10 Tips to Stay on Track During the Holidays
Staying on track with health and fitness goals can be tough during the holidays, but, it is possible.
Here are 10 key tips to help keep you in tip-top shape through all the fun, food, & festivities.
Tip #1. Prepare a healthy dish to pass.
One way to ensure that you'll have at least one healthy option at a party/gathering is to make and take one with you. You'll inevitably be surrounded by not-so-healthy options at any party or event, especially during a holiday that's main focus is the feast. To sidestep the taunts of treats & unhealthy eats at family food affairs, I always make something healthy that I LOVE to bring along & share. So, find a healthy, yummy recipe to make & take with ya if you're trying to stay on track & minimize unwanted temptations.
Tip #2. Eat before.
In preparation for a big feast to come, like Thanksgiving, many of us tend to falter to the I'm not eating anything at all before so I can pig out during and not feel as guilty about it approach. Pretty normal. BUT, if you're trying to prevent yourself from eating ALL THE THINGS...eating beforehand can actually help your chances of not overeating vs if you starve yourself until it's time for the feast.
If you eat a solid, satiating meal before family dinner or Friendsgiving, you'll be more successful with your self control & prevent yourself from eating a ton of crap that you're aiming to avoid.
Eating beforehand will allow you to arrive feeling satisfied and will help you eat way less than you would if you show up famished.
Tip #3. Hit snooze on the booze.
Alcoholic drinks, especially the ones usually featured at holiday parties, are generally full of sugar and high in calories. That alone is reason enough to limit it, avoid it altogether, or BYOB. The other pit-fall the booze brings is the not-so-great choices we tend to make in terms of food options, and, let be honest here, most decisions in general.
Anyways, most of us aren't craving the salad over all the other holiday dishes that surround us after we've tipped a few back. So, if you're trying to stay on track...monitor and limit your intake, or concoct a healthier option to bring along with you.
Tip #4. Arrive a little late.
Being fashionably late is trendy. & who doesn't like being on trend?
If you get to the dinner or party a little late...after everyone has already filled their plates & dug into din-din...they're content & totally focused on their food, rather than what you're reaching for.
Tip #5. Set intentions & hold yourself accountable.
Sometimes the best way to ensure that we actually follow through with something we want to do is to tell someone else.
Share your goals with someone. Tell one of your family members, or one of your friends, what your goals are for the holidays.
Maybe your goal is to only have 1 sweet or one plate at dinner. Verbalize it to someone and you'll be way more likely to stick to that goal.
Tip #6. Be smart from the start.
Seek out a salad starter. Or dive into the veggie tray...but go easy on the dips & spreads. Most veggie dips, like ranch dressing, cream-cheese based dips, etc. totally defeat the purpose. Sometimes the veggie tray can pack on just as much fat & calories as the cheese board if you're going hard on the dips. But if you spring for the veggies or salad option to start & go at it the correct way, you'll be able to prevent cravings throughout the rest of your meal/night.
Tip #7. Plan, and then plan some more.
There's no reason that we have to miss out on any holiday fun to avoid being tempted by unhealthy food. Nor is there any reason to force ourselves to workout hard on days that we want to take off & relax, or days where we know we're gonna be on the go 24/7.
All we have to do is plan around days like these.
Example: say you have an 8 hour work day, then you have to head straight home to finish cooking the rest of the food that couldn't be made ahead of time, & following that, all the fam will be there knocking on your door, & then hosting mode is on & in full effect. That's A-freaking-LOT to do.
If you know you're gonna be running around like a mad man or woman and the last thing you want to do is any extra movement, aka workout, then don't!
Plan to not workout that day, and maybe get a really solid workout in the day before and plan for one the day to follow.
And if you do decide that you want to get a little something in that day, try a 20-minute at-home workout instead of an hour long gym session.
Just plan accordingly with your schedule so you can set yourself up for success!
Then you won't be upset with yourself for not working out, and if you do get a lil workout in that day, you'll feel like a badass because ya got more in than you even expected to be capable of!
Tip #8. Allow yourself to indulge here & there.
A naughty nibble once in a while, or missing a workout here and there won't kill ya. Actually, allowing yourself that leverage to indulge, enjoy, and relax every so often and then get back on track can help prevent the feeling of deprivation & the consequential binge that almost always follows. If we restrict ourselves from indulging a little during the holidays, we more than likely will end up binging even more & eating even worse than we would have if we had allowed ourselves to enjoy and relax when we wanted to.
Think of it like when you just want some ice cream, like have a HARD craving for it. But you won't allow yourself to have it because of the diet you're following. So, instead of eating a scoop or two of ice cream and satisfying your craving, you instead try to curb it by choosing a healthier alternative, like Greek yogurt. But you don't even really like Greek yogurt, or at least not nearly as much as ice cream, so that doesn't do anything for you. So then you go for some dark chocolate since the yogurt didn't satisfy you, but that's not sweet enough, so then you bust out the jar of Jiff, and so on.
I'm ALL for healthy swaps, but sometimes we just need the dang ice cream.
...and if that's the case, HAVE IT!
When you feel like you just NEED whatever it is that your craving, and you're convinced that nothing else is going to satisfy you, treat yourself!
If you spiral down the swap without satisfaction tunnel, you'll end up eating way more calories than you would have had ya just ate the ice cream & enjoyed the heck out of it.
Tip #9. Learn how to say no, unapologetically & with confidence.
Peer pressure is totally a thing. It can be hard to say no, 1...because you might be super tempted but know you'll regret it instantly if you give in, and 2...because you might not want to disappoint someone by not taking them up on their offer for whatever it is they're trying to push onto you.
If Aunt Patricia makes you feel guilty because she's trying to shove one of her cinnamon roles down your throat and you're politely declining, that's not on you.
Some people just don't get it, or they don't care about your goals & what's best for you, or worse yet—they're jealous of your aspirations.
Regardless, it's good to have goals. Having the desire to eat well, workout regularly, and/or improve your health isn't something you need to apologize for, nor feel shameful of.
Embrace your goals & desires to optimize your life!
Be confident with your no's, remember your why, and stick to your guns.
Don't give into the peer pressure. When you learn to say no to the things you really don't want or can go without, you then have the leverage to say yes to other things & treat that you DO want, without feeling guilty about it.
Tip #10. Be gentle with yourself.
If you slip up—and you will, because you're human and it's inevitable, don't throw in the towel and give up on yourself. If you have an extra slice of pie, or another scoop of mashed potatoes, or maybe 1 more drink that you planned for, don't beat yourself up over it.
Feeling guilty or ashamed only further worsens the situation.
The slip up already happened, so just accept it, move one, and simply focus on making the next choice a healthy one.
I hope these tips help you confidently gear up for the holiday season.
Remember that the festivities are more than just the food; focus on what the holidays are really about...time spent with family & friends!
Set your intentions & stick to what YOU want for yourself.