Imagine making it through the holidays without gaining a pound. Ok, fine. Maybe you a gain a pound or two tops. But not the 10+ you’re used to. No more post-holiday bloat, a long list of new year’s goals all about getting back in shape, and the embarrassing feeling of showing your face at the gym after a holiday hiatus.
We work hard to look good for holiday parties filled with friends, family, and strangers. After all, you want to impress the people you haven’t seen in years, and the new people you’ll be introduced to. Yet by the time January nears, we’re stuffed with cookies, cake, and candy… and the scale (as well as the pictures were tagged in) show it. Ugh… untag, immediately!
Before you assume I’m going to tell you to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up the Halloween candy and Christmas cookies (I’d never do such a thing), I have a handful of healthy tricks that will help you survive the holidays.
Honestly, I’m going to treat myself during the holidays … and you should too. But, that doesn’t mean they have to end with us a little bit heavier, a little more bloated, and in need of larger clothes and a serious cleanse.
Read on to survive the holidays without destroying your body, self-confidence, and health.
Out of sight, out of mind. If you linger by the food, you’re going to give into temptation. It’s just too easy. However, if you stay in the other room, the dessert table won’t be calling your name. When it’s time to eat, grab your plate and claim your spot away from the goodies.
You could try every sugar-filled item on display, or only indulge in a few of your favorites. Why waste calories on everyday items? Skip the snacks that are available year-round, and treat yourself to a couple of the seasonal items. Don’t bother with chocolate chip cookies when Christmas cookies are out. You see the logic here? Play favorites, rather than playing the field. It will save you calories, food comas, and pounds.
If there’s one thing to really load up on, it’s protein. Before you head for the sweets, fill your plate with protein-packed dishes like turkey, chicken, pepperoni and cheese. These protein-heavy options will make you feel full and contain plenty of nutrients you won’t get when you try to soothe your sweet tooth with sugar. That full-feeling is going to be a life-saver.
It’s real easy to tip back a few too many when you’re hanging with family and friends. However, we’re less worried about your hangover and more worried about your health. Red wine is generally a safer bet than beer, and tonic water, coconut water, and sugar-free juices are healthier mixers than sugar-filled soda. If options are limited, do your best to avoid extra calories and extra sugar. No booze? No problem. Nothing beats water.
Don’t offer to bring dessert. It’s a trap. You’ll splurge as you cook, you’ll splurge as you commute, and of course, you’ll splurge at the party. You gotta taste-test your own goods, right? Instead of dessert, bring something with a punch of protein and fiber, like salad, a vegetable tray, cheese platter, or lean meats. If you want to exercise your creatives juices without going overly healthy, how about crustless pizza or cauliflower breadsticks?
Good luck winning the battle against the dessert table if you show up hungry. You’ll never win that war. Instead, eat a little something before the event so you don’t beeline for the food the second you walk in. Worst case scenario, down a quick protein shake so your stomach doesn’t feel empty. Oh, and unless it’s an early brunch, always eat a healthy breakfast.
Obviously, the goal is to stick with your exercise routine. But, why not burn some extra calories anyway you can? Park a little further and take a stroll. Hit the backyard and play a little pigskin (who doesn’t love fall football?). Run around a bit with the little ones. Even a minute of extra activity here or there will do you some good. After all, weight loss comes down to calories in versus calories out; burn ‘em every chance you get.
While we’ll give you a pass on treating yourself a bit during the holidays, it’s a-ok to be different. If you have the self-control to stick to your healthy routine, do it. Or, if you want need some extra accountability, join our renowned Holiday Hold ‘Em Contest, or find another local challenge designed to keep you track. The norm is to gain weight as soon as Halloween hits — that doesn’t have to be your norm.
Didn’t see that one coming, did ya? As much as I want you to enjoy the delicious foods the holidays bring, there’s another reason to eat slow: You’ll give your body time to realize it’s full. A big reason we overindulge is because we eat too fast. Shoveling food in your mouth without coming up for an occasional breath never lets your body signal that you’re full. Take your time this year and truly savor every bite. When you’re feeling full, call it a day.
The Journey Fitness Holiday Hold ‘Em Contest is back! Stay lean, drop pounds, and blast fat despite the chaos, stress, and sweets the holidays bring. It’s simple: The individuals who lose the largest percentage of body weight over the holidays make cold, hard cash.
While everyone else is putting on pounds and struggling with stress, you’ll continue to blast fat, lose the love handles, and get the toned, lean look people notice. It’s the perfect blend of accountability, motivation, and of course, reward! Click here to learn more about the Holiday Hold ‘Em Contest.
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