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How to Stay Fit and Still be Festive this Season
Stick to a Routine as Best as You Can.
All that extra activity during the holidays can wreak havoc on a healthy lifestyle. Shopping trips, holiday parties, kids activities and traveling can put your diet and exercise plans on the backburner. Carry healthy snacks for those after work trips to the department store or toy shop, and stave off the temptation for sugary coffee drinks and other on-the-go food faux pas. Stay active at least four times a week (yes, power shopping does count!), and include protein with your breakfast — both will give your metabolism a boost that lasts all day.
It is ok to indulge.
You heard right. It’s perfectly acceptable to indulge a little over the holidays. Because let’s face it: trying to stick to your diet 100% when everyone around you is feasting on holiday fare would make anyone a Scrooge. If you stick to eating healthy foods most of the time, you’re going to be way ahead of most. So go ahead and indulge (just don’t go overboard!)
Find Balance. Never, ever fast.
The holidays are all about enjoying yourself with friends and family. One of the biggest mistakes people make around the holidays is that when they have a holiday party to go to, they’ll skip a normal meal to “save” calories for later indulgence. This will inevitably backfire. Because your body is already hungry you’ll most likely end up overindulging on unhealthy stuff and consume more calories than if you’d eaten a normal health meal pre-party. If you do overindulge, try not to stress. Do better next time, and schedule in an extra workout for the week.
Drink up! (Water, that is.)
Drink lots and lots of water daily. Many times, we eat when we are actually thirsty. Dehydration increases cravings, and sugary holiday foods and festive cocktails can deplete your body of much needed hydration. Your body needs half its body weight in ounces daily — if you weigh 150 pounds, get at least 75 ounces of water each day. Have a glass of water before indulging in treats, it will soften cravings and help in eating moderately. If you do overindulge in sugary food or alcohol over the holidays and find you are feeling worse for the wear, replenish your electrolytes with some coconut water and rehydrate with lots of fresh water. Get some extra sleep the following night, and schedule in a good intense cardio session to purge any lingering toxins so you can be back to cheery in no time.
Eat your veggies.
Many holiday foods don’t include veggies, and those that do are unrecognizably altered with flour and butter. Generally, people end up eating fewer vegetables around the holidays. Veggies are full of fiber, which keeps you full longer; eating lots of them will make it less likely you’ll overeat other unhealthier foods. Start your meals with a large salad; fill your stomach with a high-nutrition, low-calorie meal that doesn’t allow room for overeating. When you go to a holiday party, head to the crudité platter first, this will make it much less likely that you’ll eat the cookie tray later.
Fill up on lean protein.
Since protein also helps you fill up faster, but makes sure you stay full, this will help ensure you don’t overindulge at a party just because you didn’t eat enough earlier. At that company dinner buffet, head to the carving station for some roast turkey or ham, look for baked fish, or ask for shrimp and scallops at the sauté table. You’ll feel fuller and more satisfied while feeding both your muscles and your metabolism.
Hold out for only your most favorite foods.
You will enjoy these foods much more when they are a special treat. As a bonus, you should also feel much less guilty and end up sticking a normal, healthy diet most of the season. By approaching the holidays in this way, it can help bring into focus the things you most enjoy about your celebrations, leaving more room for enjoying family and friends. Think carefully about what you are eating, not simply because it is ‘there’ but because it is something you truly look forward to. (Auntie’s pumpkin pie? Yes, please!)
Lead by example.
Offer to bring a healthy dish to parties. Bring bean dips or hummus with veggies, fruit platters or smoked salmon. It’s also easy to make healthy swaps when baking, such as using coconut oil instead of butter, natural sugars or stevia instead of sugar, and flour alternatives such as quinoa or almond flour. Switch milk chocolate for dark in your recipes (80 percent or higher cacao), it is full of beneficial antioxidants and tastes delicious too.
Remember: the holidays are temporary, but the memories are forever. So if you find your pants a teensy bit snug… don’t worry! Enjoy this wonderful time with family and friends, and make your resolutions to get back on track in 2014. Precision Fitness and Wellbeing will be right behind you!