You can Enjoy the Holidays Without Sabotaging Your Wellness Goals
The holidays are a great time of year but, let’s face it, they come with a lot of baggage. There’s the planning, shopping, entertaining, partying and traveling. Stores are crowded and depleted, viruses are rampant…and for many either seeing their families or not being able to is difficult. Schedules are crammed, budgets are maxed out and nerves are frazzled. It’s no wonder that eight out of ten Americans feel stressed out during the “most wonderful time of the year.”
It’s during this busiest period that every edible temptation appears before you. Do your health and fitness goals even stand a chance? Yes, they do! Here’s your game plan for a victorious end to 2022.
The first step is to get in the right mindset. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed so give yourself permission to indulge. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good strategy. Focus, first and foremost, on family and fun. Then go ahead and enjoy some once-a-year type of treats.
Set realistic expectations. For most of us, that means maintaining our fitness goals rather than trying to make big strides. Resolve to stay active. Working out will help boost your mood, energy and immunity. It will improve your sleep, help balance your blood sugar and help you manage your stress.
Schedule your workouts on your calendar wherever there’s an empty space. You can break them up into shorter sessions if that helps. If all you have time for is one quick exercise snack, that’s okay. A micro workout is better than none at all.
Make it convenient by writing down a list of your five favorite exercises. Then commit to doing them for 30-60 seconds each whenever there’s a break in your day.
How to Do It Better –the Holiday Wellness Edition
Instead of circling the parking lot for a convenient parking space, settle for a distant spot. A brisk walk to the mall provides you with a mini workout. Remember to wear sneakers or comfortable shoes.
Instead of using the elevator, take as many trips up and down the stairs as possible.
Carrying lots of shopping bags provides a good upper body workout.
Those buttery pretzels smell great but they are loaded with empty calories. Instead bring or buy a healthy snack, such as a smoothie, nut mix or protein bar. Don’t forget a water bottle to stay hydrated!
Skip the traffic and crowd headaches all together. Do some online shopping and use the extra time and peace of mind to fit in a little exercise.
Parties and Entertaining
Skipping meals before a party sounds like a good idea but it’s not. You’re better off eating a healthy meal or snack before the event. Being famished leads to bad decision making. People tend to overestimate how many calories they have saved and end up overeating.
Focus on connecting with others and having fun.
Don’t stand near the buffet, use a small plate and eat slowly.
Bring or provide healthy alternatives.
If you drink alcohol, moderation is key. If possible just have a glass of wine. Matching each alcoholic drink with at least one glass of water is imperative.
Instead of sitting before your flight, try walking around the terminal. This boosts your energy, improves your focus and lowers anxiety.
Stay hydrated and snack wisely.
Bring resistance bands, sliders or a yoga mat to work out once you get to your destination.
If you don’t have access to a gym, do bodyweight exercises (such as squats, pushups, planks, dips and lunges) –or walk, run or cycle. If you are a member of Golden Home Fitness you can train from anywhere any time. You have a customized plan and can choose your schedule. Your trainer is always there to motivate you, track your progress and hold you accountable.
The Big Day
The most important thing about each holiday is that you enjoy it! It’s a unique day of the year. Take the time to be grateful for your good fortune and company. Having realistic expectations, connecting with others and being present make the day special. Whether you’ve been healthy the rest of the year or not, cut yourself a little slack. You can’t lose your fitness in one day any more than you can gain it in one day.
If you want to, go ahead and indulge in your favorite foods. If possible, avoid overindulging in the rest of the spread or going totally hog-wild. If you overdo it, don’t beat yourself up –just get right back on track. Do not decide to throw in the towel until next year!
All the Days Before, After and Between the Holidays
What you do and eat on non-holiday days will determine your health and fitness. A balanced whole food diet with lots of protein, veggies, fruit and whole grains will nourish your body and mind. This will give you a lot to celebrate on special occasions.
Airlines instruct you to don your oxygen mask before helping anyone else in an emergency. This ideology should also be employed around the holidays. Proper self-care is necessary to offset the many pitfalls of the holiday season. Make sure to schedule an adequate amount of “me time”, along with times to stay active.
While the holidays can be stressful, having a good strategy lets you enjoy yourself. All that holiday baggage doesn’t require you pack on the pounds. You don’t have to derail your hard-earned progress. Instead simply adjust your expectations, mindset and schedule.
Striving to maintain your fitness rather than improving it is a good idea. Indulging mindfully and staying active will keep you on the right track.
It’s what you eat and do daily that will determine your health and fitness success in the long run. So go ahead and enjoy your holidays guilt-free because they only come around once a year!