obligations, the season of giving, and family events, it can be hard to stay the course and stick to your fitness and nutrition goals.
Rather than giving up and dealing with the aftermath in January or isolating yourself and being miserable, there are steps you can take to find balance. Here are three practical tips for staying fit during the holidays.
Focus on Your Core Healthy Habits
During the holidays, take a break from weight loss and focus on maintaining over gaining. You can do this by identifying your core healthy habits-- the habits you will do every day regardless of your schedule.
Write down what core habits you will focus on or use an app like Noom for guidance and coaching. Noom uses habit-based health to help you stay on track. Habit-based nutrition and fitness is becoming more prevalent due to its sustainability over time. To find out if Noom is right for you, check what guys from Pretty Sweet have to say about it.
Some core habits include:
- Focusing on getting enough sleep
- Ensuring you drink enough water every day
- Setting a minimum for nutritious food and vitamin intake
- Practicing mindful eating
By focusing on core habits, you stay out of the "all or nothing" diet trap and get to enjoy your holidays without guilt.
Plan Your Meals and Indulgences
With holiday shopping, seasonal work fluctuations, and hectic social schedules, meal planning can fall by the wayside. However, making a plan is important now more than ever.
Take a look at your calendar and outline when you'll be indulging and when you can eat according to your goals. Make a plan for simple meals. For example, maybe you won't have time to cook a full meal, but you can stay healthy by getting some pre-cut vegetables rather than fast food.
Strive to abandon the feeling that you need to be extra restrictive after an indulgence. If you know your work holiday party will be filled with treats and drinks, make a plan to go back to your usual eating style the next day. This approach is more sustainable than engaging in a cleanse or other restrictive and destructive guilt-based habits.
Strive to stick to your plan and avoid temptation. During a planned indulgence, savor the flavors and move on.
Make Time to Move
During the holidays, it can feel impossible to get to the gym. When there is time to work out, you may feel so tired that you lack the motivation to get out the door.
Make time to move every day, even if the most you can commit to is a micro movement. Micro movements are non-exercise movements that increase your baseline metabolism and energy expenditure throughout the day. For example, parking farther away from the doors and walking when you go holiday shopping or setting a timer to stand up and walk to the water cooler once an hour at work.
If at all possible, schedule training sessions, even if they aren't as intense or lengthy as your usual schedule. Enroll in a holiday challenge or create one with your friends to increase your accountability.
Happy Healthy Holidays
Remember, come February, you won't remember what you ate or how little you exercised during the holidays. You'll remember the fun you had and the people you spent time with. Make the most of your holidays while prioritizing your health.