Here we go, people. It’s November. Halloween is behind us and it’s officially the start of the holiday season. It’s a time of year that can be extremely challenging for some people who struggle to stay committed to their health and fitness. It seems like temptations are everywhere and there are a million reasons this time of year to miss workouts and fall off the food wagon and flat onto your face.
I’ve already had several conversations with members who are anticipating how tough it will be. But my message to them and to you is that it does not have to be. The holidays don’t have to be the time of year that you blow your diet. It doesn’t have to be the time of year where you skip the gym more often than not. It doesn’t have to be a time when you gain weight and go into the new year feeling sluggish, guilty and regretful. Let this be the year when you coast through the holidays healthfully – where you treat your body well by enjoying the tastes and flavors of the season in moderation and keep yourself feeling energized with simple and effective workouts.
Go into the season with the right mindset and you’ll see how this really can be the most wonderful time of the year. Consider these tips to help keep your holidays healthy.
- Be Realistic – Don’t approach the season with an all or nothing mentality. Is it realistic to say that you won’t have any sweets at all over the holidays? Probably not. But it is entirely do-able to say that you won’t have any treats at work – you won’t dip into the holiday candy bowl or touch the cookies in the kitchen at the office. Is it realistic to say you will hit the gym every day? Probably not. But you can commit to showing up regularly during the week. Mark some realistic and workable boundaries to keep yourself in check.
- Commit to Yourself and to Others – Each year at Synergy, members work together on a Maintain Don’t Gain Fitness Challenge that keeps them feeling motivated and holds them accountable to the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the season. (Look for details on this year’s challenge coming soon.) Members post their progress and their results on the board and feed off of each other’s healthy energy. In January when the challenge is over we have dozens and dozens of people who not only did not gain weight over the holidays but actually LOST weight. They start the year off supercharged to keep moving forward. That can be you too.
- Don’t Skip Meals – If you think you’re doing yourself a favor by skipping meals or “saving up” calories for a big meal, you’re not. In fact, most of the time that strategy backfires and leads to over the top hunger, cravings and overeating. Don’t walk into a holiday party or sit down to a festive meal starving. You know and I know what happens when you do. Sure, you can scale back other meals or save room for desserts or special treats but fasting is just a bad idea.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – Make sure you’re clocking in enough sleep, especially this time of year. Being sleep deprived will not only make you feel tired, but you’ll be more prone to overeating as your body struggles to get its energy up.
- Use Your Workouts for Stress Relief – It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the social commitments and to do’s that come with the holidays. Nothing helps blow off steam or take the edge off of holiday stress better than a good workout. So, be sure to make time to be active all season.
- Savor and Appreciate the Tastes of the Season – This time of year brings so many delicious foods and drinks and there is no reason you can’t enjoy them in moderation. When you do, take the time to really savor the flavors and enjoy them and don’t feel bad! Remember, no one meal or one indulgence is going to sabotage your success long-term.