I love the holidays. I have over 30 pairs of Christmas socks to prove it. But December isn't all fun, games and socks :-) The holidays can be stressful, especially if you are trying to make healthy choices.
Temptation is everywhere, BUT that doesn't mean you have to totally throw in the health towel! December is not the month to try and lose a significant amount of weight or drastically improve your lifestyle, but you also don't need to gain 10 pounds.
You can maintain your weight, make mostly healthy choices and still enjoy the holidays!
Seven "tricks" to survive the holidays!
1. Make a list of all the healthy habits that keep you on track throughout the year. Then, consciously "live" them; capitalize on the habits you already know work for you.
For example, I try never to go anywhere hungry because I know myself: I am more likely to make bad food choices when I'm hungry. During the holidays I consciously live that habit—I never go to a restaurant or party hungry. I always carry a healthy snack around with me. An apple and a few almonds is my "go to" snack!
If you normally find working out in the mornings the most convenient, make your AM sessions absolutely non-negotiable. Don't delude yourself by saying you can sleep in and work out at night. If you can't work out in the evenings from January to November, training after work is absolutely not going to happen in December. Even if you just train for 10 minutes, make yourself do something every morning.
2. Be mindful of not only what you are putting in your mouth, but how quickly you are eating it. Try placing your cutlery down between bites so that your brain has time to register when you are full.
3. Drink water before and during any social event so you don't mistake dehydration for hunger. Plus, drinking water will give you something to do with your hands so you don't inadvertently nibble.
4. When you go to a restaurant, preview the menu online beforehand. On arrival, don't look at a menu. Order your predetermined choice.
5. If the event is at someone's home, offer to bring a healthy salad, a lean protein or a healthy dessert. This will ensure you have at least one healthy option.
6. Live by the rule that "something is better than nothing." If you can't make your regular gym workout, don't use that as an excuse to skip your workout altogether. Get a great workout in a small amount of time with intervals.
Try what I call rolling intervals. Warm-up for five minutes on any cardio machine, or walk or jog outside. For 10 minutes do the following: 30 seconds at your regular speed, 20 seconds at a slightly faster speed and 10 seconds fast. Cool down for five minutes. Remember that "fast" is always relative to your fitness level.
7. Always eat a health breakfast! Start the day off well. You are less likely to over indulge later if you have a satisfying and nutritionally dense breakfast.
Have healthy "grab and go" breakfast options prepped so you have no excuse to skip the meal! Hard boil a bunch of eggs. Then grab one of them plus a few cut up vegetables for a healthy meal in literally seconds. Make a smoothie the night before. Then drink it as you leave the house. Leave apples and unsalted nuts at work, or better yet, if you have a fridge at work leave some yogurt or almond milk at the office and mix in some chia seeds and a banana for a fast and fibre-filled meal.
Last, if you make less-than-ideal choices, don't beat yourself up! Instead of feeling guilty, take a moment to evaluate what went wrong and why. Learn from your choices so that you can make better, more informed decisions in the future.