Cozy winter weather and holiday feasts often lead to one thing: laziness. Amazing, relaxing, wonderful family-and-friend-filled laziness, but laziness nonetheless. It can be all too easy to fall into a pattern of over-eating and not working out. Especially when it’s 30 degrees out and that leftover pumpkin pie is calling your name. Really, you walk by, and you swear that pumpkin pie whispered, “Eat me.” It could be tryptophan induced delirium, but all we know is that the urge to gorge during the holidays is a very real thing for many of us. By all means, forget the guilt and eat, drink, and be merry, but you can balance all the former with a few adjustments during the holidays. Keep in mind, this is not about dress size and being “skinny”, this is about staying healthy! Here’s how to have it all while eating it all.
Eat What You Want (In Moderation)
Depriving yourself will only lead to more binging, so you might as well have everything you want, just cut your portions down. Instead of piling your plate to the max, serve yourself a moderate amount. You can always go back and get more and you’ll be less likely to clear your plate even if you’re full.
Cook With Healthier Ingredients
Cook your favorite recipes with healthier ingredients. Coconut oil, stevia (sugar-free sweetener), and whole grains are all healthier cooking options. Cut out pork and only serve turkey. Serve up mashed sweet potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes. Use broth-based gravy instead of fat-based gravy. Serve whole wheat rolls or skip rolls all together and serve another healthy starch like wild-grain rice. There are tons of ways to make your favorite recipes healthier.
Make Working Out Fun
During the holidays, you’re going to need a serious dose of motivation to stay active. Make sure your workouts are as fun as possible. Enroll in a new fitness class or join a group bootcamp. Whatever you do, make your workouts enjoyable. If you dread your exercise sessions, that lack of motivation will only get worse during the holidays.
Utilize Short Workouts
We know the holidays are busy for most of us, so utilizing short 10-30 minute targeted workouts will help you stay fit without using a lot of your time. It’s also easier to motivate yourself when you know you only have to do 30 minutes, right?
Check out our favorite short workouts:
Get More Sleep
We know this sounds counterintuitive, but people who get the proper amount of sleep (7-8 hours per night) are healthier and less likely to be obese. When we don’t sleep our bodies become stressed and produce more of the hormone, cortisol, which causes us to store fat and gain weight. By sleeping enough, you’ll keep your stress levels down and the weight off. So, cozy up next to the fireplace and catch up on some rest!
Skip The Sugary Cocktails
Holiday cocktails are no doubt delicious, but they’re also loaded with sugar. Studies show that it’s sugar, not fat, that’s making us obese and unhealthy. So, if you must have a cocktail, stick with something low sugar. Use seltzer water, a splash of cranberry juice, and fresh squeezed lime as mixers. Here’s a great list of low sugar and sugarfree “mocktail” recipes.
We know the holidays can be hectic and stressful, but not being mindful of stress reduction can exasperate unhealthy eating during the holidays. Make an effort to do more breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation during the holidays. By reducing stress, you will help reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and keep your body fit and healthy.
Do Fun Outdoor Activities
The winter months are cold, but they’re also the time of year to get outside and go cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, snowtubing, and hiking. So, instead of a Netflix marathon on a Saturday, head up to your local mountain and try something new. You may find a new hobby you love!