The holidays are a magical time, filled with family and friends, parties, and holiday sweaters. But if you’re focused on your fitness, Thanksgiving can also be a stressful time: You’re constantly surrounded by lots of foods rich in fats and high in calories, so how can you survive the holiday season without backsliding in your fitness goals?
Avoiding a month-long eating fest is actually a lot simpler than it seems. With careful planning, you can avoid the challenges caused by holiday feasting.
1. Keep Moving
It’s easy to sit for hours enjoying a football game, or to stay sedentary after a long car trip to visit your favorite aunt in Pasadena, but one of the best ways to stay in shape during the holiday season is to keep moving.
If you know you’ve got a long travel day ahead of you, plan a workout first thing in the morning before you hit the road. Likewise, once you arrive, get the whole family moving. Start up a family football game, run a Thanksgiving Day 5k race, go skating at the local ice rink, or go for a Thanksgiving Day hike. Whatever it is, make your family traditions active ones.
2. Schedule Your Workouts
From Thanksgiving to Christmas, your to-do list is a mile long, and there are never enough hours in the day for shopping, holiday parties and tree-trimming. One thing that you should always make time for, though? Your workouts. Schedule those first to ensure you are taking care of yourself.
A great way to ensure you stick to your workout schedule? Plan your workouts for first thing in the morning. Not only will this keep you from creating excuses to skip your workout as your day gets busier and busier, but there are countless reasons why morning workouts are more beneficial to your health. Jumpstart your metabolism, get your energy up, and improve your mood, all before your first cup of coffee.
3. Always Eat Breakfast
If you sit down at the table for Thanksgiving Dinner feeling ravenous, chances are you’re going to overeat— which means you’ll definitely overdo it with your caloric intake. Instead of starving yourself all day before the big meal, be sure to eat a healthy and well-balanced breakfast so you’re able to pace yourself when the time comes to pass the turkey.
There are a lot of question about whether or not eating breakfast can help your metabolism, but one thing we know for sure, eating breakfast can help prevent overeating at the Thanksgiving table, and that’s good enough reason for us.
4. Set a Specific Fitness Goal
This year, there are 34 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Use that time to crush a new fitness goal, whether that’s working to beat a personal 5K record, working out a consecutive number of days in a row, or mastering a new yoga pose. If you have a goal you’re working toward, you’ll be more likely to stick with it!
Maybe your fitness challenge can even end with a reward, like a new workout outfit or a massage to ease your sore muscles. You can even work with your personal trainer to come up with a personalized fitness goal for yourself, creating a stronger, more determined version of yourself for the new year.
5. Don’t Graze
During the holiday season, you may be going from party to party, where each spread is more delicious than the last. If you nibble constantly throughout the party, you’ll have no idea of your portion sizes or food intake. Suddenly, that seemingly innocent snacking can lead to major weight gain.
Instead, make yourself a plate (and limit your portion sizes), enjoy a few holiday treats, and then stop. Don’t eat mindlessly, and be aware of everything you’re eating. You can enjoy a treat or two and avoid the extra holiday pounds if you don’t eat non-stop all month.
6. Make Sensible Choices
There are plenty of healthy eating strategies, and many of them involve planning ahead, but when you actual sit down to eat a holiday meal, you can work to avoid weight gain by being selective about what you put on your plate.
Enjoy the taste of a real, fresh cranberry sauce over the canned, gelatinous cranberry sauce for less sugar and more whole foods. Skip the second roll and go easy on the butter. Stick to lean cuts of meat, and eat more fresh veggies and less carbs. Here are a few more easy selections to make, so you can opt for the healthier choice.
7. Let Yourself Indulge (A Little)
We definitely don’t want you to miss out on the tastes of the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you need to enjoy them all season long. It’s okay to nibble on a piece of your grandma’s delicious chocolate fudge, so long as you don’t demolish the whole pan.
If you don’t allow yourself to indulge in a sweet treat once in awhile, not only will you feel like you’re missing out, but if you’re prone to overindulging, avoiding of some of your favorite holiday foods may take you from “No-Fudge-Ever” to “How-Did-I-Eat-That-Whole-Pan?” before you even realize what’s happening.
Compromise, and remember to control your portion sizes. A few small bites of pie or a slight drizzle of gravy isn’t going to derail your fitness plan.
The best way to keep fit during the holidays is to plan. Let us help you plan for this holiday season, so you can enter the new year as your healthiest self. Connect with us, and get ready for your best holiday season yet.