The Holidays are upon us, and with them comes parties, dinners, baking, busy schedules, and all the general “cheery” chaos that can knock our fitness and nutrition plans right out of whack. This year, instead of giving up, or giving in, and thinking, “Hey, I’ll start back after New Years…” Let’s make a solid plan for success! After all, different studies have shown that the average person can gain 5-10 pounds during this festive season-and who want’s that???
*SCHEDULE and PLAN! Holidays get our routines out of whack, so your current routine may be completely impossible right now. Take a few minutes-right now-to look at how your schedule is going, and how you can better plan your exercise, water, and meals. Schedule those needed changes! Put it on your calendar or reminders!
*Be prepared for those big dinners and social events.
**Here’s a crazy fact:
The Calorie Control Council says you may consume up to 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat in total during any one of your holiday gatherings. While the majority of this comes from the meal itself, you can expect to eat nearly 1,500 calories in appetizers and drinks! Don’t find yourself in a situation where the food and environment send you into a nutritional spiral-have a plan of action!
*Don’t skip meals thinking it will help in your calorie intake; this can easily backfire and leave you starving and unable to control your appetite. Instead, focus on small meals and snacks of lean protein and fruits and veggies. Eating a small, healthy snack before your event can help you avoid overindulging.
*Many people ask their guests to “bring something” to a holiday event. Instead of baking a huge tray of grandmas famous butter cookies, or dumping some marshmallows into those healthy sweet potatoes and delivering it to the table, take something you can add that you KNOW can fill your belly without, well, “adding to your belly”
For me, this is a beautifully done platter of fresh cut veggies and fruit. I like to fill my belly with THAT, and then sample small amounts of the other foods-while making my protein the base of the meal. And a big glass of water before joining the table!
*Choose you splurges carefully. Look over the offered foods and plan your plate. Sample small amounts of your holiday favorites instead of filling up on foods you eat year round. Enjoy your splurge foods, eat slowly and taste them. Prepare yourself for “food pushers”! Food pushers are thse loving friends and family member that don’t take “No” for an answer. It may be your grandmother with her famous pie, or your best friend with a bottle or two of wine. I’ve seen lots of ways to “explain” the WHY behind saying “No thank you!” to the food pushers…cute ways to inform people that you are dieting-“no thank you, I’m allergic, if I eat that my thighs will break out…” or putting the responsibility on your doctor or nutritionist-“My doctor says I can’t have….” Personally, I find that just saying, “That looks truly delicious, but no thank you” works nicely Stand firm, and don’t feel the need to explain yourself. The last thing anyone wants to do at a gathering is spend time explaining your food choices, whether it be for diet reasons, allergies, or otherwise; not to mention, all of the opinions that will surely follow. *As always-enjoy the people and social aspect of your event. Have a few great conversation starters to keep your socializing active, and try to be social away from buffet and snack tables. And hav
* Exercise during the holidays can be super difficult. For some, the weather is nasty, there’s lots of travel, busy schedules, and guests. This can make sticking to an exercise schedule HARD!
Again, it’s all in the planning. Think “family fun” and schedule in some family activity: Ice skating, skiing, hikes, walks. Enjoy some social time while getting some movement. Consider wearing your exercise footwear while cleaning, cooking, shopping-and take small breaks to march-or even dance-for short bursts of calorie burn. If doing some crazy Black Friday shopping, take a few laps around the mall. If you find yourself traveling, walk the airport while waiting for flights. If driving, stop for small breaks and take a few laps around a gas station or convenience store parking lot.
If you are staying in a hotel or with friends, ask about exercise equipment that might be available. Or, pack some resistance bands or your yoga mat to get a short workout in.
*Set up your current environment for success! If you are visiting family, or traveling, or just running around getting things done-make your surroundings successful. Keep a cooler of water and healthy snacks in your car, or in the room where you might be visiting. Throw your sneakers in the car and get some extra steps in the parking lot of the mall. Take a break from decorating, wrapping, or cooking, and march for 10 minutes.
*Practice SELF CARE! (So hard this time of year!) take a minute before meals to breathe and set yourself up for mindful eating, get the rest that you need, take some times for yourself each day to look around, breathe, look at the beauty of your family and friends, and take in the lights, decorations and music of the season. All of this will help avoid stress.
*FIND SUPPORT! Find an accountability partner; ask a friend or family member to join you on your journey
*If you do succumb to a bad day, or even week, pull your self together! Do not feel guilty! We are all human, and this happens! Feeling guilty can lead to even worse behavior-so pick your self up and brush yourself off! Plan to make your next meals balanced! Check your portion sizes, focus on lean proteins, and lots of fiber filled veggies. Avoid those processed foods, drink that water, and get up and get some movement in.