If Santa could see what we eat over the holidays, we’d instantly be on the naughty list. Most Americans gain 1-5 pounds over Christmas. While a little extra padding during the winter months might be conveniently warming, packing on additional pounds might not match your health and fitness goals.
Today, you’ll learn how to enjoy the holidays and maintain your health and fitness at the same time! Here are 5 tips to stay on track this holiday season, plus 3 do-them-anywhere workouts you can easily fit between festivities!
Maintaining your health goals should never make you feel like you have to skip out on holiday festivities! Make sure that you have a happy holiday by getting specific about what makes this season special to you.
Get honest with yourself. How do you want this month to go? Would the December of your dreams include a Festival of Lights 5k? Or do you see yourself snuggled up on the couch, binging Christmas movies with the kids?
Take 5 minutes. Write down the scenes that come to mind when you think about the type of Christmas you want to have this year. What traditions do you want to keep? Which events do you want to attend? What activities do you hope to experience?
Knowing which parts of the holidays are important to you and which parts aren’t will help you know when to let the health goals relax a bit and when to stay strict. This way, you can walk past the Christmas cookie frappe at the gas station but enjoy peppermint hot cocoa with the kids on Christmas Eve.
Guess what? Your healthy, happy holiday might include sharing Santa’s sugar cookies with hubby after the kids go to bed, a warm cinnamon roll on Christmas morning, and an indulgent serving of Aunty May’s marshmallow-loaded sweet potato casserole. The trick is to eat with intention.
Much of unhealthy holiday eating happens while we’re mindlessly munching and snacking on sweets. Here’s the solution: Hit the pause button for 6 seconds.
That’s about enough time to give your rational brain a chance to catch up with your cravings. Take six seconds to decide what you want from your situation. Return to the image of your picture-perfect holiday. If that sugar cookie is what you really want and not just an impulsive snack, go for it girl! If not, apply the next tip.
It’s easier to say “yes” to healthy habits than “no” to unhealthy ones. Don’t stay standing and staring at the cookie tray once your six seconds are up. Substitute the sweet with something better.
Before Christmas rolls around, think of a few simple steps to take when the cookie tray is tempting you. These actions must make you happier than another serving of dessert.
Here are some of my action steps, for example:
Make your own list of action steps that bring you joy. They don’t have to be big—just an action you can take that will get you away from the dessert table and set you back on track toward a healthy, happy holiday.
Two nutritional goals need to be your top priority this month:
Christmas is crammed with high-carb food. To keep your macros in balance, prioritize protein throughout the day before attending a holiday party or Christmas dinner. Eating enough protein each day will help you balance the extra carbs that come at Christmas, stay full for longer, curb cravings, and maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
Christmas cocktails, mulled wine, hot buttered rum, and boozy eggnog—the drinks are endless this time of year. But these drinks will dehydrate you quicker than you can say “Bah humbug!” Hit your water goal before heading out. Then, chase each alcoholic drink with at least a cup of water. Staying hydrated will keep your metabolism rolling, help you feel full, boost your brain function, detox your body, and keep your skin looking glowy for those family pics.
You can’t control what goes in Grannie’s mashed potatoes, but you can control your own. Pick your favorite holiday dish, find a healthy recipe, and sign up to bring it to this year’s Christmas get-togethers. Not sure where to start? Check out my list of healthy November and December holiday recipes.
Make this Christmas an active one! Sign up for a 5K. Go for long family walks. Play in the snow. Or gather the cousins for a game of flag football. If these ideas don’t appeal, sneak in quick workouts, like the ones below, a few times a week.
Short on time? These three workouts can be completed in under 15 minutes at home!
Sneak in these workouts, follow my five tips, and have a holly, jolly, healthy holiday!