Thanksgiving is upon us – TOMORROW! Can you believe it!? For many of us, this is the start of the downhill spiral of our health and fitness goals. The holiday season is a lovely, yet stressful time. We’re busy, we’re eating wayyyy more than usual, ‘CHEERSing’ with family and friends our favorite adult beverage, diving into that dessert table. This is reality for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be.
“Oh I’ll just wait until January,” “New Years Resolution I’ll get it together…” Why wait!? Why not be friends with your goals now AND enjoy the holiday season? You may just not know how to do that… I’m going to let you in on some of my simple tips and tricks to not only enjoy the holidays, but stay on track with your health and fitness goals.
Indulge in healthier options. Okay, so this doesn’t sound like the most thrilling thing, but seriously, the slightest of changes can make a big impact! If you’re responsible for making a dish, are there healthier ingredients you can use? A simple Google search will be able to tell you easy substitutions for the unhealthier options. If you’re simply attending the gathering, check out the food options and choose wisely. Maybe if there’s a chip and your favorite dip next to the veggie tray, dip your celery or cucumber instead of chips. Especially if it’s out of your control, there may not always be a downright healthy option, BUT you can always make a healthier choice. Empower yourself to do so!
Plan ahead. The food is where it really gets me, so anything I can do to combat this challenge is helpful. Planning ahead nutrition wise means 2 things: eat before you go. Don’t show up to that party absolutely hungry because if you’re anything like me, you’ll just devour the first thing you lay your eyes on and I would dare to guess it’s the unhealthiest, but most delicious thing there. When we’re that hungry, we can’t easily make the smart choices. Also, make room in your nutrition plan for that day. Imagine the types of foods you’ll eat and reserve those for the party. Creating that wiggle room will allow you to still enjoy without feeling guilty. For example, if you know you will be eating lots of carbs and meat, go for tons of veggies and fruits the rest of your day. You have the power.
Exercise first. This goes hand in hand with planning ahead. Nutrition is super important, but exercise is that other key component. When we’re busy, exercising is probably the last thing we want to do. We don’t have time. We’re tired. Fill in your excuse here, we’ve all had em. This is the time it’s most important to do move your body! It doesn’t have to take hours. Focus 30 minutes on getting your heart rate up. Maybe that’s a run, lifting weights, walk with your dog, your favorite workout DVD – it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you move! You’ll even feel less tired, less stressed, and more positive – perfect for the holiday season! Make sure you get this in first in your day. There are way too many things that can come up and this gives the excuses too much time to convince you otherwise. Bonus points – exercise gets your metabolism going and depending on what you do, you’ll keep burning calories even while at the party 😉
Drink! Specifically water. Before, during, and after. Not only will it save you those empty calories, but it’ll help decrease bloating and just make feel better in general. My personal fave is lemon water. I wash and cut a lemon in half, squeeze it in my water bottle of choice, and then continue to fill that up while the lemon infuses the water. It’s more tasty than plain water and it’s beneficial to your immune system, aids digestion, freshens your breath, is great for your skin, and reduces inflammation. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water in between alcohol drinks. Again, this will save you those empty, fun calories, and will help keep you from making a drunk fool of yourself. Win-win!
Use your imagination. Give yourself a little pep talk before you dash off to that party. Be reminded of your goals. What are they? WHY are you working towards them? Keep these in the back of your mind and use them to help guide your choices. What would an ideal situation look like at this party? Envision yourself there and acting in line with this ideal thought. Sounds a bit silly, but if you play it out in your head before you go, you’re giving yourself a real life game plan. Live it.
Give yourself grace. Don’t let any slip ups ruin you. One day isn’t going to completely wreck your progress, but giving up will. Do your best, but if things do come undone, get back at it tomorrow. The mistake most of us make is we slip up and then throw in the towel and it’s done. If you got a flat tire, would you just go ahead and slash the other 3? No, that’s ridiculous. You’d fix the flat and keep moving. The same is true for your health and fitness goals. Fix it and keep right on going! We will all make mistakes at times, but it’s really about the overall progress. I know you can do it!
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to take some time and realize all the good in your life. You are blessed! Which tip will be most helpful to you? Let me know your favorite that wasn’t listed here!