The holidays are a tough time of year to survive for most when it comes to staying fit or keeping up a diet. Rich food, busy schedules, and holiday shopping are a three-headed monster when it comes to your physique. You’re more likely to take in more calories than you need, you will not get the rest or exercise that you’ve become used to, and on top of it all you have the stress that is the mall.
I’ve come up with a handy of tips to help you stick to your progress during this season. None of these ideas are complicated or even a big secret. You probably could sit down and think them up yourself. However, have you done it? If so, then you’re on the right track. If not then consider this to be your holiday accounting kick in the (in danger of being softer) rear!
1. Set a holiday goal, and keep up with it. Part of the reason that people gain weight over the holidays is that they expect to. They just accept it and use it as their excuse to go whole hog. There’s no need of it. Just like everything else, if you set a good goal and focus on what you need to do in order to reach it, success is much easier.
Write your goal on the refrigerator, put a word document up on the computer, or tell a three year old to remind you every day. Do whatever you need to do to keep checking in on that goal.
2. Reassess your schedule. Carve out a time when you can exercise. Things will get busy over the holidays. For most people their schedules will get messed up. This is a prime opportunity to miss gym time. Spend a few minutes dragging out your calendar and figuring out when you can make it to the gym. Health and fitness is a priority for you, so treat it like it is.
3. Limit holiday eating to special events. Why is it that people think of the holiday season eating as taking place from about November 20th to January 10th? There’s Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and maybe a couple of holiday parties. We’re looking at five or six days out of two and a half months. Even if you have a busy holiday social schedule you’ll spend more time in “normal days” than holidays if you plan for it. Do not eat like it’s a holiday when it’s not.
4. Maintain your diet and fitness consistency. This ties in with number three. One of the big killers of holiday eating is the lack of consistency. People will overeat at one party, then starve the next day to compensate. Well, all that does is make them so hungry that they overeat the next evening.
This is kind of like watching someone learning to ride a bike. They may start off on the straight and narrow, but then they get a little wobble … We all know that what they should do is stop, stabilize, and restart. Instead they start overcompensating one way and then the other, getting worse and worse with compensation. Soon they go too far and crash. A holiday yo-yo dieter will do the same thing until they finally throw their hands up and just go back to the way they used to be. That’s the way they managed to gain five or ten pounds every holiday.
5. Eat vegetables and lean protein first. This tip is a bit more specific than the others, but it works. When you sit down to that big Christmas dinner, hit the salad, greens, and turkey first. At the infamous table covered with goodies, take a few trips around the vegetable platter before you go after the other stuff. Taking some time to eat quality protein and fibrous vegetables will help fill you up. The good food you take in will take the edge off of your hunger and give you some extra willpower at the buffet table.
Take these five tips and move forward to the holidays. With some consistency and planning you’ll not only survive the holidays but you’ll come out leaner, fitter, and ahead of the game for your new year!