Christmas time is notorious for fattening habits. We eat too much of the wrong stuff and stop moving. Exercise plans disintegrate as the weather gets cold, and salads are replaced by comfort food. You don’t have to give up all the Christmas parties and tasty treats to stay fit, but it will take some work and sacrifice. Use these ten ideas to stay fit this Christmas while still enjoying the holiday season.
1. Eat ahead of time
If you feel full, you will be less likely to overindulge. Christmas parties are full of calorie-heavy, sugar-filled foods and drinks. If you fill up on vegetables and healthy proteins before you head out to dinner or to a party, you will be less likely to eat too much junk food. Don’t stuff yourself before you leave. You still want to have some of the good stuff and enjoy yourself. Just don’t get there hungry.
2. Don’t skip meals
You might think skipping meals in between parties will keep the pounds off, but it will only lower your metabolism making it harder to burn off the junk food. Eat at least three meals a day. Five or six small meals are even better. Eat healthy snacks in between meals such as fruit, vegetables and hummus and nuts. The main rule you should remember when you are trying to get fit is never skip your breakfast. Skipping breakfast may trigger bad eating habits and it’s really harmful to your health.
3. Exercise daily
Don’t let the cold or the busyness trick you into staying still. You have to move every day. Set up a schedule of exercise, and write it on your calendar. Cross off every day you complete, and try not to miss a day. Even if you just go for a walk, you will make a lot of progress. Walking is a great exercise that works your whole body and doesn’t take a lot of time. If you don’t feel like exercising outdoors, try to do a few indoor exercises each day, or at least do your morning exercises with your kids.
4. Don’t drink too much
Numerous studies show that drinking alcohol can cause weight gain. Whether it’s true or not, you should avoid drinking too much alcohol. It’s very easy to drink a lot over the holidays, but drinks are packed with calories. A glass of red wine everyday isn’t bad, but when you have a few drinks at every gathering, the weight will start to creep on. Stick with just one drink or none at all. You can make and bring your own calorie-free drinks, or opt for a glass of water.
5. Set goals
“I want to stay fit” is not a good goal. It’s a good idea, but you need something specific and concrete to stay on track over Christmas. Set goals such as “Lose 5 pounds”, “Walk every day”, “Take a new exercise class” or “Eat three vegetables daily”. These are more specific, and you will know if you’ve attained them.
6. Don’t punish yourself
If you slip up, don’t punish yourself by running ten miles or fasting for a day. Encourage yourself every day. When you do something good, celebrate. When you eat too much at a party, tell yourself you can do better next time. Punishment will only result in discouragement and not progress.
7. Drink lots of water
Remember I mentioned about alcohol? Put down the alcohol and drink eight glasses of water daily. Water will keep you hydrated, and it will flush out all the bad stuff you’ve been putting in your body. If there’s only one healthy thing you do this Christmas, drink water!
8. Be careful at parties
Christmas parties and family dinners are the easiest places to overindulge. There are so many tasty meals, especially those that your mom makes. However, don’t forget about your weight loss goal. Commit to only eating one small plate of food and one piece of dessert. Don’t let people pressure you into eating food you don’t want and don’t need. Let everyone know about your goals well in advance.
9. Enjoy winter activities
Winter is a wonderful season. Many people complain about cold weather and lack of sun without noticing winter’s beauty. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you need to sit on the couch all the time. Go outside and enjoy winter weather and activities such as sledding, skiing, snowboarding or ice skating.
10. Eat your vegetables
Christmas is full of heavy meats and side dishes, but don’t forget your vegetables. Make them taste better with seasonings, but try to include a salad with lots of variety at every meal. Vegetables will make you feel fuller so that you don’t eat too much of the bad stuff.
As they say, Christmas time is the most wonderful time of the year. Don’t let that fool you into losing your figure. Stay fit and healthy all year long. Also, don’t starve yourself. Eat whatever you want, but make sure you do it in moderation. What are your secrets of staying fit during the holiday season?