The holiday season has arrived! Family, friends, festivities and of course food surround us in abundance. During this time of year it is not uncommon to pack on a good 5-10 pounds… or MORE… of fat weight, vowing to yourself that once the New Year rolls around you will start working out and go on a dreaded “diet”. But why put yourself through that torture? Why don’t you make this year different than the rest? Delve into this holiday season with the resolve to enjoy every moment and still maintain your fitness goals! By identifying your potential obstacles now, you can devise a plan of attack and keep your eye on the prize… a fit and healthy you!
Don’t put off your goals until tomorrow when you can start today. Think you can’t enjoy the holidays and stick with your fitness goals? Think again! Identify your holiday dilemmas and follow the tips in this Holiday Fit Survival Kit and you are sure to keep the scale from climbing.
Dilemma 1. Lack of Time – With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the action and allow your health and fitness to lose priority. With all the shopping, cooking, holiday parties and shows, maybe you don’t have time to make it to the gym for your regular workouts. First and foremost remember that leading a fit and healthy lifestyle requires consistency, and that rule applies just as much through the holidays as during other times of year. If you can’t get in an hour of exercise, get in short bouts of 10-15 minutes of exercise or add extra physical activities into your schedule which will burn off some extra calories throughout the day! You could jog in place, do jumping jacks, stationary lunges or squats, push ups, run up and down a set of stairs, park farther away from the grocery store or pick up the pace as you walk around the shopping mall! Kick up the intensity level of your cardio and strength training workouts and you can cut your workout time in half while burning just as many calories. Plyometric movements and interval workouts are great options for picking up the pace and saving on time. Remember that every extra bit of activity that you can get in counts and will aid you in sticking with your fitness plan.
Dilemma 2. Lack of Preparation – You are out shopping all day, searching for the perfect gift for your loved one. Before you know it the time has flown by and you haven’t had anything to eat. You are exhausted and head for the closest food court to chow down on the fastest food choice you can find. You know that these days are bound to come so don’t get caught unprepared! Pack healthy snacks such as Kashi granola bars, fruit or raw almonds and take them with you when you know you’ll be on the go all day. Don’t wait until you are starving to eat, give your body a chance! When you are faced with having to make a fast food choice, go for a salad loaded with veggies and fish or chicken, steer clear of creamy dressings and additional fattening toppings! A fresh sandwich or sub is a good choice as well when loaded with vegetables and some lean meat. Choose whole wheat bread and mustard instead of mayo.
Dilemma 3. Lack of Planning – The day just slipped by so quickly! You had no time to get your work out in because it simply wasn’t a part of your plan for the day. Take the initiative ahead of time to intentionally schedule in your work out times. Perhaps they will be abbreviated but they should not be eliminated. Commit to a set date and time where your health and fitness take top priority.
Dilemma 4. Plentiful Parties – How do you deal with all of the holiday parties and the mountains of tempting foods and alcohol that they provide? First of all if you know you have a party coming up, continue to eat small meals throughout the day, don’t starve yourself until the party and then binge out on all the treats and goodies. You will be far less likely to overdo it at the party if you aren’t hungry to begin with. Be picky at the parties, scope out all of your choices for treats and partake only in those that you know you will really enjoy and remember to practice moderation!
Dilemma 5. Cooking and Baking- For some, one of the greatest joys of the holidays is the opportunity to cook treats, meals and goodies for their loved ones. Unfortunately many holiday recipes are filled with highly unhealthy ingredients. If you love to cook why not do a favor for your loved ones and yourself, altering your recipes and providing a healthier option! Make a couple quick switches in your recipes and save on calories big time! Switch from whole milk to 1% or skim milk, instead of using butter use applesauce, and substitute Splenda for sugar.
Dilemma 6. Overindulgence at meal time. With so many plentiful choices at holiday meal times it is very easy to overindulge. Keep in mind that your body can’t use all of those excess calories as energy so they will store as fat. Portion control is a key factor that must come into play! If there are a number of items that you want to try then take small bits of each one, there is no need to overdo it. If you try something and don’t like it, don’t continue to eat it! Why bother wasting calories on a food that you aren’t going to thoroughly enjoy?
Dilemma 7. Friendly Saboteurs – You know who I’m talking about. These are the people who seem to be on a mission to sabotage your fitness goals. They taunt you with food and say things like, “Oh come on, just have one.” Usually these people are friends or family who probably are not intentionally trying to hurt you, they may simply feel threatened by the fact that you are trying to make healthy choices. You have to realize that when people, even those that you love, try to sabotage your fitness goals it is usually due their own insecurity issues and has nothing to do with you. It is solely up to you to make healthy choices for your body!
Dilemma 8. Tantalizing Treats – They are everywhere during the holidays, stocking grocery store shelves, sitting out in brightly colored bowls in your home, lining the tables at holiday bazaars. Avoiding temptations whenever possible will be very important to your success. You will have the opportunity to indulge in sweets and treats at holiday parties so keep them out of your home where they can tempt you on a daily basis. Choose to decorate with items that are not edible in order to avoid mindless snacking!
Dilemma 9. Lost motivation – Many people lose sight of their fitness goals completely during the holiday season! Totally forgetting the reasons why they wanted to lead a more fit and healthy lifestyle. The flurry of activity seems to erase from memory the importance of powerful motivators such as health improvement, weight loss, disease prevention and being a role model for spouse or children. Before your mind gets muddled in the midst of holiday bliss take a moment to review your goals and motivators, write them down and keep them in a visible location so you won’t forget how important they are!
Dilemma 10. Following the Pack – Everyone else is overindulging so why shouldn’t you? That is a good question which only you can answer. You know why you want to achieve your fitness goals, so it is up to you to make the right choices for your body and for your goals. Why not be a leader instead of a follower, make a choice to practice moderation and enjoy your holidays without sabotaging your fitness goals. Perhaps you will serve as an inspiration for someone else who is struggling with taking power and responsibility for their own choices when it comes to health and fitness!
When you heed the advice in this Holiday Fit Survival Kit you will be armed with the tools and motivation that you need to make the best choices possible for yourself regardless of the time of year. In the midst of giving presents to others remember that you deserve the gift of a fit and healthy body. With the right state of mind, a plan of action and the resolve to make healthy eating and exercise choices this can be your most enjoyable and most fitfully rewarding holiday season yet!