Ahh... those challenging months between November and January, with all of the holiday parties, traveling, sweets, alcohol, etc..... not to mention football! Sticking to your regular workout routines and healthier eating habits almost seems impossible.
The average person can easily put on an additional 5-10 pounds during these months. There is hope that you can stay on track and/or at least maintain your weight and fitness level. From my own experience of gaining, losing and gaining, I have learned that it really comes down to calorie consumption and calorie expenditure. In other words “portion size and activity level.”
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Here a few simple tips to stay on track this holiday season:
- Never skip meals trying to save up your calories for the party or event. This will surely backfire on you. You will only become extremely hungry and consume more calories than you had anticipated. Temptations will set in and willpower will be out the window. Eat a small meal or snack with a full glass of water before the party. You will have much more control mentally and physically.
- Make the event more about the people rather than the food. You’re probably all fancied up and dressed to the 9’s anyway, so socialize and mingle. Why ruin it by trying to balance a plate of finger food while talking and chewing on a chicken wing with spinach dip in your teeth! Not very attractive.
- Try to make healthier choices. Stick with the fruit and veggie tray or cheese and meat tray. If it’s a buffet type of event, make yourself a (small) plate of little scoops of your favorites. Leave it at that. No seconds! You don’t have to hurt Aunt Betty’s feelings if she pushes her famous apple pie or mirliton dressing on you. Again, just take a small scoop or ask to take a little home.
- If drinking alcohol, try sticking to light beer or wine. That’s about 90 to 150 calories per serving. Drink a glass of water in between each drink. Be careful of some of the fruity drinks or punch; they usually have lots of sugar.
- Stand more than you sit. Or better yet, get on the dance floor! You can burn several hundred calories while dancing. It also keeps you away from the food and drink table. We are easily tempted to eat and drink more if we are seated at a party table. You also burn more calories standing, so wear some comfortable shoes.
- Get rid of the leftovers. Sometimes you can do more damage with the leftovers than the actual day itself. Have to-go containers readily available for everyone to take home, especially the sweets! Fill up one to go container for you to keep.
- Try to keep your workout routine as scheduled. If not possible, try to get it in the following day. If traveling, use the hotel gym, or walk around the neighborhood if visiting family or friends. Pack lightweight resistance bands to help maintain muscle strength.
- Add another workout day to your weekly routine. If you feel that you’ve consumed too many calories that day, you can burn them off and try to catch it before it begins to spread. Most importantly, try to have a plan in place ahead of time, and follow it through. Don’t let things like holidays, weddings, birthdays, summer, Tuesday or any other excuse ruin your hard work. Enjoy the holidays! Just be a bit more mindful and stay active. It’ll be worth it!