Get ready to have your best holiday season ever. These tips will have you feeling lean, light, connected, energized and glowing through the New Year.
1. Exercise first thing in the morning
When we have family visiting from out of town, holiday shopping, and a packed social calendar it’s easy to let your workouts slip. This is why we must schedule in a 20 to 30 minute workout first thing so nothing can get in the way of our goals. This may mean going to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier. Try one of my quick at-home workouts like this bodyweight routine, or run away from the house for 10 minutes and run back for 10 minutes. Exercise will make you the most glowing and energetic person in the room, improve sleep, burn calories, and make eating healthier a breeze. Get your family to go for a brisk walk outside after a meal.
2. Eat your favorite foods but skip the rest
I love Thanksgiving stuffing, my Mom’s coffee cake on Christmas morning, good red wine and chocolate desserts. I can't wait to indulge in all of these during the holiday season. However, I won’t be eating foods I can do without like store-bought cookies, chips, cheesecake, or biscuits. Choose your favorite foods to splurge on mindfully and in moderation.
3. Avoid the “all-or-nothing” trap
The “diet” does not start on January 1st. Being lean, healthy, fit and energized is a lifestyle. If we over-indulge in cocktails and heavy foods at the holiday party, that does not mean we resort to pancakes, deli sandwiches and pasta the next day. One night will not derail progress, so get on track the next day with a healthy breakfast and a quick sweat session. I like to wake-up and have lemon water with a berry smoothie or vegetable omelet and get in an interval circuit workout. An all-out binge fest from Thanksgiving to New Years’ can mean gaining up to five pounds in fat. Instead, you will maintain your weight and be ahead of the game.
Our metabolism and hunger signals operate best when we sleep 8 hours. Quality sleep means insulin levels are more favorable and we’re less likely to store the food we eat as fat. Don’t forget you have a workout appointment with yourself first thing in the morning!
Jazz up your water by adding lemon and lime or pineapple and strawberry. Keep a water bottle with you at your desk, in your car, shopping, at the gym, etc. so you can hydrate between meals and during workouts. If drinking alcohol, have a glass of water in between each drink. This will help you drink less and reduce the chances of the dreaded hangover.
6. Don’t starve yourself
Dieting or eating "good" all week will lead you into an event only thinking about food. This is a recipe for overeating. If you have an event at night, eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch, keeping your fats and carbs on the low end to allow some flexibility at dinner. Base all your meals around a lean protein and vegetables. As a bonus, green vegetables are loaded with essential vitamins and micronutrients that will make your skin glow and keep your immune system strong to ward off colds.
7. Don’t keep the leftovers
If it’s not in the house, we won’t eat it. When I host a party, I stock up on plastic take-away containers and send guests home with portions of their favorite dishes. If the mac-n-cheese and chocolate cake are in the fridge staring at you for the next three to five days, willpower will eventually fail you. Out of sight out of mind.
8. Eat slowly
Chew and savor your food. I remind myself to put my fork down in between bites. You’ll enjoy the food more, be less likely to overeat, and your digestion will thank you.
9. Set positive intentions and have fun
Spend time reflecting on all the things you are grateful for in the past year. Start to write down goals that excite you for the upcoming year. Instead of focusing on the food, enjoy time with friends and family. Trust you can get back on track after the holiday season in the New Year. Before attending a social event, visualize what you want to get out of it and how you want to feel. Do you want to dance to holiday hits all night? Do you want to engage in deep conversation with just a few people? Do you want to eat dinner before you go and just enjoy a fancy cocktail or glass of good red wine? Do you want to only stay a few hours and go to bed early? Set an intention, commit to your decision, make a plan and don’t consider any alternatives.
Enjoy a safe, healthy and fun holiday season!!
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