T’is the season, right?
Too much food. Too little exercise. Overindulgence abounds.
I totally get it. When you’re enjoying time with friends and family at this time of year, healthy eating and sweaty HIIT fitness workouts might be the last thing on your mind. Just because it’s the holiday season, however, doesn’t mean you have to skip every workout and jump head first onto the holiday treat table for the next month, though. You can absolutely enjoy a perfectly “holly jolly” time AND still maintain your fitness and overall wellness, too. The key is to enjoy a little and then reset by going back to healthier habits throughout the season. Here’s how:
It’s the holiday season. We all know what that means. It’s not surprising… or in some cases unexpected that there could be times when you’ll find that you’ve eaten more than you should or eaten things that aren’t exactly “health-oriented” and, that you may not be as active as we’d like you to be – no shocker, right? Yes, do your best to make healthier choices but if you get off track for a day or two, accept it and move forward. Don’t waste time beating yourself up or regretting it. That does nothing to help you after the fact and certainly won’t facilitate change. Hopefully, you enjoyed yourself, so file the memories and turn the page.
GET RIGHT BACK ON THE WAGON.
Don’t just stand there and let that wagon take off without you! Chase that thing down and get right back on! Avoid the mindset of thinking that since you’ve “blown it” you should just dive head first into every cake, pie and cookie tray you see and then wait until January to make even one drop of sweat from exercise. Instead, do your best to get right back to nourishing, moving and caring for your beautiful body. There’s no reason to spend the entire holiday season feeling increasingly sluggish, bloated, gassy and hungover after all, right?
DON’T STARVE YOURSELF.
As I said, move on. You’re not at war with your body so there’s no need for the binge/punishment mindset that some people fall into, either. If one meal is less than desirable, make healthier choices at the next one instead of skipping it. You may choose to eat less, eat lighter and to eat “clean” but thinking that you need to penance yourself with carrot sticks and water for a few days while exercising for three hours isn’t going to undo what you did. Instead, show your body some love by focusing on being intentional in feeding and fueling your body and in training it with healthy movement that’ll make you feel good and function well.
MOVE YOUR BODY.
Exercise is like sweaty magic. Everyday research seems to show some new life-improving, life-saving benefit. If big pharmaceutical companies could somehow put all the benefits of exercise in a patented pill, it would be the most expensive and sought-after medicine, EVER. And you get to have all the benefits for free, just by getting up and moving. Exercise is also one of the best motivators of healthier habits and the overall feelings of endorphin-induced feel-good, too. Just what you want at this time of year, right?
Hydration is so important during the best of times, but even more so after times of excess. Not only will proper hydration help to curb the post-indulgence cravings, it’ll also help with bloating and improve your digestion. Plus, your body needs water to effectively process those good nutrients you’re giving it now.
Bonus Tip: I like to infuse my water with fresh combinations like lemon and ginger, mint and cucumber, or basil and berries. Green or mint tea and freshly brewed matcha are also my favs on these cold, rainy days. Not only do they all taste great, they also aid in digestion while offering an amazing antioxidant boost!
EAT LOTS OF VEGGIES, HEALTHY FAT AND LEAN PROTEIN.
How great do you feel mentally when you’ve had a meal you KNOW is good for you? Not only do you feel empowered when you “eat healthy”, the fiber from the veggies along with the fat and protein help to nourish your body and fill you up so you have more control and are less likely to continue craving sweets and junk food.
Bonus Tip: If you need a snack, combine your carbs and protein to help your body better regulate your blood sugar – peanut butter with apple slices, avocado toast sprinkled with chia seeds, sugar snap peas and hummus, etc. This is a great time to add more raw foods to your diet, too, including cold-pressed juices.
No, no, not for the whole holiday season – I’m not a Scrooge. After a mini-sugar binge, however, it probably goes without saying that you need to ease up on the white sweet stuff. The more you eat sugar, the more you’ll continue to crave sugar so it’s a good idea to nip those post-sugar-indulgence dopamine cravings in the bud by “cleansing your palate”, so to speak. You don’t want to end up feeling dazed and confused, and totally icky after a serious sugar bender come January.
Bonus Tip: Avoid the insulin rush that comes with eating too much sugar by slowing the absorption with protein and fat – a spoonful of peanut butter can work, or if you’re at a party try a handful of nuts, a piece of cheese or a slice of meat. And, if you feel a post-sugar craving later, better sweet tooth options include a piece of fresh fruit with a serving of cheese, Greek yogurt topped with a handful of berries and a drizzle of honey or my fav – a serving of dark chocolate (75% cacao or higher) with mandarin orange slices – YUM!
AVOID FRIED AND OVERLY PROCESSED FOODS.
Remember that we’re talking about how to recover from your holiday treats here. That said, if you need to consult a science book or the periodic table to understand the ingredients, it’s probably best to just pass on it regardless. As for frying, well you probably already know that it might taste good, but it’s not good for you. Instead, choose whole foods as fresh and natural as possible, whenever possible for the WIN.
You might not have seen this one coming but sleep is your underrated secret weapon when it comes to managing your diet and taking care of your body. Your body does much of its best growth and most important restoration work while you’re snoozing. The list of sleep benefits seems endless, including balancing inflammation, strengthening your immune system and refurbing vital organs – hello, youthful skin, strong bones and healthy heart! It also helps to curb your appetite and balance your energy levels throughout the day. Set an alarm tonight to remind yourself to get to bed a little earlier and you’re more likely to feel all types of invigorated with holiday cheer – and more self-control, tomorrow!
Wonder twin powers activate! Buddy up with a trusted friend or family member for motivation, accountability and gentle support. That way it’s more of a team effort and you can help strengthen each other to stay on track. Knowing that someone else is rooting for you and relying on your success to help keep them going can be a powerful motivator. For instance, my husband has been working on getting more fit since this summer so it’s been fun going out for evening walks/runs, sharing home workouts and resisting the temptations of late night cravings together. We also share in getting back to our post-Thanksgiving healthier eating patterns, too. So, grab a friend or loved one and share the holiday fitness and wellness love!
Now, it’s your turn. The holiday season is in full swing, so use these fitness tips and strategies as inspiration to successfully navigate the holiday season in a way that leaves you feeling good and empowered on December 31st. After all, we wait all year to enjoy ourselves and indulge a bit, but we still want to start the New Year strong so we can do the things we want and reach our new success goals, right? Leave a comment and let me know how you’re taking care of yourself this holiday season.
If you need more help with your holiday maintenance plan, strategizing for your 2018 health and fitness goals, or you just want to say ‘hello’ – feel free to contact me, too. I’d love to hear from you!
P.S. Hey… did you get your free copy of Total Body HIIT Trainers for Women?
It’s a sample of our new series of Circuit Trainers for Women. It’s the perfect way to squeeze in quick workouts if you’re short on time this holiday season. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, click here to download your FREE copy today!