How to Stay Fit During the Holidays

How to Stay Fit During the Holidays

During December, sticking to your diet and exercise goals may seem like a lost cause. Between holiday snacks and desserts, high-calorie drinks (eggnog anybody?) and big family meals, sweet and savory temptations seem to be lurking around every corner.  Plus, harsh winter weather, shorter days, and late night get-togethers may make you feel sluggish and put a damper on your workout routine.
With all that’s going on this time of year, even the healthiest eaters and most dedicated gym-goers can have trouble staying motivated. Here are some tips that can help you keep your health and fitness momentum going throughout the holiday season.

Get a fitness buddy
When you exercise solo, it can be a little too easy to come up with excuses for missing workouts. Having a fitness buddy can hold you accountable and keep you motivated.

Plan your caloric intake
Going to a holiday celebration? You don’t have to completely reject that sugar cookie or cannoli…just make some adjustments throughout the day so that you maintain a healthy nutritional balance.  If you know you will be indulging in the evening, try lowering your morning and afternoon caloric intake.  One thing you should never do is starve yourself in anticipation of the event. That is a surefire way to set yourself up for binging later on.

Adjust your workout schedule
Just as you may need to modify your daytime food intake during the holidays, you may also need to switch up your training schedule. For example, instead of skipping your evening workout because you have a holiday party, head to the gym in the early morning.
If you have a limited amount of time, fitness experts suggest high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT workouts are designed to burn fat and calories and build muscle in a minimal amount of time. Read this Daily Burn article to learn more about the benefits of HIIT.

No equipment? No excuses!
You can still fit in a great workout, even if you are traveling and without access to a gym. Do exercises that rely on your body weight such as burpees, squats, pushups, jump squats and lunges.

Reduce stress and emotional eating
The holidays can be stressful, and many people overeat as a way to alleviate anxiety, anger, sadness and other negative feelings. Emotional eating can provide a temporary sense of euphoria but after a while, the person may be left with feelings of guilt and remorse. Continual emotional eating can lead to weight gain, weight-related health problems and depression.
If you are prone to emotional eating, reducing your stress can help you control your food intake and keep you focused on your health goals. A few tips for relieving stress and emotional overeating include:

  • Exercise – Keep an exercise routine, even if it has to be altered somewhat to accommodate your holiday activities.
  • Meditate – Clear your mind by meditating 15-30 minutes a day. Here are some tips for beginners.
  • Stock your fridge with healthy items – If you know you are an emotional eater, try to keep your kitchen filled with fruit and vegetables and low-calorie snacks like unbuttered popcorn. Binging on a bunch of grapes is a lot different than digging into a gallon of ice cream.

Get enough zzzs
Holiday parties often involve alcohol consumption and can also last into the wee hours of the night, disrupting your regular sleep schedule. Both of these things can negatively affect the quality of your sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, poor quality sleep and sleep deprivation can increase your appetite and trigger overeating. Cravings for sugar, high-carbs and junk food are common. Lack of sleep can also adversely affect your energy level and your mental health. Be mindful of how well you are sleeping. If you are not sleeping well, take some steps to getting a better night’s rest. Here are some tips from

If you know December will be filled with an overload of obligations, be proactive and plan ahead for how you will manage your diet and workouts around your busier-than-normal schedule. And if you have a setback – that’s okay! Everybody does at one time or another. Put it in the past and focus on the future.
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care or fitness regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.  

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