The holidays are one of my favorite times of year. I love spending time with friends and family and showing gratitude for all that I’m blessed with! But an unfortunate side effect of that is that many holiday events don’t readily align with our health and fitness goals.
Inevitably, we will all find ourselves tempted by many unhealthy food and drink options, and the social pressure that goes along with them. Aunt Sally wants you to try her apple pie, Uncle Bob pours you a cocktail, Nana insists that you have seconds (or thirds!), and some homemade chocolate chip cookies are staring at you in the face.
Here are some ways to stay on track with your health goals this holiday season:
- Keep your goals top of mind. Write them down on a post-it note all over your house and office, or on whiteboards or mirrors. Not only that, delve deeper into your goal than you ever have. WHY do you want to lose 10 pounds? Is it about the weight, or is it about your confidence, or how you feel in a bathing suit, or your ability to keep up with your children on the playground? What will achieving that goal change? How will you feel when you do it? What does it mean to you? When you connect with the emotional value of your goals, it’s easier to stick by them.
- Share your goals with your family and friends. Explain what you’re working towards and what it means to you. So if they offer you dessert, and you politely decline, you can explain your rationale and how making that choice isn’t in alignment with what you REALLY care about. If they keep pestering you, they are actually just jealous that they are not strong enough or brave enough to help themselves in the same fashion. Remember that, be strong, and respect yourself enough to stick to your plan.
- Change the subject when you’re being pressured! Ask about their kids, their next vacation, whatever!
- PLAN! Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. More on this below!
Here are some things YOU can do to prepare ahead of time when you know you have a holiday party to go to:
- Try to get a workout in earlier in the day, or that morning.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Eat lots of vegetables and lean proteins earlier in the day so you aren’t starving when you get there, and effectively “reallocate” some of your carbs and fats to later in the day.
- Offer to host (so you can cook!) or bring a dish (or a few!) so that you have healthy food options.
- Choose your parties/events wisely. Don’t overextend yourself by trying to do it all if it’s too much to manage given your other life commitments.
- Choose when/if you will indulge AHEAD OF TIME. If you are going to drink, limit yourself to no more than 2 drinks, and make them vodka/tequila with soda and lime…. No high-calorie sugary drinks! Choose when you will have a bite of dessert, and what the portion will look like.
- When you eat, fill your plate with half veggies, a quarter protein, and a quarter starch. Chew your food and eat slowly and mindfully so you can tell when you’re full. Forego seconds.
- Weather-permitting, go on a walk after dinner for some fresh air and to get your blood flowing.
The holidays are a time for cheer, not for stress. But at the same time, you don’t want to hit the new year FURTHER away from your goals than you were before Thanksgiving hit. Plan ahead and stick to your guns!