The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of year. From the decorations, to the parties, it’s hard not to become completely immersed in all of it. But the holidays can actually be a very stressful time for many. In past years, it’s been a struggle to stay on track with my fitness goals. I always promised myself that I would swear off the cookies and candies, but a few family and company parties later, I would always throw those promises out the window.
My issue was that I never approached the holidays with an actual plan. I had a vague idea of what I should stay away from, and a routine that I, realistically, had no intentions of maintaining. Then when the holidays were over, I would always wonder why I hadn’t reached my goals. But it’s pretty obvious why. So this year I’m approaching things a bit differently, and you should too! Here are 6 tips to help you stay on track during the holidays.
1. Fill up before the party
My biggest downfall are those little appetizers that are served at every holiday party. I mean, who doesn’t love those? They might seem small, but when there are 10 different options and you help yourself to 5 of each, you’re going to gain those hard-lost pounds right back. If you know you’re headed to a holiday party tonight, try filling up on some healthy snacks beforehand. This way you can help yourself to just a couple treats, and still be satisfied.
2. Make it a group effort
At work we have officially started the “25 Days of Fitness” challenge. Each day is a new exercise, and it gets us up from our desks periodically. The first day was 10 squats every hour, starting at 8am and ending at 5pm. It’s really funny to watch because every person in our division stops everything they’re doing, stands up, and squats. We definitely get some strange looks from people walking by, but I think it’s amazing that they let us do something like this. If you’re struggling to stay on track, find some others in the same boat and support each other!
3. Get yourself some ZZZs
With all the stress and chaos of the holidays, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the late night routine. I always start a bunch of little projects around Christmas, and it’s hard to drop everything when it’s time for bed. I tend to be the type of person who has to complete everything in one sitting, and I always wind up exhausted. And lack of sleep can actually be a major cause of weight gain. Make sure you stick to a normal sleep routine so that you can be rested up for all the festivities!
4. Make it a competition
I’ve always been a pretty competitive person, so I figured I may as well take advantage of it. Myself and a few others started a “competition” just after Halloween. Each person chooses something that they really want to focus on, whether that be losing pounds or inches, decreasing their mile time, increasing their lifting amount, etc. Each person puts $25 in a pool to represent their goal, and you have check-ins each week to track progress. The rule is that if everyone reaches their goal, they get their $25 back. But if you fail, the $25 gets divided up to the winners. If only 1 person succeeds, they get it all! The more people who join in , the bigger the prize. It puts a fun twist on your fitness goals, and gets everyone involved!
5. Limit the drinks
The holidays are the perfect time for spiked everything, and I love an “adult hot chocolate” just as much as anyone. But alcohol and fitness don’t go well together. Try to limit yourself to 1-2 drinks per party, and lay off the extra sugary beverages if possible. Some drinks I plan on limiting this year include cider, sparkling juices, hot chocolate, etc.
6. Use a fitness/diet tracker
Before I started using My Fitness Pal to track my food intake, I genuinely didn’t know how many calories were in a lot of the meals I was choosing. Especially when we eat out. The app actually allows you to search for meals from popular restaurants, and scan the bar codes of all the snacks and prepared meals. It doesn’t just provide a calorie count either. It actually has the full break down with sugars, cholesterol, carbohydrates, etc. It’s the perfect tool for combating those holiday treats.
What do you do to stay on track during the holidays?