Surviving the Holiday Season Without Derailing Your Health & Fitness Goals
Even though it may sometimes seem impossible to squeeze in “me time”, you need to make sure your fitness routine is a priority. Physical activity of any kind, whether working out at the gym, doing body weight & resistance band workout at home or going for a brisk walk will have multiple benefits when it comes to staying on track with your goals throughout the holidays. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins that will help you cope with stress, exercise helps to suppress your appetite & of course, you’re burning calories whilst exercising.
As a Sheena Jayne Fitness client I would recommend you stick to your training programs as much you can. If you’re under time pressure you can always swap some steady state cardio for a short sharp HIIT cardio session & you can intensify your weights program by reducing rest
period & supersetting exercises.
Don’t Strive for Diet Perfection
You should spend a little time figuring out how to enjoy all of the delicious food without going on an eating frenzy. You need not expect to be perfect around the holidays – for example, on Thanksgiving, you may have a generous cheat meal (which can be your one cheat meal for the week) before getting back to your plan.
There are lots of holidays coming up but if your helsth & fitness goals are a priority, you can pre-plan to use these holidays as a cheat meal. Allowing yourself some flexibility will mean that you can enjoy your favorite holiday foods & spend quality time with loved once without sabotaging your results.
Which Foods are Best
I always recommend sticking to the cleaner foods majority of the time. By a “clean” food I mean something close to its natural state, for example turkey meat or fresh fruit or potatoes. If you can identify the food, it’s likely clean. If the food is some glorious combination of a lot of ingredients then its highly likely theres been plenty or calories added like sugars and fats for flavour.
If you eat clean whole foods most of the time, then you can justify small portions of your holiday favorites without feeling guilty but using enough self control not to go overboard or binge. If you follow the “80/20 rule” when eating out with family & friends you will find it easier to stay on track toward your goals. That is, 80% of the time, you eat healthy foods and 20% of the time, you splurge a little on those once-a-year favorites. Don’t forget the first recommendation either – 100% of the time, do at least 30 minutes of exercise.
Calories Add Up
Making smart choices allows you to eat plenty of food and not feel deprived. To reduce calorie intake go easy when adding nuts, cheese, sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream. These additions can add a lot of calories to your meal but not really make the food any better. These types of things really do add up & tip what wasn’t really a “nightmare” of a meal into a calorie explosion. Be mindful or dressings/sauces etc or even take along some of your own low calorie alternatives so that you don’t “miss out” on the sauces.
Remember that alcohol contains a lot of calories & even more so when made into a sugary concoction like a cocktail. Avoid alcohol where you can & where you do want to enjoy a drink stick to spirits with a low calorie mixer like tonic water or diet soda.
If you are cooking holiday dishes for your friends & family, try to reduce calories by using lighter, low fat or fat free ingredients where you can. Experiment with new healthier recipes that may just become your new traditional favorites. Most of the time your guests won’t notice the difference but their waistlines may!
If you are following Sheena Jayne Fitness nutrition plans where I have you eating 5-6 times per day, on the big family festive days, you may choose to eat your meal 1/breakfast, but skip out your two “snack” meals so that you are just having two bigger lunch/dinner meals with family. If you remove your snacks that allows you more flexibility during the family meals.
Focus on Fun, Family and Friends
Don’t let food be the focus. Take the focus off food by enjoying the time you have with loved ones or even getting family and friends involved in some fun activities during holiday parties. Go outside for a walk, get kids playing & active.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Sometimes the best intentions to stick to your pre-made plan not to overindulge can fail. If you over indulge, don’t beat yourself up but do take note of how you feel about yourself. If treating yourself to some holiday favorites turned into a binge, you are likely feeling disappointed in yourself. Remember that feeling of disappointment so that next time you are in a similar situation you may be able to better exercise self control. Don’t do anything stupid like starving yourself, one day isnt the end of the world. Get back on track with your health & fitness routine & find motivation in feeling successful in your routine.
I think that it’s important (& empowering) to establish your own personal rules/principles that you aspire to and do your best to stick to them most of the time.
Prioritize a little exercise every day & you’re likely to feel more energized, less stressed and often exercise will help you to sleep better (which will reduce chances of weight gain).
Holiday’s are much more than food & drinks. They are a time to enjoy the traditions of the season, & to enjoy the company of family & friends. If you keep the focus on the spirit of the season & do your best to use the advice in this post, you should get through the holidays without derailing your health & fitness goals.
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