The holidays can be an especially difficult time to stay focused on your health, diet and exercise. All the events, shopping and running around can mean changes in your normal routine and more chances for setbacks. Here are a few tips that may help keep things in a healthy perspective.
Tips To Keep Things In Perspective
Set Goals For Maintaining Your Weight
Make a goal of maintaining your current weight. The difficulties of losing weight may be amplified during the holidays, but maintaining your weight is a reasonable goal.
Try not to allow yourself succumb to the weight gain of the average American. How do you do that? Remember to continue to take one day at a time. It can be overwhelming to think of Thanksgiving through New Year's Day as one big holiday season to get through.
Make Each Day Matter
Making each day matter, one day at a time, is still the way to keep your life manageable. Psychologically, it is much easier to conquer one day being successful rather than worrying about an entire season.
Have you ever been out with friends or gone to a party just to find yourself eating things you normally wouldn't for social acceptance. Don't do it! It is amazing how convicted other people feel when you eat healthy around them. It is quite common to have others try to pressure you to eat the same, unhealthy choices they are to ease their conscious. This may be especially prevalent at the holidays when seasonal dishes are prepared and excuses abound.
Each day commit to eating healthy and decide in advance just how much you are willing to "cheat" and when. This way you will not feel deprived and will be in control when faced with otherwise tempting situations.
Keep Alcohol To A Minimum
On that same note, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. As festive as it may be, alcoholic beverages contain a large amount of calories and sugar. They can also cause you to feel sluggish the next day further hampering your workout efforts.
Most importantly, being under the influence of alcohol can cause you to become "care-free" about what you are eating. Before you know it, you may have eaten several days worth of calories without noticing at all. This is not a fun thing to discover the next morning!
Instead, participate in toasts or decide in advance to limit yourself to one drink at each occasion.
BYOD - Bring Your Own Dish
Bring your own healthy dish to parties. At least you know there will be one thing available that you can eat. Eat a healthy meal before you go so that you will not find yourself overly tempted by things you should not eat. Drink plenty of water throughout the event so that you will stay satisfied.
Keep Your Kitchen Full Of Healthy Snacks
Keep your kitchen full of healthy snacks. Even if you do this normally, you may find yourself exceptionally busy and your stock low. Make an effort to make sure that you have good choices.
Plan your meals in advance and have some healthy menus available so when time is short you can just start cooking. Don't be tempted to use fast food as a short-term solution for time-management. You will regret it in January.
Keep your eating pattern of small, frequent meals and don't forget to keep your water consumption up. Substitute Trans-Plex Sweet-n-Up for sugar in your holiday recipes. Try making a crust less pumpkin pie instead of the high calorie version. (see my article, Guilt-Free Bodybuilding Recipes, below for the recipe!)
Do you feel like you have to make a traditional holiday meal even though you don't normally consume those foods? It is very liberating to know that you do not have to eat traditional holiday fare! Start your own traditional meals including healthy choices and your favorite dishes. You can still look forward to holiday meals and not feel guilty about them.
Start New Holiday Traditions
Consider starting some other holiday traditions that work hand in hand with staying in shape. Some choices include charity runs/walks, working feeding the homeless and less-fortunate, collecting gifts and running errands for the needy.
Enlist your friends and family and these things will be fun, keep you active and can become very rewarding and uplifting traditions.
Don't Be Tempted
Don't be tempted to eat all of the food that you are given as gifts. These gifts usually include high fat, high calorie items such as cookies, nuts, and topping-laden popcorn. Fudge and candies are also popular. A little of these kind gestures can go a long way around your waistline. It is okay to just not eat them!
Give Healthy Gifts
On the flip side, consider giving healthy gifts and treats as presents to your friends and family. These great items are not usually given as often and can make a very pleasant surprise. There are many choices available on Bodybuilding.com. Check out their Holiday Gift Guide for more info.
Items such as tubing, pedometers, gym bags and water bottles are great gifts that can be used all year. Heart rate monitors and personal training sessions are an especially generous gift that will be a true investment for a friend or family member's future health. The gift of fitness and raised self-esteem is very valuable!
Need some more exercise ideas? Make the decision to try out some new workouts available on Bodybuilding.com. It's a great way to change up your workouts and experimenting with those that work for others will keep things fun. Bring your friends and visitors with you to the gym!
Put some holiday tunes into your i-pod! Go dancing! Try the dance pads such as "Dance Dance Revolution". Kids love it and they even give you calorie expenditure.
Do You Suffer From Holiday Blues
Do you normally suffer from the holiday blues? This is yet another reason to keep exercising. A recent study concluded that exercise can be just as effective, if not more so, in treating depression than anti-depressants and psychotherapy!
Will Brink's Book, "Diet Supplements Revealed"
Consider a purchase of Will Brink's book, "Diet Supplements Revealed". It contains a treasure chest of valuable information and you also get access to member boards with your purchase.
These boards have even more advice and answers to every day questions. You can even query Will himself! I cannot state firmly enough how wonderful the calculators in his book are for keeping your nutrition in check. This would make a great gift for someone else or even as a gift for yourself!
Have you seen "Supersize Me" yet? It's a wonderfully done film with entertaining information about fast food and the way most Americans eat. Why not invite some friends over to see it? It just could help steer you away from the fast food joints while you are out shopping.
Finally, make time to relax, manage your stress, and enjoy the holidays! Give yourself the gift of maintaining your weight and healthy lifestyle. You will be glad that you did.