Because we were all stuck in our houses last year, many of us feel like we need to make up for all the holidays we had to miss last year. That means more joy, gifts, and time with loved ones, but it also means that we're all more likely to overindulge in unhealthy habits. In fact, a lot of the healthy habits we've built during the pandemic may go right out the window! Between big meals, sweet treats, and themed cocktails, staying fit during the holidays can feel impossible. Despite what you might believe, it IS possible to stay fit during the holiday season! It's all about maintaining healthy habits, making smart decisions, and exhibiting self-discipline.
Those three actions might sound a little intimidating, but we promise it's easier than you think. To make things even easier for you, we've made a list of 11 concrete tips and tricks that you can put into action while you navigate your Christmas season!
Schedule a time to exercise every week instead of winging it. If you've worked from home in the pandemic, you might be used to having a little flexibility in terms of your daily schedule. You can exercise whenever you want. During the holidays, though, we have to add gift shopping, parties, and family dinners to our list of things to do. Be intentional about scheduling a particular time to work out and then stick to it.
Find creative ways to exercise. You don't always have to lift weights in the gym or run a few miles on the treadmill to get your workout in! Park in the back of the parking lot so that you have a further walk into the store; opt for the stairs instead of the elevator; walk through a beautiful, local holiday lights display. Take every opportunity you can to move your body!
Don't skip exercising altogether if you can't fit an hour of exercise into your schedule. There are plenty of 10-minute, high-intensity workouts that you can try, and lifting some dumbbells for 5 minutes is better than doing nothing! Like we mentioned in tip #2, take advantage of every opportunity you get to move your body. Your scale will thank you later!
Hydrate. Drink lots and lots and lots of water! Drinking a gallon a day will keep you feeling fuller longer, and all that water will flush harmful toxins from your system faster. If you have the choice between a beer, soda, or water, pick water, especially if you plan on eating a big meal with your family!
Watch your portion sizes. Telling anyone to avoid holiday treats altogether is pointless unless they genuinely don't like them. The holidays are a time of celebration, so if you see a giant, frosted cookie that you want to eat, you go for it! Just remember you don't have to eat a whole cookie by yourself; share with a loved one, and listen to your body when it tries to tell you that it's had enough.
Use your fitness tracker to hold yourself accountable. One of the most important parts of weight loss and fitness maintenance is eating the appropriate amount of calories, which depends on how many you burn in a day. Keep an eye on those calories by glancing at your wrist, and be mindful of the foods and portion sizes you choose.
Keep a healthy, backup snack handy. It's easier to do if you're the one hosting since you can serve it for all of your guests, but when you go to family members' houses, it might feel a little awkward bringing your own snack. It would probably be a good idea to let your host know ahead of time that you're going to bring your own snack and let them know why, so no one gets their feelings hurt!
If you're on a pretty strict diet, be smart with your cheat meals. What we mean is this: if you know you want to indulge in Thanksgiving dinner, make that your one BIG cheat night and stick to your diet the rest of the week instead of indulging every single night. One huge meal won't make or break your fitness, but a few huge meals in a row might. This is especially important in regards to those infamous Thanksgiving leftovers.
Take time to de-stress. As important as your physical fitness is, your mental health should be your first priority. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the colder, darker months of the year. Even if you have to disappoint the people around you by not attending every single gathering, make sure that you're taking the time you need to relax and do whatever it takes to uplift your own spirits. Doing so will make keeping yourself physically fit a whole lot easier.
Take inventory of the things that cause you to stumble in your fitness regimen. Is it stress? Is it a person who says something that discourages you? Is it an event that happens? Once you are able to identify the obstacles in your way, you can brainstorm ways to eliminate those triggers so that you can stay focused and motivated.
Exercise in the morning so that it's out of the way before the day really begins. One major obstacle that exercise enthusiasts face is getting caught up in the stresses of everyday life. Choosing to workout in the morning helps you fight the urge to skip your workout simply because you're stressed, busy, or tired.
Now that you know how to beat the holiday trap of overindulging, gaining weight, and feeling like you have to start from scratch once the new year starts, staying fit, healthy, and happy this holiday season will be easier than ever. We can't wait to see you beat the odds! (And remember that our sportswear makes an excellent gift for the special lady in your life.)