I'm writing this post early because you asked for it! And because staying fit during the Christmas season only works if you have your course of action planned in advance.I've noticed that one of the biggest concerns people have with health and fitness is not the guidelines themselves, but how to maintain those guidelines you've set for yourself during holidays and/or celebrations. Do you hold fast to the diet and eat nothing you've not double-checked the ingredients of? Do you eat whatever you fancy anytime you're out, and just hope the good days outweigh the binge ones?
I get it. I've cut out sugar but for once/twice monthly splurges, and recently, majorly reduced my dairy intake as well, because I noticed it was breaking out my skin. Maintaining that large of a restriction during Christmas while still feeling like it's actually Christmas? That's going to be hard.
This is my first year doing sugar-free during the holidays, and I'm not going to lie: I was a bit apprehensive about going off sugar for this reason exactly. That being said, I've been doing this whole health regime since mid-January now, and I'm not going to throw it all out for two months. (Not after how hard I've worked!) There's also no reason to not live a little and enjoy the holiday season.
Here are some tips to help you out -- and best of luck!
|img via tumblr / graphics my own|
1. Planning is everything.
I know going into a given month what my monthly splurge (or two) is going to be. If I don't, I'm liable to splurge early in the month, and then if (and when) something better comes along later in the month, I'll be disappointed that I already splurged-- or more realistically, I'll just have both. If I plan in advanced what I know I want to splurge on (Thanksgiving dinner in November, for example, or Christmas dinner in December because duh!), I'm a lot less likely to waste my treat on something trivial earlier on, because I'm thinking "I'd rather have pumpkin pie."
2. Have grace (with yourself and with others).
I've said it before and I'll say it again: food is community. And eating the sugared ham with your family on Christmas Eve, even though you know you're going to have Christmas pudding on Christmas Day, is totally the right call. I don't think we should ever feel that we need to put a "diet" over pleasing our families, and though on a normal Thursday night it would be permissible to pass up on it, it's Christmas for goodness sakes don't make grandma feel like she's not a good cook. Moderation is everything.
3. Work out flexibly.
When my schedule is getting increasingly crammed, it's my tendency to want to throw the workout off the agenda first -- and then I get grumpy from sitting and/or standing all day long. Even if it's a shorter workout, or you're just running and walking at intervals on the treadmill for 35 minutes, if you get that extra movement in a couple times a week it makes a world of difference in your attitude, motivation and productivity. So how do you make it work during the holidays? My favorite trick is to keep leggings, a sports bra, and a t-shirt in the car, and I'll try to bring sneakers with me if I'm going to be out all day. That way if I come across any cancellations/changes of plan, or I just have an hour to spare, I can go running no matter where I am. It's not always the best workout, but it's something which is better than nothing. :)
Also, if you have family over, getting some of them involved usually means trying out a new form of workout or learning something new for both parties involved! Win-win-win.
4. Just do something.
If you're not into gymming it, or running makes you want to vomit (me, last year) my second favorite form of cardio is shopping. (You think I'm joking.)
But seriously, if you're running errands and shopping all day, make the most of it! Get a fitbit or a pedometer app on your phone and try to out-walk yourself and go the extra mile: literally. The key is to keep moving.
5. Be the vegan of your fitness goals.
And by that I mean tell people about it. People who ask why you turn down some foods. People who didn't ask and honestly don't care. Who cares if they look at you funny, tell them. The one certain way to ruin your healthy holiday goals is to not tell anyone about them, and therefore have no form of accountability. If you tell your mom you're not going to eat sweets or bread excepting Christmas Day, she might not even have to say anything, because you know she's going to give you The Look if she sees you eating cake at every Christmas party anyway. Moms, this is why we love you.
6. Goals are good (but be realistic).
I'm not a big fan of weighing myself for a lot of reasons (mainly because weight fluctuates all the time, but also, I'm also not being healthy for the sake of loosing/maintaining a certain number on a scale. I work out to stay toned, energetic, able, and strong. Muscle weighs some 5x more than fat.) So for me, I don't have weight goals, because for the most part, I feel like I'm almost where I want to be. I'd rather go by how my clothes fit, how I look, how I feel, etc. But whatever my goals are during the rest of the year, during the holidays I try to focus on simply maintaining what I've worked for the rest of the year - and then when January comes I can push further and try to be better. You might be the kind of kick-butt woman who continues to loose weight (or do whatever you're doing) during Christmas, but for me, that sounds like a sad lifestyle of constant counting and calculation that just doesn't need to impede on my holiday spirit. You do you. Imma eat the pie.
How do you try to stay healthy during the holiday season?
Can you believe Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away (I can't!)?