Holiday Fitness and Nutrition

Cookies and cake and pie – oh my! It’s that time of year when we just love to indulge in the yummy, sweet treats of the season – and then wonder how the heck we gained 10 pounds over the holidays?

It’s simple: Food and stress! The holiday’s can be a pretty emotionally-charged time. Most of us will gather with family and that could involve traveling, leaving work, getting our kids and family ready, cooking lots of food, or even hosting a dinner. As welcoming as a break with family and food can be, there is no doubt that it involves a ton of food and some level of stress – especially if you’re the one hosting a holiday dinner or party!

Not to mention all of the in-your-face marketing campaigns of large companies like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and even your local grocery market… they sure do know how to set that pie-pyramid table well – right in the middle of the entry floor! These factors can make for a challenge to stay focused on your goals.

To help aid in getting through the holiday’s without all the weight gain, I’ve created this post to share some holiday dieting do’s and don’ts. I’m going to throw a little fitness-related stuff in as well for any of you willing to work for that lil’ holiday treat. 😉

[typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#23800c”]First, let’s start with some do’s and dont’s:[/typography]

  1. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#960c17″]Dont go thinking that beverages (alcohol or otherwise) are free of calories![/typography]
    • There are a ton of new holiday promotion beverages out there flooding stores and restaurants. Stay away from these, as they can really hurt that waistline! For example, a typical tall glass of eggnog contains 540 calories, 30 grams of fat (of which 15g are saturated fat), and 60 grams of sugar! That’s almost as bad as it can get…
  2. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#960c17″]Don’t go to party’s and dinners hungry![/typography]
    • Avoid arriving to dinner (or any event where food will be present) while hungry. Eat something healthy before arriving, preferably rich in fiber to help maintain that fullness feeling so you avoid nibbling on all those delicious-looking calories. An apple and a handful of some almonds is a great example. This isn’t to say you can’t eat something, but you’ll be far less likely to overindulge on a holiday food binge by arriving with something in that belly.
  3. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#960c17″]Don’t feel that everything has to be perfect to have a happy holiday![/typography]
    • You can’t be responsible for everyone’s happiness and certainly won’t satisfy every single member of your families taste preferences. Most of the time, family comes together and enjoys each others company – but some of you may have that special 1 or 2 members of the family who can be quite critical. 😉
  4. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#960c17″]Don’t go for seconds![/typography]
    • It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s had enough food. We often forget this fact, especially during the holidays, and end up stuffing ourselves with way too many calories. Be sure to create your first plate with healthy decisions, but don’t go thinking you can’t have a little stuffing or green bean casserole. Just keep it to a modest portion!
  5. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#23800c”]Do remember your supplements![/typography]
    • During the holiday season, make sure you’re taking your multivitamin and other daily supplements to ensure you’re not missing out on key nutrients that will help balance your body.
  6. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#23800c”]Do drink a lot of water![/typography]
    • Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger, and most people don’t even realize that all their body wanted was a little water. During the holiday season, stay hydrated – take bottles of water with you everywhere and you’ll avoid feeling false hungers. Trust me, your body will let you know when it is truly hungry if you’re staying well hydrated. Not to mention – you’ll also digest your food much more effectively!
  7. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#23800c”]Do allow yourself some dessert![/typography]
    • You don’t have to avoid dessert all together during that family gathering, but make sure that your dessert portion is small! Always opt for the fruit or lighter option is available – and always skip the whipped cream!
  8. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#23800c”]Do maintain regular physical activity![/typography]
    • Don’t go skipping the gym or that jog you normally take just because it’s the holiday season. Stick to regular physical activity and monitor your progress weekly! Weigh in, take measurements, write down your progress and keep journals of your journey! Doing these things will help aid you in making good decisions when the bad ones are sitting on the table in front of you.
  9. [typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#23800c”]Do have a plan![/typography]
    • Lastly, make sure you have a plan for the holidays and for special dinners, events and parties. If your plan is to lose weight – stick to choices that will help support that plan. If your plan is to simply not gain any weight, then know your daily calorie limits (click here for my BMR calculator) and stick to them as closely as possible!

Another thing to keep in mind is that during the holiday months, it is typically more chilly outside.

This can deter even the most dedicated from wanting to go for that morning jog, so it’s important to plan for things we often don’t think of as well.

Make sure you have warm workout clothing and make the commitment to exercise no matter what the weather is like! The weather isn’t enough of an excuse – hit the gym or do some at-home workouts if it’s absolutely too cold to exercise outside.

[typography font=”Lobster” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#23800c”]One Last Tip:[/typography] On your Christmas wish-list, write down 2 areas of your body that you wish to improve the appearance of, sacrifice the eggnog and other holiday treats, stay disciplined with an exercise routine and plan, and then get ready for the mistletoe… because everyone loves a sexy body!

Additionally, I do want to say that the holiday food table is an awesome feast – but keep in mind that these times are all about those who are (or who cannot be) sitting at the table – our loved ones. People certainly come first – so make sure you stay healthy to ensure you are Fit to Live and in their life for many many more holiday seasons to come!

[typography font=”Lancelot” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#960c17″]Happy Holidays to You and Your Family,[/typography]