Thursday, November 21, 2013

Healthy for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is next week, followed by over a month filled with celebrations and indulgences. For many, fitness takes a vacation during this time and then a snap back to reality comes January 1. But with a little strategic planning, holidays and treats can be enjoyed without feelings of guilt and regret. Here are some tips to help you through the season without stressing over having to start your fitness program all over in the new year.

- Schedule workouts and treat them with the same importance as any other appointment. Even if you have commitments that reduce the number of workouts you can get in a particular week,  scheduling and sticking to those you can fit in will help keep stress at bay and keep your energy high.

- Focus and push yourself during the time you have for exercise. The holidays can be chaotic and stressful. Pushing yourself during workouts will help clear your head while you focus all your energy into the task at hand. And, you'll burn tons of calories!

- Offer to contribute food items for parties and special holiday meals and bring something you feel good about eating. There will always be plenty of indulgent dishes available at celebrations. Adding something nutritious to the spread will show others your commitment to staying healthy and your family and friends will probably be happy to try something new.

- Consider revamping some of your traditional holiday dishes. There are so many ways to prepare traditional holiday fare and highlight your favorite ingredients. Try following healthy food blogs and Facebook pages for inspiration.

- Partner up with a friend or accountability group to keep you on track to meet your goals. Having someone to report your progress (or slips) to can work wonders toward helping you get past the urge to overindulge or skip a workout.

- Choose indulgences wisely. Avoid going to a party and filling up on cheese and crackers and then continuing on to all the special holiday food. Decide which items you're most looking forward to (those that are special for holidays, items you don't make for yourself) and enjoy a reasonable portion.

- Focus on people rather than food at holiday gatherings. Yes, there are food items you may have been looking forward to all year. Go ahead and have some. BUT, holidays are (should be!) about giving your time and companionship to the people you love, not just devouring a giant feast.

- Invite others to exercise with you. Physical activity accumulates and several small bouts can add up to a full workout. If you can visit with a friend while going for a walk or some other activity you both enjoy, you kill two birds with one stone.

These are just a handful of ideas to get you on track for celebrating the holidays while keeping your fitness in check. Plan ahead and you'll be ahead of the weight loss/fitness/health resolution pack
for 2014!

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