During the winter holiday season, time is a premium commodity. We join in sharing treats and socializing around food and drink to celebrate. Indulging should not come at the expense of your health. You will feel better overall if you keep well-being a priority during the festivities. Here are a few approaches to help you do just that.
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Motivation is personal and comes from your purpose. Some people are motivated by having an accountability partner, others by a competitor, and others by the social aspect of fitness at the gym or in your neighborhood. Some want to go solo, preferring to crank up the volume on their music. Daily rounds of vigorous activity help you stay ahead of the seasonal weight gain. That activity can be a formal workout, or just some lively fun activity.
Motivation may be looking and feeling your best for a special occasion or anticipating a vacation. Combine short- and long-term goals to find your personal health motivation.
Before eating something because you think you are hungry get a drink of water. If you still feel hungry in a few minutes, then eat something. Hydration makes your workouts more effective. Your muscles will perform better, and your body will eliminate more toxins. Your skin will glow, and you will improve your digestion and blood pressure. I aim to drink between 100-120 ounces of water per day.
If you have been working out regularly, don’t stop now. If you are not in the habit of workouts check out some local classes soon or find workouts you are able to do from home. We love our peloton machines for many reasons, but one of the biggest being the convenience of being able to workout from home. Make fitness a family project by taking runs together or playing outdoors. Aim for at least thirty minutes of vigorous activity five to six days a week. Do alternate activities like spin classes, resistance training and aerobics classes with long walks, swimming, pilates and yoga to allow your body time to recover and build more muscle. Exercise keeps you focused, increases your energy and helps prevent holiday weight gain.
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Have a healthy mindset
Being healthy is not about deprivation. Allow for treats in moderation. You can treat yourself by having healthier alternatives to something that has a ton of sugar. When you eat, make sure what you’re eating fuels your body and is full of good, healthy nutrients, instead of eating just to eat. Quality over quantity when it comes to what you are eating. Try to fill up on veggies or other plant-based foods before indulging in something unhealthy. Health and fitness is about having the best life possible for you. Enjoy that small treat you really wanted. Do not settle for mediocre food, or boring activities. Live a well-balanced life so that you will enjoy it to the extreme and so that you won’t burn out and completely fall off the wagon.
It has been said that those who fail to plan ahead plan to fail. Plan healthy menus for home and for the week ahead. Stay on track with how you normally eat and don’t deviate too far off schedule just because it is the holiday season. Try to never allow yourself to get to the point where you are so hungry that you will eat anything and everything. Make workouts a date with yourself and put them on the calendar. Anticipate treats at social gatherings and plan ahead by exercising first and being well hydrated. Then have some of those foods in moderation. There are plenty of ways to indulge without completely over doing it. Workout again tomorrow. The celebrations do not last forever.
It comes back to motivation
You want to be healthy for yourself, and how you look and feel, but you also should have a “why” beyond those reasons. Stay healthy for your family and your future well-being. If you want something bad enough you will make it a priority, no matter what. Being healthy is something you need to focus on year-round. As humans we are creatures of habit. Get in the habit of creating a healthy lifestyle forever, not just in the beginning of a new year. If you can do that then you will take the holiday season with all of its temptations in stride.