It’s that time of year again! The most anticipated and yet the most stressful time of the year: the holidays. Let’s face it, you’ve been busy. You’ve been working your usual day job, fighting to keep your fitness goals alive, and scrambling for your social calendars so you don’t have a severe case of FOMO. Don’t get me wrong, the holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with loved ones and recharge for the new year ahead, but that doesn’t mean we have to throw our self-care and lifestyle routines out the window during the holidays. last two weeks of 2022.
Here are some tips for staying fit and motivated while on vacation:
1. STAY ACTIVE
Don’t neglect your routine! Schedule your workouts for the week preferably before your social gatherings so that you have the energy to do them and feel accomplished before your event.
Exercise burns calories during AND after your workout. As a result, your metabolism will be increased for the rest of the day, and any excess calories consumed will likely be negligible if you’re trying to lose weight. Exercise also helps manage hunger by maintaining blood sugar levels, which can help tame those intense sugar cravings we typically experience when eating indulgent holiday foods.
2. EAT A PRE-PARTY MEAL
Have you ever heard of the saying “don’t go to the grocery store hungry?” Same thing with a holiday party! Eating a dense, nutritious meal before the party will keep your appetite in check and keep you from eating everything in sight.
That doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy party snacks, but be mindful of what you’re eating.
3. PRIORITIZE YOUR PLATE
Simply put: prioritize NUTRIENT-rich foods over CALORIC-rich foods.
As with your regular diet, lean cuts of protein, high-quality carbs, and vegetables will always keep you full and are better performance foods for the gym.
Sweet, high-fat, high-calorie bites and snacks add up quickly and should be eaten with caution.
My rule of thumb for customers regarding portion size: a palm and a half of protein, a fist of carbs, two fists of veggies, and one finger pointing to the thumb circle (good hand sign) a portion of fat (i.e. plank charcuterie).
For desserts, if you are a sample, take a SMALL serving of each dessert and enjoy OR 1 full serving of your favorite dessert and enjoy guilt-free J
Complete food restriction at any time of the year can be apprehensive, so it’s best to enjoy it mindfully rather than shamefully avoid it altogether.
4. DRINK ALCOHOL RESPONSIBLY
Hydrate with WATER adequately before social events and drink water between alcoholic beverages.
My rule of thumb: 1 glass of water for 1 beer/wine, 2 glasses of water for 1 glass of strong alcohol.
Water is a key player in ALL bodily functions including your gains in the gym and alcohol is quite the opposite.
Keep in mind that alcohol is the definition of empty calories, and more than indulgent foods, they add up quickly and are immediately stored as facts. Period.
5. ENJOY IT!
Remember that the holidays are all about reconnecting with loved ones and recharging for the new year.
Don’t force yourself to give in if you don’t feel like it. As un-festive as it may sound, the calories in holiday foods are the same as those you consume on a daily basis. They are just dressed differently. Enjoy what you want in healthy portions you can live with and leave what you can do without to someone else. This way, you can enjoy the holidays and festivities guilt-free and mentally and physically strong for the New Year.
See you at the gym!
Follow Emily Chang NASM CPT, CNC, CES on TikTok @fitem_wellness