Oh, the holidays. I believe there are two camps when it comes to the holiday season. The first camp is already sneaking Christmas music on their spotify. (Listening with earbuds, of course.) Pinteresting cookie recipes. They had their family photos taken in July for holiday cards. And rumor has it their DVRs are already set to record Hallmark movies.
Who are these people?!
I’m definitely in the other camp. We’re the camp who gets overwhelmed just thinking of all the social obligations (yes, I said obligations) that take place from November to December. The ones who cringe that there were Christmas commercials BEFORE Halloween. And wouldn’t go out on Black Friday if you paid us. My holiday classics are Bad Santa and National Lampoons. For real.
But I’m not all bah humbug. I swear. I plan to enjoy the holidays despite the commercial propaganda and packed calendar. And I plan to get you through this holiday season with confidence because I want you to enjoy them too!
Whether you love all things holiday or are just hoping to get through to January second, the month of December is the absolute most challenging time to stick with your fitness and nutrition goals. I am NOT here to tell that it is the time to focus on losing weight. But I am here to remind you that it's possible to not start 2019 at a deficit. It is possible to maintain your weight, habits and fitness level. There is a better way than starting off the new year bloated, overwhelmed and feeling like you need to “punish” yourself after a month of over-indulging.
So, here it goes. Here are my top ten “hacks” for getting through the holiday season...
10. Start baking your cookies the week of Christmas. None of this baking cookies the day after Thanksgiving. We all know those cookies aren’t for the neighbors and they aren’t going to make it until December 25th.
9. Drink in moderation. You know how it starts. You have one glass of wine and then one becomes four and next thing you know you’ve eaten half the dessert buffet. Really be mindful of how drinking affects your goals. I say enjoy your company, not ALL the cocktails. And, don’t ever feel bad about sticking to sparkling water with a lime.
8. Pick and choose your indulgences. If you have six family parties, two work parties and a party with the neighbors, I suggest you not go “all out” at each one. Pick one or two of those get-togethers to “let loose” and stay mindful for the rest.
7. I’ve said it time and again, but it bears repeating...do NOT go to parties hungry! Do not think you are doing yourself any favors by not eating all day so you can go to Sally’s party and drink ALL the spiked eggnog. Your waistline will thank me for this. And probably so will Sally!
6. Stick to your good habits and routines during the week! Keep up with your fitness routine, even if it is slightly modified. Make sure you have healthy dinners prepped in advance as the season gets busy. Chances are the office break room is going to have goodies galore. Avoid temptation and peer pressure by avoiding the break room and make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on-hand.
5. Another place to avoid is the kitchen and/or buffet at holiday parties. Positioning is real, people. Do not stand next to that dip you can’t resist. Pro tip: any dip that has the word “crack” in it is probably one of these types of dips.
4. Do not punish yourself for overindulging by doing hours of cardio or not eating the next day. Neither of these say “happy holidays.” Just don’t do it. Don’t do it to yourself!
3. Plan your workouts in like usual. Maybe it is more realistic to accomplish one or two less workouts during the week from Christmas to New Years, but stick with that routine otherwise. You’ll feel more confident and focused on your fitness.
2. Remember every moment of the holiday season doesn’t need to be tied to food. Not every outing requires a peppermint latte. Not every holiday movie means peppermint bark. And you don’t need to have a candy dish at work with peppermint hershey kisses. Or whatever foods evoke the holidays for you. Maybe tell yourself you’ll enjoy your favorites once so you can really savor them.
1. Last but not least, remember the reason for the season. Enjoy those who you love. Put your people first and stay true to you and your health. You may just never know who you are inspiring. And you will feel like a million bucks sailing into a new year knowing you finished strong.