The days are short, the nights are long, and the holidays are finally here. You want nothing more than to bundle up, sit by a cozy fire, and overindulge in all of your favorite snacks.
This time of the year can be difficult for many people to stay focused on their goals and easy to make excuses, and often it’s a time full of guilt, anxiety, and self-hate. You’re surrounded by awesome food and all of your favorite tasty holiday treats and you feel overwhelmed and trapped.
I GET IT! Even as a personal trainer, I understand the struggle. I’ve been there, we’ve all been there! Family, friends, traveling, holiday parties, cookies, wine, ham, pie, candy! You want to take part in all of the festivities but you also want to stick to your health and fitness goals. So what do you do?
Here are 5 tips to get you through the holiday season without stressing out and driving yourself crazy:
1. Make a plan
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If you head into the holiday season already defeated and stressed out, you’re likely to fail. Instead, make a plan! Plan ahead and make exercise a priority. Make use of your calendar and mark the days you are going to exercise. The holidays can be hectic and stressful so make sure to make appointments and make your health a priority. This takes the thinking and stress out of the equation and allows you to better adhere to your fitness routine.
2. Portion Sizes
Let’s face it, our favorite foods are everywhere during the holidays. We can’t escape them, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to simply limit those foods. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite foods during the holidays, just be conscious of your portion size when plating your food. Load up with lean meats and vegetables but make sure to make room for one or two of your favorite treats. Eat slowly, enjoy your meal, and try to limit your servings of those holiday treats.
3. High-Intensity-Interval-Training (HIIT)
Between traveling, work, cooking, and shopping, I understand your time can be pretty limited. Sometimes 20 minutes is all you need and that’s why HIIT is your best friend during the holidays. With the ability to complete a HIIT session from your own home in just 20 minutes and spiking your heart rate too high levels, 2-3 sessions should keep you on track during the holidays. Check out this article by the American Council on Exercise about the benefits of HIIT.
4. Rid the Guilt
Beating yourself up and feeling guilty about enjoying yourself will only set you back and lead to unhealthy behaviors and relationships with food. Do not feel guilty for enjoying time with your family and friends and enjoying some holiday treats. This leads me to my next point…
5. Get Back on Track
Last, yet most importantly, get back on track. Health and fitness should be viewed as a lifelong journey. It is not a weekly, monthly, or yearly diet. It is a lifelong commitment to making improvements and being the best version of yourself as you grow and move along in life. So, if you overindulge on some holiday cookies don’t beat yourself up, abandon your goals and allow yourself to spiral out of control. Do not let one day turn into one month. Just as one day of eating healthy and working out isn’t going to turn you into superman (or superwoman), one day of some holiday fun isn’t going to ruin your progress. Have fun and get right back on track!