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It’s that time of year again! The most anticipated yet the most stressful time of the year: the holidays. Let’s face it, you’ve been busy. You’ve been working your regular day job, fighting to keep your fitness goals alive and hustling to your social calendars so you don’t get a severe case of the FOMO’s. Don’t get me wrong, the holidays are wonderful time to reconnect with loved ones and recharge for the upcoming new year but that doesn’t mean we have to throw our self-care and lifestyle routines out the windows for the last two weeks of 2022.
Here are some tips for you to staying fit and motivated through the holidays:
Don’t neglect your routine! Schedule your workouts for the week preferably before your social gatherings so that you are energized to do them and feel accomplished going into your event.
Exercise burns calories during AND after your workout. Therefore, your metabolism will be increased for the rest of the day and any excess calories consumed will likely be negligible if you are trying to lose weight. Exercise also helps with hunger management by maintaining blood sugar levels which can help tame those intense sugar cravings we typically get when around indulgent holiday foods.
Have you ever heard of the saying “don’t go to the grocery store hungry?” Same thing with a holiday party! Eating a nutritiously dense meal before the party will keep your appetite in check and prevent you from eating everything in sight.
This is NOT to say don’t enjoy the party snacks but be aware of what you’re eating.
Simply put: Prioritize NUTRIENT dense foods over CALORICALLY dense ones.
Like in your regular diet, lean cuts of protein, high quality carbohydrates, and vegetables will always keep you satiated and are better performance foods for the gym
Sugary, high-fat, calorie dense finger foods and snacks add up quick and should be consumed with caution.
My rule of thumb for clients for portion sizes: a full palm and a half size of protein, a fist size of carbohydrates, two fists size portions of vegetables and a pointer finger to thumb circle (okay hand sign) portion of fats (i.e. charcuterie board).
For desserts, if you’re a sample, take a SMALL portion of each dessert and enjoy OR 1 full serving of your favorite dessert and enjoy guilt free J
Full restriction of foods at any time of the year can to apprehensions towards so it is better to enjoy mindfully than completely avoid shamefully.
Hydrate with WATER adequately prior to social events and drink water between alcoholic beverages.
My rule of thumb: 1 glass of water to 1 beer/wine, 2 glasses of water to 1 drink of hard liquor.
Water is a key player in ALL bodily functions including your gains in the gym and alcohol is the complete opposite.
Keep in mind, alcohol is the definition of empty calories, and more so than indulgent foods, they add up quick and immediately get stored as fact. Period.
Remember, the holidays are about reconnecting with loved ones and recharging for the new year.
Don’t force yourself to indulge if you don’t feel inclined to. As un-festive as it may sound, the calories in holiday foods are the same as the ones you consume daily. They are just dressed up differently. Enjoy what you want in healthy portions that you can live with and leave what you can do without for someone else. That way you can enjoy the holidays and festivities guilt free and mentally and physically strong for the new year.
See you back at the gym!
Follow Emily Chang NASM CPT, CNC, CES on TikTok @fitem_wellness