The holiday season is officially upon us: Five weeks of parties, big meals, cocktails and sweets starting with Thanksgiving and culminating with our resolutions to eat better and exercise more on January 1. While it’s easy to succumb to the food free-for-all, it is possible to celebrate the season without undoing all of your hard work.
We asked the Fit4Mom instructors for their best advice when it comes to staying on track with your health and fitness goals during this time of year. Here’s what they had to say.
8 Tips for Staying on Track During the Holidays
1. Write down your goals for the holiday season. These goals should be realistic and measurable. Plan to work out five days a week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, or commit to avoiding sweets (or eating just one dessert) at holiday parties.
2. Stick to your healthy routines, especially during the week. When your Fridays and Saturdays are packed with parties, make an effort to plan your meals, avoid eating out and limit sugar Sunday through Thursday.
3. Skip the treats at work. Just say no to that bowl of candy and your coworker’s cookies. Steer clear of office goodies as much as possible—if you don’t see them, you won’t have to test your willpower.
4. Keep working out. It’s easy to let a jam-packed schedule come between you and your workout, but if you’re looking forward to a weekend filled with holiday cheer, making time for fitness is even more important. If you expect your evenings to be booked over the next month, try getting up a half hour before the kids to do a 20-minute workout DVD in the morning.
5. Avoid mindless munching at parties. Instead, fill a small appetizer plate with whatever you want, but do this only once. After that, focus on the people and conversations, not the food. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite foods, just make sure to eat them in moderation—denying yourself completely could easily lead to bingeing.
6. Watch the alcohol. More drinks not only equals lots of calories from alcohol, it also leads to overeating. Have a glass of water between drinks or skip the cocktails and volunteer to be the designated driver for the evening. If you do have a beverage (or three), choose a lower-calorie option like champagne. If a high-calorie drink like eggnog is your holiday favorite, limit yourself to one as a treat.
7. Get active with your kids. It’s easy to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas lounging in pajamas, taste-testing cookies and sampling side dishes. Start a new family tradition that includes an early morning 5K or a friendly football or softball game. Don’t let a little snow keep you inside. Try cross-country skiing, or bundle up the kiddos and go sledding or build a snowman.
8. Stay accountable. Weigh yourself once a week. If you’ve committed to your workouts and continued with your healthy routines during the week, a few cocktails and cookies over the weekend won't make or break the number on the scale. Allow yourself some leeway, and enjoy the season.
*For more posts from Louisa Fitzgerald, visit her blog, Mommy Sanest.