Tis the season for the hustle and bustle of the holidays! Year end, along with Christmas and New Year’s tend to be the busiest time of the year for many of us. We often get so caught up in what we need to do, we forget about taking care of ourselves. As we head into the holiday season and the dead of winter, most of us experience less sunshine and movement, more time indoors, more sugar, more alcohol… and more stress.
If you don’t want to feel frazzled and fluffy around the waist during the holidays and winter months, it’s important to stay fueled, move your body, prioritize sleep and focus on managing stress!
Here are some of my favorite tips to help you stay healthy, happy, and energetic during the “most wonderful time of the year!”
You’ve heard before, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Having a protein rich breakfast or snack will help jumpstart your metabolism. Many people think skipping breakfast or other meals leading up to a big holiday meal or party is a good idea. But, this will leave you starving and more likely to over-indulge once the appetizers come out and the meal is served.
Pro Tip: Have a protein rich snack or smoothie before heading to holiday parties. This will prevent you from over-indulging in snacks, treats and alcohol!
The holiday season tends to get more busy as the day goes on, making it easier to find excuses to skip exercise. Start your day off with a workout, you’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll be burning calories all day!
Pro Tip: Sit down and add your workouts to your calendar each week. Especially if you’re in a season of training. Want more “bang for your buck?” Focus on interval type training such as hill repeats, sprint training, HIIT training and heaving lifting to your workout routine. These workouts are shorter in duration, will keep your metabolism running strong and help you burn more calories even at rest!
With all the shopping, decorating, and parties to attend, it’s important to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Plus, in the winter months we often don’t feel as thirsty. Dehydration causes us to feel sluggish and gives a false sense of hunger. Aim for ½ of your weight in ounces of water (or more) each day!
Pro Tip: Drink a glass of water before holiday meals to help you feel satiated faster, which can help to prevent over-indulging in food or alcohol.
Make healthy food choices but don’t deprive yourself
Fill most of your plate with veggies, and lean protein before digging into the heavy casseroles and deserts. Use fresh cut veggies for dips instead of chips or crackers and try to limit dishes that are full of heavy creams and sauces.
Pro Tip: Apply the concept I teach my clients of “Naming Your Plate.” Make sure your plate includes all macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat which will ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need to stay healthy and balanced!
Stay on your feet
After a big meal, we often want to flop on the couch and relax. Staying active after eating helps promote digestion. Research shows even a short walk after a meal can aid in digestion and help minimize the glucose spike.
Pro Tip: Go for a walk with the family after meals or if it’s too cold or snowy outside, do some chores around the house to keep you moving for 10-20 minutes after eating.
Curb your drinking
Holiday gatherings often mean a few drinks and it’s easy to forget the calories in alcoholic drinks can really add up. For example, there are about 120 calories in each glass of wine. Plus, alcohol slows the process of fat burning. Alternate glasses of water between your alcoholic beverages, and not only will you cut the calories, but you’ll also feel much better the next morning.
Pro Tip: Consider holiday “mocktails” in place of cocktails.
Care for yourself
Don’t forget about you! Tis’ the season for giving but if you are overworked, stressed, and running around you’re less likely to enjoy the holidays. Keep a positive attitude, try sticking to your normal exercise routine when possible, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This will keep energy levels up, your mind clear, and help you be more productive.
Pro Tip: Schedule time on your calendar daily for self care such as exercise, quiet time/meditation, reading a book, taking a bath, etc. Even 10 – 15 minutes daily will make a huge impact on your mood and well-being!