The daunting challenge of navigating temptations this upcoming holiday season inevitably leaves some people packing on the ‘festive 15’. The eggnog is generously flowing, while freshly baked fruitcakes and sugar cookies smell the house with familiar scents of butter, sugar, and vanilla. You sit there, reminiscing about how great you felt before the holiday season began. Before your local gym had closed its doors for the holiday season. Before your family left a plate of sweets and chocolate a little too close to your seat at the dinner table. Before you spent countless hours watching back to back football games on the tele with a plate of gravy mush in your lap. And before your friends relentlessly pressured you to hit the town night after night. It’s all too easy for your will power and fitness goals to go straight out the door.
Because excess weight gain doesn’t disappear with the holiday decorations, here are 8 tips to help you navigate the holiday minefield of temptations.
1. Drink plenty of water
Stay hydrated all day long. Sometimes our brains confuse hunger with thirst. The greater your water intake, the fuller you’ll feel, and the less tempted you’ll be to sneak that last cookie in the conference room.
2. Exercise in the morning
Get your workout in first thing in the morning. The holidays are full of busy plans and distractions, so working out in the mornings and sticking to a schedule will help ensure you don’t miss a workout.
3. It’s all about the mindset
Forget the harmful ‘all or nothing’ mindset. If you’ve fallen off track, don’t let that turn into days and weeks. It’s possible to indulge while enjoying the holiday and remain on track towards your goals.
4. Set realistic goals
Challenge yourself. Set a realistic daily fitness goal to accomplish everyday between Christmas and New Year’s, such as running at least one kilometer per day or trying a new strength training exercise. Another sure-fire way to ensure you stay fit is to sign up for a fitness challenge in January or February, such as a half marathon, triathlon or other fitness related competitions.
5. You can’t have it all
Be picky! Instead of having drinks and dessert, make the decision between drinks OR dessert. Save your calories for what you truly desire and have it in moderation by staying within your daily caloric intake. This way, you’ll stave off cravings.
6. Increase the intensity
Increase the intensity of your training. This is the perfect time of year to begin introducing high intensity interval training to combat the inevitable diet changes. HIIT will keep your body burning an increase in calories for up to 24 hours.
7. Get a new gym gear
Put workout clothing and fitness equipment on your Christmas list, or treat yourself to those new runners you’ve been longing for, to boost your motivation during the holiday season.
8. Get rid of temptations
Live by the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Whether you’re left with an abundance of holiday chocolates or cheesy casseroles, spread the wealth of extra food to your friends and neighbours, or donate to your local shelter. Limiting the temptations in your house will help fend off that extra weight.
Make fitness a part of your holiday season by integrating these tips into your busy calendars to stay fit (or even lose weight). Fitness is not a seasonal hobby – fitness is a lifestyle.