Let’s face it: it is hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays. Everywhere we turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at office parties to our own traditional family favorites. When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, this can leave you feeling fatigued and bloated with mood swings.
The good news is that you really can get through the holidays without feeling less than awesome. It will take some effort, but you will thank yourself a thousand times when January 1st rolls around!
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What wellness goal do you focus on during the holidays?
In short: Maintenance. In order to greet the New Year feeling your best, it is wise to try to maintain your weight and activity level during the next few weeks instead of trying to lose weight. Remember: you want to enjoy the holidays, not be miserable from deprivation.
There are several ways to accomplish this:
- Don’t skip your workouts. Even moderate intensity workouts can burn 300-400 calories per hour. You need this calorie-burn to keep up with the richer food that you will be eating. You will also be less likely to overeat if you have just sweated through a hard workout!
- Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than those who skip this important meal.
- Keep a food diary. Write down every single thing you eat—even if it is only one bite of shrimp cocktail. You will be able to see if you are consuming enough protein and fiber.
- Monitor your hunger. Never show up at a party or buffet ravenous—you will most certainly overeat. Drink water and have a protein-filled snack (such as nuts or cheese) before arriving. This will help you to have more self-control around the temptations.
- Watch your portion size. If you have an idea of how much food you are putting on your plate, you will be less likely to overdo it. Take a look at this chart to familiarize yourself with portion sizes as they compare to your hand.
- Deal quickly with leftovers. If you have unhealthy leftovers in your home, you are likely to indulge. Don’t leave them sitting around. Freeze them, give them away or toss them.