The holidays tend to be a time of joy, cheer, and dread, if we’re trying to fend off extra weight gain. While holiday festivities can threaten our fitness goals with tasty treats, excess alcohol, and busy schedules, it’s still possible to enjoy the festivities, without packing on the holiday pounds.
But, it requires being mindful and having a plan. Here are 5 things to build awareness and avoid packing on those holiday pounds.
1) Plan Out Your Holiday Schedule
The holiday season can get hectic real quick. There’s the company holiday party, then the family dinner… and don’t forget shopping for gifts. If you’re like most of us, your holiday schedule will begin to clash with your workout schedule, or current living pattern. If you rush into the holiday season without a plan, you’re going to have problems.
If you have a workout schedule, expect that it’s going to be somewhat interrupted. If you have a good rhythm of making healthy meals and snacks at home, expect that you’re going to have some hiccups. So, to stick to those positive habits, you’ll probably need to tweak your schedule and rhythm slightly. And, that’s a lot easier to do when you have your holiday schedule planned out.
Look forward to the next several weeks. What holiday events do you have planned? Now ask yourself, “how might these events threaten my eating and exercise routines?” Then, make any adjustments that are necessary to maintain those healthy patterns. So if you’re doing three exercise classes per week, maybe you won’t be able to continue that. But, can you do one exercise class, and two home workouts instead? Or maybe you’ll have to shift your schedule to workout on a different day than usual.
By planning out your holiday schedule, you can anticipate threats to your fitness goals, and then try to plan alternative paths to keep you on track.
2) Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
Now might be the time to revisit your goals, for two different reasons.
Reaffirming your goals can make you can feel more connected and committed.
You can set short term goals to get your through the holidays
There’s no need to abandon your goals during the holidays. Unfortunately, that’s what sometimes happens. So, to stay committed, make sure you have clearly set goals, and then review them to remind yourself of what you’re working towards. Then allow yourself to make adjustments for the holidays, and set goals that will continue to support your progress.
So, if your overall goal is to lose weight by shedding 2 lbs per week, take a look at that goal in the context of your holiday schedule. Is that realistic? Will it squeeze all of the joy out of the holiday season for you? If so, it’s okay to adjust your goals. But make sure they support that end goal. That might mean reducing your goal to just maintain your current weight through the holiday season, and then continue shedding pounds.
3) Stay Hydrated
When you’re holiday party hopping and snacks are bountiful all around, it’s especially important to stay hydrated. If you’re dehydrated, your body can start to feel tired. This lack of energy can trigger hunger cravings, even though you need water, not calories. By staying hydrated you’ll help keep some of those hunger cues at bay.
Drinking water is also a good strategy to prevent yourself from overeating. Before you sit down to eat dinner make sure you’ve drinken plenty of water. This will help fill your stomach, and reduce the room for excess calories.
4) Go Easy on the Holiday Beverages
To stay hydrated, we’re not talking about sparkling cider, hot chocolate, eggnog, or alcohol. It’s okay to enjoy those in light moderation, but keep an eye on them. Many of these festive drinks are loaded with sugar and excess calories that are quickly consumed. So, before you know it, you can quickly consume an extra meals worth of calories in liquid form, without even knowing it. This is especially true for limited edition holiday drinks offered at Starbucks and other shops.
5 ) Pace Your Eating
Look at that holiday spread on the dinner table. It’s so good. It’s filled with delicious food to be consumed in the company of friends and family. So, take your time to enjoy it, and have conversations as you eat. By slowing down when you eat, you’re also likely to eat less. That’s because it allows time for your hunger cues to catch up.
As you eat a meal, your stomach and intestines send messages to your brain to indicate that you’re full. However, sometimes we can overeat before those signals reach our brain - leaving our belly so full it aches. That’s because it can take up to 20 minutes for those satiety signals to reach our brain. That means you should take time to notice the sensations of your meal. By savoring the flavor, smell, and texture of your food, you’ll feel more satisfied, and allow your hunger cues to catch up. Plus, you can catch up with your loved ones.
Need Help Staying on Track During the Holidays?
When it’s hard to stay on track, it’s helpful to have someone on your side. At Demco Fitness we offer fitness classes, and personal training to help you reach your personal fitness goals. We are considered one of the best gyms in Seattle because of the dedication and support that our Seattle personal trainers provide each client. We’ll help you develop a plan to reach your fitness goals, and help you problem solve to stay on track throughout the holiday season.