Remaining Fit During the Holidays
It's mid-November, and for most people that means a long uphill path to the end of the year past Thanksgiving, holiday parties, company get-togethers, cookie trays at all the stops on the to-do list, and food gifts from acquaintances on all sides. Regular workouts get replaced with long hours in the car or on the plane and regular meal plans are ditched in favor of meals with friends and family. It can look like staying fit is impossible, but it is far from it.
There are several things you can do to keep from packing on pounds as you pack away the gifts. First and foremost, make a conscious decision to keep your fitness goals in mind as you maneuver through the holiday maze. Deciding in advance that you aren't going to get side-tracked is a powerful way to frame your decisions as you move forward. These are some other super-easy strategies to add to your arsenal.
1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep at night, especially before the day of a big feast or event. When you're tired, you consume an average of 300 extra calories over the course of a day. You'd have to walk 15 miles to take that off, so it's better to avoid it all together.
2. When you're loading up at a meal, choose veggies and other low-calorie items first. You eat more of what you eat first, so this simple strategy can save 100 calories over the course of the meal. To burn that off, you'd have to put in 20 minutes of yoga.
3. Pack your own food while traveling. If you pack healthy sandwiches, veggies and dip, and other nutritious snacks so they are convenient to eat on the trip instead of stopping for fast food, you can save hundreds of calories over the course of a road trip, not to mention the cost savings. Getting rid of the extra 250 calories you'd take in from the average fast food meal (versus home made) would mean jogging for 20 minutes.
4. Be choosiest at breakfast, so you have more wiggle room during the rest of the day. A croissant is 225 calories (half an hour of raking leaves). Swap it out for oatmeal or fruit to stay on track all day.
5. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water over the course of a celebration. This tip is widely touted as a way to avoid hangovers, but it is just as vital for avoiding the extra empty calories in your favorite wine, beer, or cocktail.
It can be easy to stay in shape over the end-of-year holiday season. These are just a few of the strategies to keep your diet on track. Next week, we'll talk about ways to keep your workouts going and to sneak in a little extra fitness time for those splurges that may come up.