Get ready. Get set. Its Holiday season! This means, cakes, pies, stuffing, and my favorite, mashed potatoes. In other words, calories, calories calories. I get asked all of the time how to stay on top of you fitness and health during the holiday season. The answer is simple. Don’t forget the true meaning of the holidays. It is a time to give thanks, a time to spend with family and a time to reflect on the past year. No where in that does it mean that we need to stuff our face. Now, I am not going to be a hypocrite and say don’t enjoy all of the dishes and treats that you wait all year to indulge in but I am saying that if you are fearing this time because you know that you are going to have an extra scoop of mashed potatoes or slice of pie, the issue my be deeper than the time of the year. This may be coming from your relationship with food, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you get through the holiday season while keeping momentum in your health and fitness.
- EAT YOUR VEGGIES FIRST! Before jumping into the starches and sweets, grab a plate of nutritious greens. This way you don’t fill up before you get the fuel you need to stay a well oiled machine. After your veggies are gobbled down, move to your proteins. A nice portion of turkey or ham can go a long way. Once you have done that, you can now get to what your taste buds desire.
- BE ACTIVE. I have experienced too many times where after eating the big meal, I would just sit around. On Thanksgiving, I would park myself in front of the TV and consume as much football as possible or on Christmas, I would find myself sitting around playing board games. Now, we have infused activity to our holidays with an annual football game before dinner with friends and family. This was a great way to make sure I got my activity up on a day that lend itself to being a lethargic outcome. My suggestion is to find something that is fun and active to add to your holiday traditions.
- GET A SOLID WORK OUT IN BEFOREHAND. Over the past few years, I have scheduled an intense workout the morning of a holiday. A workout that required a lot of energy and concentration which normally consisted of heavy squats and dead lifts. Once my workout is complete, I can now go into a meal with gratification and less guilt. This mad me feel better about having my holiday eggnog without a shred of remorse.
- REMEMBER IT IS JUST ANOTHER MEAL. There should never be any pressure to eat. If you are worried that you are going to go overboard, remember that these holiday meals are just another meal and that it is okay to have normal portion size servings.
- GET BACK ON TRACK. If you happen to go overboard, it takes about 3,500 calories to equate a pound of fat, so you won’t get fat just because you had that extra slice of pie. What tends to lead to weight gain is the proceeding days after a holiday. Get that butt back to the gym and get back on track. Don’t let the post-holiday hangover spill into the next day. This will kill your momentum, and it will be hard to get back.
I hope that these tips are helpful and wish you all a happy holiday season. Keep that ball rolling and head into the new year with a full head of steam.