We all know the holidays are a struggle for most. Not to mention stressful. Well for someone who is trying to stay on top of their health it makes it ten times harder. Most people don’t even have the courage to start something this month because they know what is coming. All the family get-togethers, holiday parties, sugary treats, alcohol. That doesn’t even cover Christmas Eve! That person isn’t YOU though. YOU have just signed up for my best tips to get you through the holiday on the negative side of the scale. These tips are some of my best practices to help with stress around holiday weight gain. I call it the Holiday Survival Guide, so bundle up and get ready to make some changes this Christmas.
Step 1 SLEEP MORE
Sleep is so vital this time of year. Not to mention it gets dark so early. I don’t know who doesn’t struggle with getting tired around 4pm each afternoon. That is why we need to make sure we are sleeping at the right times and for enough time. Each night shoot for 7-8 hours of good old sweet sleep.
Step 2 NUTRITION IS KEY
Holiday eating is when we can pack on the pounds, we all know this. The average amount of weight Americans gain in December ranges from 1-2 pounds. This study is from over 10 years ago so I would assume this number could be higher. Either way the amount of calories we eat this month will go up. That is why we need to be conscious of what we are eating. This holiday season pick your battles wisely. Don’t let every meal be a cheat. Rule of thumb pick one cheat a week. Then on Christmas day that can be your cheat day. Here are a few ways to tackle Christmas dinner with your family.
- Start off light: appetizers can start the night off bad so instead of going for the cheese dip go for veggies and hummus
- This for that: have a sweet and sugary drink or cocktail? Then go light on the dessert. Don’t indulge on every course just pick a few.
- The healthy alternative: pumpkin pie instead of apple, hummus over ranch and other creamy based dips, turkey over ham, and veggies over chips.
- Portions are everything: You can eat what you want just be reasonable with your servings sizes and you will survive
Step 3 HO HO H20
Water is your bestie this holiday! Water is what is going to clean out those toxins and keep you going. Water also helps keep you full. Next time you head to a dinner party grab a big 20 oz water and down it. Guarantee you will be less likely to eat as much.
Step 4 STEP UP THE WORKOUTS
This month is what fitness addicts like to call the “ab” making months! Those summer bodies aren’t made in the summer, they are made in the winter. This is the prime time to start that workout you have been waiting to start. Or maybe you have been telling yourself for two weeks now you will go to the gym tomorrow. Well today is the day! Not to mention when you get a good sweat on you will reduce your stress levels! Sounds like a win-win to me.
Step 5 CUT THE EXCUSES
For those of us who haven’t made it to the gym and have been putting it off for two weeks cut it out. Repeat after me, “I have time to workout.’ This is the number one excuse this holiday season. “Well Julia I have 6 kids and I have to get all their Christmas gifts wrapped and I work a 9-5 I don’t think I have time.” Not true. You need to make time. Don’t be the one to start in January either. About 25% of us stop working out after just the first 7 days in January (Washington post 2015). I challenge you to be better than that 25%. Start setting yourself up for success in December so it becomes a habit in January.
Step 6 FIND WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO
First, you need to make sure it is something you LIKE to do. If you buy something you hate doing what are the chances you actually do it? Probably slim to none. Instead find something you LOVE. Something that makes you push hard, sweat a ton, and feel like you can’t do the kind of workout that makes you feel amazing and want to tell other people about! Here are a few of the workouts I get that type of feeling with:
- Hot yoga
- HIIT workouts
- Cycle classes
- Lifting heavy
Step 7 PLAN, PRIORITIZE, & SCHEDULE
PPS for short! This is something I do all year round because it is so important. Planning out your day is just like meal planning and that has also changed my life. Here is how I do it… Right, when I wake up plan out my day. I make a list of everything I need to do that day. Then I star the 3 things I must get done. Just 3 yes, these 3 are the three that if you don’t get them done your whole day will be ruined. They are important. Now working out should always be started!
Step 8 INVITE YOUR FAMILY
If you are hosting the Christmas party or dinner, encourage your guests to bring their workout shoes and a pair of workout clothes. After dinner (before dessert and before your uncle is asleep on the couch) turn on your favorite workout. If this is a stretch, go out for a family walk or play an active game with them after you eat. That way the food coma isn’t near as bad.
Step 9 GOALS GOALS GOALS
If you haven’t set a goal yet, you will need to think about what you will want to achieve this holiday season. You also need to have a longer range goal. A 30-day goal to get you through the holidays and then a 6 month or if that’s too long, a 90-day goal will work too. These goals don’t have to be weight related but they can be as simple as I want to workout 5 times a week and cut out soda and only eat complex carbs. This will ultimately set you up for success to be more than just lighter next year but also healthier. So pick two good goals for yourself and write it down. Share it with the world!
Step 10 ACCOUNTABILITY
With setting a goal in step 9 you will also need to find some accountability. Accountability can be a group of people or your best friend. The only requirement is that they hold you accountable. So if your best friend isn’t a friend that will tell you straight or be honest then find another accountability partner. The reason accountability is SOO vital to your success is on the days it is really hard. The days you just want to give up you don’t have to fight it alone. So there you go find that person or group that will be there for you no matter what.
There are just a few of my top ten tips to surviving the Holiday Hoppla! Yes, it isn’t going to be easy but send you accountability partner to and let’s tackle the holidays together!