Surviving the Holidays

Buffet
 A few years ago, I provided some tips on avoiding holiday weight gain.  (If you search Christmas or Holidays at the top of the page/in the search bar, you’ll get all kinds of good stuff from me -workouts and recipes.)  With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, this year I thought I’d provide you with some of tips on how to get thru the holidays without ruining your fitness or nutrition plan.

Christmas is often seen as the season of indulgence.  There are an excessive amount of parties and dinners and get-togethers and functions – not to mention Christmas dinner – and with all of that, there comes large quantities of food and drinks.  Whether it’s chips and dips and beer or a buffet with an abundance of rich desserts and cheeses and wines, there is likely something that will can entice even the strongest-willed guest.

 christmasbrunchbuffet

So, in order to do your best at not over-indulging (or gorging yourself) this Christmas, here are some of my best tips:

Make a Plan.   Don’t start the season off without knowing exactly how you will approach it.  Look at your calendar and figure out when you can get your workouts in – even if you can only spare 20 minutes.  Utilize that time to make the workout count!  Making a plan also comes into play when you’re preparing to feast.  If you are attending a holiday party where you know there will be lots of decadent foods served, plan your meals and eating routine around that.  Have a lighter lunch or dinner* or have a healthy snack instead of your regular meal if you will be eating later at an event.  If you really have the will power (or discipline) you can always prepare your own snacks to take with you to a holiday party – that way, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating and won’t go over your portion.  *You can also prepare a nutritious meal at home prior to going to your event.  This will prevent you from overeating or eating excessive junk at the party.  And again, this way you will know exactly what you’re consuming.

  1. Commit.   If you commit yourself to staying healthy during the holidays, stick to it.  This does not mean committing 100% (although, how fantastic would that be?), but why not commit yourself 80-90%.  If you’re not able to get to the gym 4 times per week during the Christmas rush, why not commit to getting there twice a week?  Or saving your gas and working out at home 3-4 times per week.  There are ways to compromise while (sort of) sticking to your plan.
  2. Challenge Yourself.  If you are going to be working out less during the holidays, make sure your workouts count.  Adding in strength training (you should be doing this anyway), plyometrics, HIIT workouts, or something out of the ordinary can rev up your system and help you in burning more fat than your regular workout.  There are so many other ways to do this easily – increasing the intensity on your treadmill or elliptical, holding your yoga pose longer.  Whatever it is, make sure it’s challenging you and see the difference.
  3. Eat Breakfast.  I cannot stress enough how eating a well-rounded, healthy breakfast can change your life.  Protein and the right carbs can be a game-changer for your entire day.  People who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat during the day.
  4. Don’t Drink (All) Your Calories.   Have a glass of wine or punch or a beer – just don’t overdo it on the booze or eggnog or cider.  Holiday party drinks are almost always loaded with sugar or fat.  So be on the lookout for that and sip wisely.  In addition to this, making your own java can help save you calories – and money.  Brewing at home as opposed to purchasing overpriced, over-sugared coffees/mochas/lattes/etc. will help you monitor what’s going in your body and what’s coming out of your wallet.

    Sugar Rush

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  5. Don’t Punish Yourself.  If you’re at a party or a dinner and there is something you really want – eat/drink it.  Just limit yourself.  You don’t necessarily have to eat the entire plate of cookies, but you can have one.  Enjoy it.  Savor it.
  6. Don’t Forget that Christmas/the holidays are not all about food.  Christmas parties and family gatherings are also about being social and spending time with friends and loved ones.  So, step away from the buffet table or the chip bowl or the bar and indulge in the conversation, listen to the music, sit by the fire.  Mingle, tell stories, and Enjoy Yourself!

Partiers

Cheers!

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Christmas Fitness

It’s December 1st!  Which means it’s Christmas and holiday month.  Which means it’s tons of food month!!

I was planning to write something today anyway, and then this little gem made its way across my desk and I thought “Hm, fitting”.  A fun little 25 Days of Christmas Fitness Challenge.

christmas-fitness

This plan is fun and pretty darn simple.  So, you can do it alone just to ensure you get some exercise in, or you can add it in as a compliment to your regular workout regime.

For me, December is bonkers – there are dinners with friends, and family get-togethers, and parties (I have one tonight!), and shopping (which, often entails snacking), and Christmas movie-watching (again, which often entails snacking) – which all lead to overindulging – in everything from sugary sweets to delicious turkey to spiced wine.

During the holidays it’s definitely important to have a workout program you can stick to.  Christmas is a celebration!  We shouldn’t have to worry about “falling off the wagon” when it comes attending the parties and dinners and enjoying all the wonderful offerings of the holidays.

The 25 Days of Christmas Fitness Challenge is a pretty basic plan.  You can get a great little workout done in just a few minutes and carry on with the rest of your holiday to-dos.

**You can also check out the 12 Exercises of Christmas from my post a few years ago, as well as my tips on Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain.  So simple, so easy.

Also, If you have a game plan for the month (or the week) and prepare for what’s upcoming, you’ll survive the holidays without freaking out too much about weight gain and sugar consumption.  For many, planning ahead is key.

For instance: tonight is Thursday.  Normally, Thursday nights I would be at the gym for a few hours then I would finish the night with a Zumba class.  This has been my ritual for a few years and it is my favorite night of the week.  But, Zumba was cancelled for this evening AND I knew there was a party planned for tonight.  So, I made sure to get to the gym last night, and I went for a run as soon as I got home tonight.  I’m also going to eat dinner here shortly so that I won’t eat/overeat this evening.  I had a game plan and I utilized it.

In fact, I have a game plan for the remainder of the weekend because I’ll be out town, there is shopping, and there is another Christmas party on Sunday (where there will be tons.of.food!!)  A GAME PLAN CAN BE A GAME CHANGER!

Remember that December is just one month.  And then it’s over.  Allow yourself to have fun and indulge a little.  Don’t stress out on whether or not you should have a little extra gravy on your turkey, or what will happen if you have another chocolate truffle.  Go ahead!  Just….maybe don’t eat all the truffles!  But if you do, know that it’s just as easy to get back on track as it is to go off.

Enjoy!

~Fit Bitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

CautionThe holidays are upon us which means that many of us will be going to parties and dinners and spending time with friends and family surrounded by beautiful feasts and scrumptious treats.  It’s the time of year when it seems almost inevitable to avoid gaining a few pounds – especially when it seems so easy to gorge ourselves on the delectable treats available.  So, here are just a few tips that may help prevent you from overdoing it this season.

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Eat Before You Go – Never arrive to a party hungry.  If you have a meal (or even a healthy snack) prior to leaving for your engagement you’ll be less likely to pig out on the goodies provided.

Use a Smaller Plate – If you do hit a party hungry  or if you’re invited to a buffet-style dinner party, choose a smaller plate.  This will help with portion control and will also limit your options (so choose wisely).  You may be eyeing that chocolately goodie but the sugar will make you crash quickly, so be sure to pick foods (if available) that will keep you full longer – veggie and fruit trays, nuts, soup (soup is a great way cut calories and get full!), even crackers and cheese.  Or if it’s a well rounded buffet you can choose a “meal”: salad, meats, etc.  Also, choosing wisely should help you limit yourself to one plate.

Down Some Water – Filling up on water will keep you hydrated and feeling full.  If your tummy if full of water there’s not much room left for food.

Stay Away from the Kitchen/Don’t Nibble – Offering to help a host is a lovely gesture but try to stay out of the kitchen where the food and temptations are.  If you’re hosting the event do your best not to nibble while you’re preparing.  Don’t nibble/test/snack/lick your fingers/beaters/spoons.  There’s no need to sample every (any) dish you’re making.

Nurse a Drink – Alcoholic beverages contain “empty calories,” offering little to no nutritional value and contributing to excess weight gain.  Aside from that, excess drinking will limit your control on what you eat.  If you get tipsy you’re more inclined to get the munchies.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a celebratory drink (glass of wine, martini, beer) but 10 of those is too much.  Nurse your drink (aka sip slowly) or even switch up every other drink with a glass of water (hydration!!), tea, cider or something else low cal.  And if possible, choose a smaller glass.

Wear Something Fitting – This tip may seem lame but it works.  If you wear something fitting your figure you’re not going to overeat or overdrink.  You want to continue to feel great in your outfit and not want to feel like you’re going to burst thru your pants/dress/shirt.

Santa Claus Measuring Fat Belly

Share – If you really want to try that turtle square and that slice of cheesecake and that new champagne, try sharing it.  Split your treats/drinks with a spouse or a friend…or two.  That way you can get a taste of the treat without all the excess calories and fat and sugar.  Plus, isn’t it nice to share.

Stay Away from the Food Court – When out shopping and hunger hits, it’s super easy to stop at the food court or some other unhealthy snack shack (pretzels, donuts, etc.).  If you know you’re going to be at the mall for quite some time and will need a meal you can pack a snack – veggies and hummus, fruit, yogurt, a healthy wrap.  Or if you absolutely must hit a food court or other fast restaurant choose the healthiest option – Pita Pit, Subway, or some place that has salads or healthy soups or sandwiches.  Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to chow down on fried crap.  Also, limit your Starbucks or other liquid treats (mochas, cappuccinos, etc.).

Don’t Skimp On Your Workouts – The holidays obviously get extremely busy with work and shopping and parties/concerts/dinners/events and prep work (baking, wrapping, decorating) so it seems the perfect time to excuse yourself from exercise.  Uh, no.  Exercise is important – not only to maintain your fitness goals but also for maintaining your sanity (exercise is an excellent stress reliever) – and you should never omit it.  Plan your day or week in advance and figure out when the best time of day is to get your exercise in and stick with it.  Even if you can only fit in 20 minutes a day – 20 minutes a day can change your life.  So, plan for a run or a video at home or even if you can fit in a class early in the morning or late in the evening (my evening yoga classes begin at 8:35pm).

holiday yoga

You do what you gotta do to keep fit and healthy and make time for yourself.  And if you’re at a holiday party and the opportunity is there to dance – take full advantage of it and burn off some of those calories.