As if all the leftover Halloween candy wasn’t enough temptation, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week and officially kicking off the holiday eating season. This year may look a little different – we’re probably not hosting big dinners or parties, but we’re still planning to celebrate with food, drinks, and a few loved ones. Small gatherings still offer big temptations; the average American might gain up to 10 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s.
But the holiday season doesn’t have to derail all the hard work you’ve put in this year. Here are seven tips that will help you stay on track with your goals, whether that’s weight loss, maintenance, or just being fit and healthy.
1. Strike a Balance
Forgoing pumpkin pie or [insert delicious holiday treat here] does not have to be part of your plan. Staying on track this holiday season means letting yourself indulge a little – the key here is “a little.” Go into celebrations with an 80/20 mentality: put healthy foods like white meat turkey and vegetables on 80 percent of your plate, then enjoy your dessert or dollop of mashed potatoes happily.
2. Keep Moving
The gym may be closed, and turkey comas are real. After your nap or the next day, do some movement. That could be a walk after dinner with your family or seven minutes of burpees when you wake up. Here’s a quick bodyweight burner you could do in a guest room:
Three rounds of 10 each:
- Air squats
Have more time or space? Add in 50 double-unders (100 singles) or a 400 meter run in between rounds.
3. Stay Hydrated
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Holiday food may be saltier than what you usually eat, so that you might be thirstier than usual. Staying hydrated will also help you feel full, so you don’t eat as much, and it will also balance out any alcohol you’ll have. Shoot for half your body weight in ounces.
4. Plan Ahead
If you already know what the menu is for your holiday celebration, start planning what you’ll eat and what your “treat” will be. The same goes for workouts: plan to do them, and plan when you’ll do them. When you have something set in your mind – or better yet, written down – you’re more likely to follow it. The same goes for eating the rest of the day: plan your meals, including what you’ll eat and when you’ll eat them. This might mean having a lighter breakfast if you’re preparing for a big lunchtime feast, for example.
5. Prep a Healthy Dish
No, you don’t have to be that person bringing the raw veggies. But you can prepare a healthier version of a traditional side dish. Consider a colorful roasted vegetable tray, stuffed butternut squash, or a lighter version of green bean casserole.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep helps regulate hunger hormones. If you’re skimping on shuteye, you’ll experience a decrease in leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, and an increase in ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry, leading to a lot of mindless snacking. Plus, enough sleep helps boost your immune system, which is a great way to fight off cold and flu viruses.
7. Find an Accountability Buddy
Getting through the holidays can be challenging. If you know you’ll struggle with eating healthy or getting enough movement, hook up with an accountability buddy. Plan to meet up for a walk (taking appropriate precautions, of course). If you need some serious accountability, consider joining a gym with a nutrition program to help keep you on track. Sign up for your free intro today!