I get it – December can be a wash from a fitness and nutrition perspective, but only if you let it. It’s really, really easy to justify behaviors in December that you wouldn’t any other month of the year.
Five cookies instead of two? It’s December, no biggie.
Didn’t exercise this week? It’s December, no biggie.
It’s easy to say, “Screw it. I’ll pick back up in January.”
The average person gains 1-2 lbs. over the holidays. The good news? It’s really, really easy to avoid holiday weight gain.
Here are my top five tried-and-true holiday guidelines to help you stay focused, enjoy the holidays and start 2018 strong:
MAKE THE “NON-HOLIDAY” DAYS COUNT.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve are each one day. One! And yet, so many people let two or three weeks go by without exercise or structured diet. Look at all of the days leading up to and following the holidays. Surely you have a free 30 minutes to exercise on “non-holiday” days and surely, you have the opportunity to stick to a clean diet most of the time.
Do something for me. Dig way back in your memory to when you started your health journey. Remember how hard it was to get going? How much time it took to schedule your workouts, how painful it was to get up an hour early, how difficult it was to eat clean on a regular basis? Don’t go through that again! Schedule out those “non-holiday” days with at least 30 minutes of exercise. Don’t have a gym? No problem! Take a long walk with your family, or do a quick HIIT workout in your bedroom before the rest of the house wakes up. The key to making these “non-holiday” days count is scheduling. Write it down. Stick to it!
Exercise is more fun with company. You don’t have to sacrifice precious family time slaving away for hours at the gym over the holidays. While you’re planning your “non-holiday” day workouts, get your siblings, parents, friends or partner involved. Having an accountability buddy will help you both stay on track and makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable.
INDULGE WITHIN REASON.
A big part of holiday tradition is food, and most of it is far from “clean.” And you know what? That’s OK! Enjoy your Grandma’s Christmas cookies. Don’t be that person who stands in the corner eating celery. BUT. Focus on portion control. Remember that this won’t be the last time you ever get to eat holiday foods in your life. If you’re like me and can easily eat 15 cookies in a day, set a limit, like two per day. This will force you to slow down and really savor what you’re consuming.
DON’T EAT TWO UNHEALTHY MEALS IN A ROW.
This is a super straightforward and easy-to-follow nutrition tip that will help you stay on track and also feel fulfilled during the holidays (#score!). If you know you’re going all out for Christmas dinner, make sure the lunch before and breakfast the next day are healthy and balanced. Enjoy and indulge in those special holiday meals, but then, get back to it.
CREATE A REWARD/CONSEQUENCE SYSTEM.
Once you have your holiday plan in place, write it down: your “non-holiday” day workouts (and partners) and your indulgence guidelines. Next, sprinkle a little extra motivation on top: a reward/consequence system.
For example, if you complete your plan as scheduled, treat yourself to a massage or a new pair of trainers. If you fail to stick to your routine, you have to donate $100 to a cause you don’t support. Have some fun with it!
BOTTOM LINE: A BIG PART OF FEELING HAPPY IS FEELING HEALTHY.
Do what you can to fuel yourself properly, get enough rest, and move a little bit each day. Doing these good things for yourself will improve your mood and ensure you have the best holiday season yet.
From my home to yours – happy holidays!