During the holiday season, it's normal to be worried about the impact its going to have on your health/weight loss/fitness. If you've been working hard all year, you don't want the holiday fun to ruin all of your progress. What's important to remember is it's all about what you are doing MOST of the time that counts. If 85-90% of the time you are eating healthy, then you can afford to splurge the other 10-15% of the time without it having much of an impact at all. Here are the top tips to ensure that you are prioritizing your health and fitness goals while still fully enjoying the holidays:
1. Plan Ahead
Fail to prepare, and prepare to fail. With all the busy-ness going on November-December, it's essential that you have a plan each week. Remember: it's what you do MOST of the time that matters. Holidays and parties are more frequent this time of year but what you are eating and doing in between those events is making up the most of your diet. To make sure you are eating healthy in between, plan your weekday/night meals each week, schedule in grocery shopping like an appointment, and then you don't even have to think about it.
2. Be strategic
If you have a big holiday party or dinner, don't starve all day in anticipation or to "save calories". Sounds like a good idea in theory, but you're not doing yourself a favor, you're actually shooting yourself in the foot. Going into a meal starving will make you 10000x more likely to overindulge and overeat. If you know you're going to be indulging in a heavy meal later in the day, fuel up on protein and nutrient dense veggies earlier, which will keep hunger levels at bay and balance out the unhealthy eating you'll be doing later.
3. Indulge without judgement or guilt
Truth: if you see foods as forbidden or "bad", you will only want them 10x more. Naturally, there will probably be cookies and baked goods galore in your house staring you in the face and temping you every day. The worst thing you can do is tell yourself you can't have them because then, they will continue to tempt you until you give in, and then probably feel bad and restart the cycle. The reality is, you can have them, and feeling guilt for wanting them serves no purpose. We eat for 2 major reasons: fuel and fun. Make sure you are eating enough for "fuel" and then fill in the rest with eating for fun when it is worth it to you. There will be plenty of opportunities to indulge all season.
4. Keep moving
Exercise doesn't have to be an all-out olympic event. Getting in just 30 minutes of moderate movement each day can be extremely helpful. Daily movement is an effective way to tame stress than can prevent you from turning to food instead. This time of year is stressful and its common to turn to food or over eat when under stress. If you can't get to the gym, schedule in home workouts or walks with friends.
5. Don't be "all or nothing"
This one is super important: avoid an "all or nothing" mentality when it comes to healthy eating and physical activity. A holiday is just a day, a party is just one event, an indulgent meal is just one meal. Enjoy the holiday. One day will NOT be what makes or breaks you. The problem is starting a pattern of daily treats, that turns a day or two of indulgence to a whole season of indulgence that leads to unwanted habits that continue beyond the holiday season.