Ah, the holidays: all those hearty meals and seasonal treats mean that it’s the most wonderful time of the year in many regards, but it can also present some pretty big challenges when you’re trying to lose weight or advance your fitness.
But the holidays don’t have to spell disaster for your goals this year -- it just takes a bit of planning and preparation. Here’s how to fully enjoy the season (and any other time of the year!) without missing out or backtracking on all the progress you’ve made this year.
If you’ve already been working on your fitness for a while, you know that keeping track of the foods you’re eating is one of the cornerstones for success. But when all those tempting treats start coming out in November and December, it’s easy to start loosening the reins and not counting every single calorie that crosses your mouth.
But yes, calories still count during the holidays. There’s nothing inherentlywrongwith going beyond your regular calorie intake during a special occasion, but when you’re actively trying to stay fit it’s still important to keep track. All those little things (desserts, drinks, a bite here and there of your leftovers) can really start adding up. It’s better to know and adjust than to guess!
It’s a common tactic to spend the day fasting and save your calories for that big Christmas dinner, but this strategy can sometimes backfire. Skipping meals all day long can make you extra-hungry, lower your blood sugar, and lead to moodiness -- and unfortunately, all of these things can lead to overeating later in the day.
Instead, try eating light and filling meals (think lots of lean protein) throughout the day instead to keep your blood sugar stable and prevent that ravenous overindulging.
The wintertime presents some unique challenges that can get in the way of getting to the gym. With busy schedules, traveling, and plenty of stress to go around, exercising might feel like the last thing you want to worry about.
But continuing to move is so important, especially when there are so many opportunities to eat more than you normally would during the year. If you can’t keep up with your regular workout schedule, change it up to make it fit somehow: try a quick HIIT workout instead of a long run, do a more effective burnout lift, try an at-home bodyweight workout to save the commute time to takes to get to the gym, etc. Just get moving somehow!
It’s no secret that there’s a ton of treats available during this time of the year. But remember, you don’thave to eat everything on the table if you don’t think they’re worth it! If you’re concerned about how those extras are going to affect your goals, be choosy about what youreally want to indulge in to make the most out of those extra calories.
One “cheat meal” isn’t going to ruin your progress - but several cheat meals might. The most important rule for staying on track to your goals for the holidays is to keep moving forward and get back on track at the next possible opportunity. This way, you can fully enjoy that delicious Thanksgiving spread or Christmas roastand not have it completely derail your progress.