7 Tips To Help You Stay Fit During The Holidays
Staying fit for the holidays can feel overwhelming as it’s such a busy time, filled with parties, family gatherings, and other merriment. At every turn there are delicious treats and fun events, so it’s easy to see why people get off the fitness track and gain weight. There is a reason why losing weight is often the most-made New Year’s Resolution, and why people end the holiday season feeling stuffed and remorseful. This year let’s think proactively about how to ward off the holiday pounds. Here’s a list of small things you can do, and they are not as difficult to integrate into the season as you’d think.
- Take a Thanksgiving walk instead of a Thanksgiving nap: feeling stuffed after too much stuffing? A nap may sound like the best idea, but in truth, a brisk walk on turkey day will both energize you and be a nice burst of fitness on a day dedicated to gluttony. A brisk, 30-minute walk three times a week will keep you on track. If you don’t want to leave the family at home during your stroll, invite them along! It’s a fantastic way to share quality time at the holidays.
- Water water water: Drink your water. Staying hydrated matters because your body can mistake thirst for hunger, which leads to overeating. Your goal is 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day. If you’re going into a big meal, drink two glasses of water beforehand so you ward off overeating due to thirst.
- Plan ahead: if you know you are going to a party and you want to indulge, spend the week before eating lots of fruit and vegetables and lean proteins. When you can, integrate movement into your schedule in advance of the event. While at the party, be aware of what you are eating. Watch your portion sizes and enjoy every bite by eating slowly. Keep moving at the party; don’t sit in one place near the buffet. Mingle.
- Get your sleep: The holidays are tough on health. Stressors like late nights, too much food, family strife, and financial concerns can all take a toll on the body. Make sure you control what you can, like your sleep. Good sleep patterns can help alleviate some of that stress, which can lead to better choices with overall health.
- Indulge for a night: This is especially important if you’re the host. Temper an evening of indulgence by adding fruits, veggies, and nuts from the party spread onto your plate. If you’re the host with all of the great leftovers, or you come home with a to-go box full of treats, don’t eat all of the high-calorie items. Take the rest of that pumpkin pie to a neighbor; you won’t miss it and your body will thank you.
- Be realistic: Don’t expect to completely give up all holiday indulgences and work out every day for hours. Setting oneself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations can be just as bad as indulging and packing on the holiday pounds. Be kind to yourself and strike a balance that works for you and brings you joy.
- Reward yourself: If you achieve a holiday fitness and eating goal, reward yourself with an indulgence, like a massage, lunch with a friend, a new body lotion, or a day trip. The holidays can be difficult and stressful, and you deserve a lot of credit for staying on track. You don’t have to wait until a week of exercise is over either. If you walk, and you really didn’t feel like walking, give yourself a little treat. Those positive affirmations go a long way.
When you think about fitness for the holidays, do remember that anything is better than nothing. Anytime you can move, drink water, and make a healthy food choice, it’s a win. Happy Holidays from all of us at UNC Lenoir Health Care!