Hopefully you all had a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving that was filled with lots of family time, laughter, football, and FOOD. If you’re like me, you completely over-indulged and made the Thanksgiving meal (and snacks before and after) count. Thursday was fun, but man did I feel like junk on Friday, and no, it wasn’t the 4am wake-up for Black Friday shopping.
Health can be difficult this time of year with temptation as tis’ the season for holiday parties, seasonal treats, and sports celebrations (Go Badgers and Packers!!!). I just read that the average weight gain during the holidays is 5-8lbs and it makes sense when you look at people’s December calendars with all of the fun that surrounds the holiday season. I also think it’s easy to blow off health this month and save the dieting and exercise for New Year’s with a resolution.
So, thinking about the upcoming month and the various ‘temptations’ that may strike, how will you go about keeping health in your mindset or bouncing back from a binge?
I think it’s important to remember your overall goals with health and fitness and to also keep in mind that it shouldn’t take a back seat to the holidays. There will always be an ‘event’, or party, or something that comes up that can derail your plans and December/the holidays should not be used as an excuse. Keep those goals in a place you can see (fridge, bathroom mirror, work computer, etc.) reminding you of where you want to be down the road. For those individuals that plan to start fresh with the New Year, why not start early in December with a few weeks of exercise or a couple new eating habits already under your belt? They say 21 days makes a habit; set yourself up for success so you’re more likely to stick with your resolutions well into the year rather than just the first two weeks (we all know resolutions don’t really last, unfortunately).
In addition to remembering your goals, making a plan can help to keep you on the straight and narrow, and help to avoid any potential binges. If you know the dates of holiday get-togethers, you can make a plan to exercise the day of the party or have a healthy snack before you attend so you aren’t tempted to ravage the hors d’oeuvres table as soon as you arrive. Stick to smaller plates and take a little bit of everything to try, but fill up on the fruits and vegetables instead of higher fat and calorie options (and alcohol!). Another trick I have used at parties is to always have a glass or bottle of water in my hand and to sip throughout the event to keep me feeling full and to prevent temptation for adult beverages.
Let’s say you attend a get-together and maybe go a bit overboard with the snacks or desserts—what do you do the next day to come back? I think it’s important to first and foremost not beat yourself up. The holidays are a time for family, food and fun, but what is important is that you are conscientious of the choices you make and getting back on track the next day. Drinking a lot of water will help flush out the extra toxins and beat the extra bloat that may occur. Think fresh: fruits, vegetables, and lean meat will help get your body back out of a food coma and help make you feel better. Adding a bit of exercise will help get your heart pumping and combat the extra calories that were indulged the day(s) prior. When you’re really full, go for a walk to help the feeling pass and digest a little easier.
The holidays are a time to be thankful and enjoy the company of others, and yes, enjoy some of the good food that maybe only comes around a few times a year. Keep health in the forefront of your mind and make a plan to stay on track. Invite family or a friend to walk the day of a get-together or let them know your game plan so you feel more in control. New Year’s resolutions don’t have to start on January 1st—they can start whenever. Give yourself that head start and make these holidays the best yet!