There’s nothing that screams temptation and indulgence quite like the holidays. While many of us tend to let your diet and exercise plan slide during these festive months, aiming to set things straight once the New Year rolls around, it’s much easier and healthier to keep a steady pace.
I don’t want to be bah humbug about holiday eating and drinking – and certainly you should enjoy your favorite foods. But instead of indulging and feeling guilty, only to repeat the cycle through to January, try instead a more balanced approach.
Following are some tips to keep your diet and fitness goals in mind over the holidays – and still have fun:
Plan workouts ahead. We get busy during the holidays, which means we can let our fitness routine slide. Instead of bypassing your evening pilates or skipping your Saturday Zumba class, keep these in the calendar. Alternatively, get up earlier during the week to go for a morning run or to lift weights if you find yourself strapped for time in the evenings. Just be consistent, so your body will be burning the same amount of calories it is used to burning.
Sign up for a new class. Have you always wanted to try martial arts, or kick boxing, or even ballet? Now is the time to sign up for something new, to get you excited about working out during a time when it gets overlooked. Don't wait for January - a lot of the gyms and studios offer holiday discounts. Look forward to learning and using new muscles in the process.
Eat prior to parties. We all indulge at holiday parties, where the food tends to be rich and plentiful. One way to avoid the temptation is to cook a healthy home-cooked meal for yourself and eat it ahead of time, so you won’t be so hungry at the party, or grazing on dips and cookies all night. Be in charge of your diet, and you will feel better in the long run.
Opt for less sugary alcoholic drinks. While the festive red cocktails look and taste fantastic, they are often filled with extra sugar that your body doesn’t need. These drinks can also make your head feel even worse the next morning than a hangover. Instead, opt for clean drinks like wine, beer or vodka soda, which don’t have the additional sugar your body might not be used to.
Indulge smartly. Like mashed potatoes? Try pureed cauliflower instead. Can’t live without pumpkin spiced latte and a pastry in the morning? If you like to cook, try making your own healthier pumpkin bread, substituting apple sauce for oil. Add a little dark chocolate to your latte to make it more holiday festive. There are options that are healthier and still feel like you’re indulging.