The holidays are a time to celebrate. It’s almost an unspoken rule that when the holidays arrive, you are allowed to eat unlimited amounts of food and stop your exercise routine, and consequently spend the new year regretting the extra pounds.
However, celebrating doesn’t have to mean over-indulgence — you can enjoy the festivities while choosing to stay healthy.
It’s tempting to ditch your workouts as your days fill up with holiday preparations, parties and errands, but you still need to stay active.
Exercise will help you deal with added stress and give you energy for everything you need to accomplish. It will also help you manage your weight through the maze of parties and gatherings you’ll be attending.
If you have trouble sticking with your usual routine this time of year, come up with a new one. Simple holiday exercising tips can include:
• Shorten your cardio — Pare down your cardio routine to whatever time you have, even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes. Choose activities that are easy to do at a moment’s notice: walking, running, jump roping or cycling. Get the most out of the time you have by working at a high intensity.
• Exercise wherever you can — You may already know that taking the stairs and parking further away helps to burn more calories. This holiday season, wear a pedometer as you’re running around, and see how many steps you can accumulate. Use every opportunity to keep moving, whether it’s parking on the opposite side of where you need to be or chopping down your own Christmas tree.
• Make it a family affair — As you gather with your family, plan active things to do together. Walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations. Plan contests with the kids to see who can run the farthest or who can do the most push-ups.
With all the delicious foods available, eating too much may seem inevitable during the holidays. Treating every party as an invitation to indulge, however, is a sure way to add pounds. Below are a few reminders for keeping the calories in check:
• Eat before you go — Rules to live by: never go grocery shopping while hungry, and never attend a holiday party on an empty stomach. You’ll be less tempted to overindulge if you’re full of something healthy.
• Choose one treat — Once at the party, choose one thing to eat and don’t sample too many dishes. Also pick something you only eat during the holidays.
• Control Your Drinking — Alcohol is an easy way to consume more calories than you need, so avoid mixed or fruity drinks and have a glass of water for every drink you consume. Also, definitely avoid the egg nog - it has up to 350 calories per cup.
• Don’t Skip Meals — It’s tempting to skip meals to make room for food you’ll eat later, but just like the empty-stomach rule, if you’re starving you may not make the wisest food choices. Eat small meals all day to avoid large portions at the buffet table.
However you deal with the holidays, make this the year that you don’t gain extra weight. Make a decision to do everything you can to stay active and eat healthy while not depriving yourself of all the fun.
Remember it is all about moderation. Happy Holidays!