Holidays are filled with great times and many memories. It can also be a season filled with extra busy schedules and people feeling more stressed at times. It’s all in how you handle it. I am sure you have heard the saying by Benjamin Franklin “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So here are some tips to make the holiday season run a little smoother and keep you on track.
– Along with the holiday festivities, there will be the temptation to overindulge. Instead of falling into temptation, stay proactive with a plan. You may have one holiday party or three. If it’s a house party, this may be the perfect time to bring along your favorite healthy dish to share. This way you are sure to know there is at least one go-to dish available. A function at a restaurant? No problem! Prior to heading out for the evening, have something to eat at home consisting of protein and veggies. If you leave the house hungry, you are more likely to overindulge as opposed to eating conservatively.
– Use a buddy system. It can be extra important this time of year to hold yourself accountable. Ask a friend, spouse or a family member to meet with you three days week at the gym. If you have someone else to answer to, you are going to try harder to make it happen. If you can’t find someone to go with you, use social media. Write posts that make it public that these are your goals and here is your progress. You will be surprised to see the response.
– Stay hydrated. Not only will this help keep you from mindless snack-grabbing, but your body also needs water to function properly. When we are busy, we tend to neglect things that seem little but are actually detrimental to us.
– Let’s talk about work environments for a minute. How about the coworkers that put out the holiday cookies and chocolates? If you are physically where you want to be, it’s not so damaging. If you still have a bit to go, these things can add up. Here is where having your prepared meals comes in handy. You will always have something healthy to reach for. If it just becomes too tempting because it is in view, kindly explain to your coworker your goals. I am sure they can move it to a less visible area. Out of sight, out of mind.
– Do you like change? Instead of attending the local cookie swap, how about suggesting an ornament swap? We often tend to revolve celebrating around food. You could can take the pressure off and put the focus on something more symbolic. Just think, you will have that ornament to take out every year as a reminder of your success.
– Relax! Let’s face it, being stressed not only can lead to emotional eating, but it can also raise your cortisol level. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy. It also plays a role in the maintenance of blood sugar by stimulating insulin release. End result: you raise your cortisol level and increase your appetite. Not only can it promote weight gain, but there are also studies that show elevated cortisol deposits fat in the abdominal area, which is correlated with cardiovascular disease. So the bottom line is don’t get all stressed about whether you should have a treat. It’s OK to give in to a craving; just don’t overindulge.
– Finally, reward yourself. Spark things up and make it a game. If you stay within a certain goal range, guess what? Those new workout sneakers you wanted are now yours!
Lori Cipolla from Cranston, RI is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist. She is a Figure Athlete, wife, mom of five children and Advocare Advisor. She can be reached at www.stayfitmomof5.com or [email protected]