How to Keep Your Fitness on Track This Holiday Season

Pumpkin pie, sugar cookies, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice lattes: the holiday season is in full swing and that means these sweet treats are almost everywhere you turn. But as 2016 is coming to a close and your fitness goals are almost complete (yay!), you want to end this year in success. Here are a few tips to stay on track:

1. Move, move, move

It’s getting colder and it’s getting even easier to just nix your workout and opt for a long binge-watch on the couch. But now it’s even more important to get moving. If you’re crunched on time because you’re out holiday shopping, take advantage of all the walking you’ll be doing. Park farther from the store (it’ll be less crowded and you can find a spot), take an extra loop around the store before you check out, take the stairs (sorry, escalator), and walk quickly from store to store (cardio, anyone?). At home, get up every hour or so; it’ll help with circulation so you can stay warm. Your cramped muscles will thank you.

2. Hydrate

No, not with peppermint mochas or chestnut praline frappacinos, but with water. Not only will it curb your appetite (drink a glass of water 30 minutes before eating) and keep you from overeating, but it’s also so important to stay hydrated in the winter. Skin can dry easily in the colder months, so give yours a little boost by keeping hydrated throughout the day. Drink water with every meal. With every snack. In between snacks. Just drink water.

3. Eat well

With all the wonderful holiday food, it can easily put you over your normal caloric intake. So, on the days you’re not celebrating, eat well.  This means eating an assortment of vegetables, complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats. For example, a spinach and egg scramble for breakfast, kale and quinoa salad for lunch, and grilled chicken with veggies for dinner. Healthy and simple. Continue to be good to your body and feed it the right foods to give you the fuel to take on the day. Think of the days you do celebrate as your “treats” --- foods that you should occasionally indulge in. You might be tempted to tell yourself you’ll just work out later and it won’t matter, but remember you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. What you put into your body matters. You’ll be able to stay on track by eating mindfully and healthfully.

4. Portions matter

Sometimes the amount you eat matters more than what you eat. You can still enjoy all of Grandma’s Thanksgiving feast without eating five servings of it.  Go for the mashed potatoes and stuffing, but keep the portions reasonable.  Think you still might overdo it?  Start with the vegetables and protein first, they’ll fill you up and you won’t need that second or third helping of mashed potatoes. But your aunt baked three pies, what now? You can have all three, but keep the slices on the smaller side.  You’re sampling a little of each, not eating a complete serving of each.  And don’t feel obligated to eat everything.  If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it (don’t worry, they won’t hold it against you).  Eating in moderation will allow you to enjoy the holidays, but with a more health-conscious approach.

5. Enjoy yourself

This is the time to spend with family and friends, focus on them and not only the food.  Enjoy their company and the time you have with them.  It’s not worth it to be worrying about the calories in that pecan pie over being present and attentive to the people around you.  And don’t feel bad, you can treat yourself and you should.  You’ve worked hard and this one time will not undo everything you’ve worked for.  In fact, even the second or third holiday party won’t undo it if you continue your normal, healthful habits and enjoy in moderation.  So yes, treat yourself to that slice of pie, that one chocolate cookie, or that scoop of mashed potatoes.  Don’t stress over it!