You probably notice that between the week before Thanksgiving and 2 weeks after, the gym is packed, and every piece of cardio equipment is in use. Everyone is trying to get in that one extra exercise session before enjoying the festivities from Thanksgiving through New Year's.
Holidays are meant to splurge on treats like eggnog, cookies and other calorie-packed foods. This year, instead of feeling guilty for indulging or the need to rev up your exercise to compensate, use these 6 simple tips, and get through the holiday season with both enjoyment and ease.
Skip treats at work during the week. As soon as December arrives, you quickly find goodies piling up at work, from popcorn to chocolates to candies. Snacking is one of the greatest culprits in putting on pounds. So, avoid those office treats during the week. They'll only make you feel tried, and you'll regret it later.
Plan your splurge. Throughout December, between work, family and friends, it seems like there is a new holiday party every week. These parties are where the calories can really rack up. Every week, plan one meal/one day of the week where you will splurge; you can treat this as a "cheat meal." By planning your weekly cheat meal around an upcoming party, you can enjoy the party without guilt. Preferably, plan your "cheat meal" around an evening party, as you will have something to which you can look forward and feel full by the end of the night, when it's time for bed.
Keep mornings low in breads and sugars. High-fat/high-protein breakfasts will keep your metabolism active and allow your body to target fat stores in the morning, when it is craving energy. By eliminating carbohydrates, such as breads, in the morning, you'll find the pounds melting off. This approach is also ideal for mornings after your "cheat party," when you may feel bloated and heavy. Low-carb mornings will improve your energy levels, have you feeling lean and help aid fat-loss all at the same time.
Adjust your diet. If you are going to a party/event where you will be eating quite heavily, lessen the carbohydrates and fats in your other meals that day. Keep them leaner. This compensation will help stave off any accrual in body fat.
Skip the sugary drinks. Hot chocolate, eggnog, spiked cider and Moscow mules are delicious holiday beverages, loaded in sugars and fats. If you plan on drinking moderately or even heavily (although not recommended), enjoy one holiday drink, then switch to a leaner alcoholic drink such as vodka soda. You'll be able to enjoy the holiday without loading yourself with sugary alcohols. You'll also thank yourself the next day.
Be merry. While the holidays can be quite enjoyable, they can also be a nightmare. High stress is common this time of year, and stress increases the body's cortisol levels. Increased cortisol levels can cause an increase in fat storage, especially tied with a heavy diet. Find ways to break away from the hectic 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's to have some you-time, whether it includes watching a favorite film, going out or even exercising.
These simple 6 tips will get you through this holiday season feeling leaner, happier and healthier.
For additional questions related to surviving the holidays with your gut intact, contact the author.