It’s SO easy to fall off the health & fitness wagon during the holidays. It seems like a late night involving a major candy bender (aka- Halloween) is the tipping point of the downfall into the chaos that is the Holiday Season. Staying up late chasing the best online deals, wrapping gifts, and preparing those special dishes for the next gathering on top of celebrations with loved ones, jam-packed schedules, and pressure to pull off the perfect everything can leave you feeling more drained than jolly, and switching from skinny jeans to leggings is going to become more of a necessity than a desire.
Coming up with the excuse to skip workouts and eat bad food is easy- It’s too dark outside… It’s too cold… I’m too busy preparing a feast… Stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie… and those are just a few! Then, before you know it, you find yourself totally out of shape at the start of the new year. Below are some tips to keep yourself on track during the holiday season so your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be “getting back onto shape”!
Bring a Lower-Calorie Dish to the Party: You already know there will be so many indulgent and heavy dishes at the gathering, so be the person that brings the healthier option. You can stick to a standard fruit & veggie tray, or you can get creative and make a low-calorie version of your favorite holiday dish. Pinterest has SO many fun & healthy ideas, and is my go-to for yummy inspiration!
Lighten Up: Choose lighter, healthier options for meals that aren’t special occasions. I know it’s hard to do with all the heavy food at your fingertips, especially if there’s leftovers from a party the day before, but it’s silly to waste calories on ordinary lunches & weeknight meals. By keeping it light for the non-celebration meals, you will stay more on track with your health goals and will feel much less guilty when you indulge during the party.
Hydrate… with WATER!: As the weather turns colder, and schedules are packed with holiday parties, drinking water often falls to the bottom of the priority list. Instead, we gravitate towards sugar-packed cocktails and salty foods. I’m not a huge fan of water, and know that I don’t drink nearly as much as I should, so I have to find little ways throughout my day to remind myself to drink it. I find that keeping a water bottle with me at all times really helps. I keep one in my car and will carry it into stores with me as I run my errands. Also, making a point to drink a couple glasses of water before you head out to a holiday party will help make up for the fact that you most likely won’t have another sip of it until you return home hours later.
Don’t drink your calories: With all the specialty holiday drinks this time of year, it’s SO easy to drink an entire day’s worth of calories in drinks at your next holiday party. Instead of sugar-loaded cocktails, choose lower-calorie drinks like a red or white wine, a light beer, or flavored vodka with club soda.
Get Moving Every Day: Whether it’s a walk, a jog, or a full-on run, it’ll feel good to get outside & get moving. I know, I know. It’s COLD! But I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Working out really is one of the absolute best stress-relievers, and it’s a huge help in helping you not feel as guilty if you over-indulged the night before! An easy way to not totally fall off the fitness wagon is to schedule short & easy workouts you can do at home. I usually try to come up with 3-4 workouts (one for arms, core, legs, & full body) that only takes 20-ish minutes to complete and that I can do anywhere, so I literally don’t have a valid excuse as to why I can’t do them. I prefer to get my workout done in the morning so I don’t have all day to come up with excuses to put it off. For an easy at-home workout that requires no equipment, check out my post The 'No Excuse' Holiday Workout.
If you really don’t have a second to spare for an actual workout, doing chores like raking leaves, shoveling snow, or vacuuming will get your blood moving, and you have to do them anyway! Also, parking further away at the store or taking the stairs instead of an elevator at the mall are great ways to sneak in some extra movement.
It’s easy to feel like we are completely failing at our health goals during the holidays, but it’s important to not be too hard on ourselves. Life is about balance, so don't beat yourself up if you have an off-day or indulge in too many desserts!