Holidays and special occasions are meant to be enjoyed, but they are normally spread out over the year, so our progress and daily habits are largely unaffected. But then October 31st hits, and it’s a two-month whirlwind of candy, dinner parties, events and more baking than we have done all year!
Instead of feeling like there is no alternative to “accepting your fate and starting over in January”, try implementing a few tricks and see how much more enjoyable and balanced you feel throughout the holidays.
Understand Food on a Scientific Level.
I’m a proponent of macro counting, which is essentially learning the breakdown of foods by their carbohydrate, protein and fat distribution. Even if you don’t want to get that technical, looking at labels and categorizing food can be so beneficial to making choices based on more than just “good” and “bad.” Most “festive” foods are higher in carbs and fats than they are protein, so if you know you will be partaking in those later in the day, keep your protein high early in the day– omelet for breakfast, grilled chicken sandwich for lunch, Greek yogurt and a ONE protein bar for a snack!
If it’s not a dessert you love, skip it! Gone are the days when you have to feel obligated to try everything or clear your plate. There will be plenty of opportunities to have treats that are worth every calorie, so there is no need to add the excess on top of that by forcing down Grandma’s fruitcake…just politely say, “Dinner was so good– I’m full for today!”
Break a Sweat.
As a nutrition consultant and workout creator, I find that when excuses are minimized, and exercise is accessible, people are more likely to stay consistent over the holidays. It’s OK that you can’t fit in your normal routine, or make it to your favorite class, as long as you try to squeeze something in and stay active! For this reason, I have a love for resistance band workouts. You can increase the intensity by increasing the resistance and I’ve taken mine to China, Switzerland and Bali because they’re effective and easy to use with minimal space. If you need some ideas on how to structure an effective workout, this four-week guide has resistance + cardio in each workout.
Experiences Aren’t Defined by Food, but Friends.
We often equate our enjoyment of the Holidays with food, which makes it easy to feel like we missed out when we avoid certain foods. Try shifting your focus to the other things you get to enjoy – the people you don’t see often, time off of work, or just the love and joy of the season! Avoid falling into the trap of feeling deprived just because you didn’t indulge in every treat in sight. Allow experiences with friends and family to be just as satisfying as that extra serving of pumpkin pie.
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