From now until New Year’s day, your calendar will likely be filled with parties, family gatherings and festive outings. And most, if not all, of these social agendas, will tempt you with yummy goodness-filled treats. It’s no wonder that we look forward to the holidays with equal amounts of excitement and dread. Excitement because there’s so much to look forward to and dread because we’re scared of indulging in our guilty pleasure foods while also hoping to fit into our clothes come new year.
But worry not! We got in touch with industry health professionals and some of our best personal trainers to find out how one can stay in shape this holiday season.
- Keep Moving
As easy as this may sound, holidays tend to make us lazy and sedentary. The dipping temperatures, cozy blankets and multiple cups of hot chocolate lower our ability to perform daily tasks. Having said that, it’s not difficult to stay active. Simple tasks such as taking a 5-minute walk every hour or hitting the gym for 30 minutes before work can uplift your mood and help you enjoy the rest of the day.
If you find it difficult to take time out for a workout, look for other options to stay active. Simple tricks such as parking your car further away, getting up to communicate with a coworker instead of sending an email or taking the stairs instead of the elevator are simple yet effective solutions to an otherwise inactive lifestyle.
- Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is a key factor in a healthy lifestyle. It helps cleanse the body, maintain temperature and lubricates joints.
Many people mistake thirst as hunger so, rather have a glass of water before you indulge in something sweet or salty. Water is the best way to stay hydrated and you should aim to consume 8 glasses of water per day. If you do not like the taste of water, you can get flavoured water or add lemon or lime flavouring to your water.
Stay away from coffee and energy drinks as these contain high levels of caffeine or sugar. You can consume 3-4 cups of coffee per day and suffer none to very little side effects but anything more than 4 cups will result in over stimulus resulting in a loss of sleep and leaving you tired and restless.
- Get Enough Sleep
If you think staying up all night partying while eating healthy and staying active will have no side effects on your health, you’re mistaken. Sleep is crucial to allow the body to recover leading to higher productivity and concentration. Allowing your body to get enough rest increases your ability and willingness to be more active thus burning more calories.
Between the ages of 18 – 60, you should be aiming to get at least 7 hours of sleep per day.
- Navigate Food Options
It’s easy to get swept up in the plethora of available food options during the holidays. Whether it’s sugary treats or cream-filled hot chocolates, trying to stay healthy might seem impossible. But it isn’t. All you need to do is make some mindful changes.
For example, if you’re working at a buffet table, choose extra veggies over extra meat, avoid the cheese toppings over your salads, opt for soups and appetizers instead of a 3 course meal or try the local cuisine. Another healthy option is to stock up on dry fruits and nuts. As with everything in life, balance is the key.
- Prepare For Parties In Advance
While the holiday season is a wonderful way to leave your stress behind and party the night away, if you’re trying to stay healthy, there are a couple of things you can try. One major way health professionals and our personal trainers stay true to their fitness goals is by cooking their own food. So offer to bring your own healthy dish to a potluck or call your friends over and cook together. Chances are if you’re making the meal yourself, you’ll be mindful and aware of what goes into it.
Another great tip from gym instructors is to keep track of things you should absolutely stay away from. This could be fried snacks or sugary sweets. If you know what you’re absolutely supposed to stay away from, you’ll be able to figure out other things on the menu you can indulge in. If you need an even better option, just head to the best gym in your neighborhood and sweat it out.
- Don’t Deprive Yourself
Holidays are meant to be joyful and stress-free. So while you might feel like you have to stay on your fitness track, bear in mind that it’s okay to indulge once in a while. The key here though is to track your portions. You don’t need to deprive yourself of tempting treats. If you’re really craving something, go ahead and indulge. Just ensure you’re not doing it only because it’s in front of you or because it’s the season to.
A small piece of cake, a cup of hot chocolate or a small cookie won’t affect your waistline as much as completely forgoing exercise and overeating would.
- Use Your Time Wisely
While this time of the year keeps everyone busy from office parties to social outings, one uses your weekends wisely. Get in a quick high intensity workout or prepare a healthy meal in advance. If you can, ensure you hit your local gym and have a personal trainer help you get in a productive workout within the time frame available. Personal trainers are well equipped to know combination workouts that provide quick and long-lasting results.
And some of the best gyms have a wide range of equipment options you can choose from to get in a quick grueling workout. Additionally, if you find it hard to cook meals thrice a day, ensure you prepare them in advance or at least carry some healthy snacks with you on the go. This way you’ll ensure you’re not starving and are getting your minimum calorie intake throughout the day.
- Keep Your Mornings Free
Mornings are easily the most underrated part of the day and you can get so much done if you plan it right. Before you head to the office or as soon as you wake up, squeeze in a couple of calorie-burning exercises. If that doesn’t seem like something you could do, try a 15 minute stretch or meditation flow. Even a few jumping jacks and squats could really help get the blood flowing and uplift your mood.
Plan the night before for breakfast options the next day so you don’t waste time in the morning worrying about what to eat. There are plenty of easy breakfast ideas available online. Try one each day so it doesn’t get repetitive. Avoid leaving the house with just a cup of coffee and some toast. A couple of eggs or a green smoothie are much better alternatives to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of vitamins and will help sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
- Partner Up With Someone This Holiday
Whether it’s your spouse, a relative or a friend, partner up with a like minded individual who will help you stay on track and share the same ideas. Chances are if one of you is feeling lazy to workout or whip up a healthy meal, the other one can take over and motivate you to do better. It also makes hitting your local gym that much more fun. You will both ensure the other person’s staying committed to their health and reaching your holiday goals will be so much easier.
So there you go. Simple yet effective solutions to ensure you have a good holiday season without sacrificing your health or diet. Remember to not stress over indulging once in a while and to rather try cultivating a healthy lifestyle over time.