Many of the best things about the holidays – delicious treats, fun parties, and travel to see family – can also sabotage your health and fitness goals. After all, it can be difficult to focus on healthy holiday eating when you’ve got a fridge full of leftover Thanksgiving pie. Likewise, how are you going to make it to the gym when you’ve got family obligations and a bunch of gift shopping to do?
Does this mean you should give up on staying healthy during the holidays? Absolutely not! You can still enjoy the most wonderful time of the year and stay on track with your fitness goals. Take a look at these 9 simple tips on staying healthy during the holidays.
1.Come Up with a Healthy Holiday Plan
The holidays have a way of throwing you off your normal routine, especially when the in-laws show up to crash on your couch. Don’t let all the short-term chaos keep you from staying fit or eating healthy during the holidays. Create a plan that takes all the disruptions into consideration. Jot down all your holiday events and look for how you can work around them. Maybe you won’t have time to hit the gym five days a week, but you can still go three times a week. Worried about all the holiday treats that will be flooding into your life? Plan out meals for the next few weeks, and if you want some extra credit, batch cook your meals at the beginning of each week, so you’ll have no choice but to enjoy healthy holiday eating. (Related: How to stick to a fitness routine when you can’t make it to the gym)
2.Keep Healthy Snacks with You
The holiday season is when brownies and cookies and all sorts of other treats start showing up in the break room or on the coffee tables of your friends’ houses. To help yourself resist the temptation to snack on empty calories, keep some healthy snacks close. Fruit, like an apple or banana, is a great snack. For something a little more filling, dip your snack in some yummy peanut butter. Another high-protein snack is a bag of nuts. If you’re working from home and want to focus on healthy eating around the holidays, stock up on the ingredients for a healthy mid-day smoothie. Here’s a truly excellent green smoothie recipe.
3.Get Enough Sleep
The holidays are made for spending long, cold winter nights with your closest friends and family, but don’t stay out too late. Sleep is a critical ingredient to living a healthy, happy life. Sleep can boost your immune system, help you recover more quickly from your workouts, and reduce your stress. Your body and brain both use sleep in order to repair themselves and flush out the junk of the day. Adults should work to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, according to the Sleep Foundation.
4.Perform Short Workouts
Can’t spend a lot of time at the gym during the holidays? Don’t worry, you can still perform a challenging workout that will keep you moving toward your fitness goals. By increasing the intensity of your workouts and shortening your rest periods, you can get more fitness in a shorter amount of time. Increasing intensity can mean upping the weight of resistance training movements and performing smaller sets or moving faster through cardio workouts. In particular, try a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, which can leap you a heap of sweat on the floor in 15 to 10 minutes. Try these fat-burning HIIT workouts for home.
5.Try a Group Fitness Class
Maybe your issue isn’t so much a lack of time to work out, as a lack of motivation. The days are dark, cold, and long during the winter season, which can make it extra hard to drag yourself to the gym. Give yourself a boost by taking away the responsibility to program your workout. Instead, sign up for a group fitness class. This way, all you have to do is show up, and the energy of the instructor and class will keep you going. Group fitness classes are also a great way to try different types of exercise modalities and challenge your body in new ways.
6.Come Up with Healthy Holiday Recipes
It’s so easy to blow your calorie budget during a holiday party. After all, who can say no to eggnog, gingerbread men, or your grandma’s apple pie? One of the best healthy holiday tips you can employ is to bring a healthy dish to your holiday gatherings. This will give you at least one healthy option you can fall back on instead of grabbing another cookie or brownie. Take a look at these tasty cheat meals that are actually good for you. Most of these options would be welcome at any holiday party or family dinner. Who said eating healthy during the holidays had to be difficult?
7.Invite the Whole Family to Stay Healthy with You
If you get the family up and moving during the holiday season, why not encourage them to stay healthy with you? How about a pre-Thanksgiving run or game of tag football? Instead of driving through the neighborhood to see the lights, park your car and walk. Check with your gym to see if your membership allows you to bring a gym buddy and invite Uncle Joe to lift some weights with you. If all else fails, give your family members the extra shovel and clear all that extra snow from your driveway. You’ll be sweating in no time! (Related: How to live an active lifestyle)
8.Take Care of Your Emotional Health
The holidays can be stressful, between all the extra commitments, spending time with family, and the effects of arctic weather. If you are the type of person who always looks to everyone else’s needs before your own, build in some time for yourself. Take five minutes a day to meditate. Grab a yoga session over lunch. Practice mindful eating during each meal. Sink into a bubble bath at the end of a long week. There are numerous ways to treat yourself that can help ease your stress and help you be your best self during the holidays.
9.Give Yourself Grace
The holidays are a difficult time to pursue a health or fitness goal. Consider focusing on maintaining your gains or losses while also giving yourself some slack. Allow yourself to enjoy all that the holidays bring. You won’t destroy your fitness if you grab another cup of spiked cider or spend the night caroling with your kids instead of sweating it out at the gym. A balanced life includes room for cheat days and fun celebrations. After the holidays are over, you can refocus and rededicate yourself to even bigger and better fitness goals for the new year.
Staying Healthy During the Holidays Is Possible
For all the fun and festivities of the holiday season, this time of year can also be draining. The best way to stay healthy during the holidays is to be mindful. Consider what you are eating, how much sleep you are getting, and what your stress levels are like. Make sure to keep up your fitness routine – even if you have to cut back a little or try shorter workers. It may seem impossible to figure out how to eat healthy during the holidays, but healthy holiday eating is possible. Keep healthy snacks near you and bring healthy dishes to your next holiday party.
Finally, don’t be afraid to splurge. That’s what the holidays are all about! You can find a balance between celebrating the holidays in style and living a healthy life. For more great fitness advice, keep reading the EōS Fitness blog.