7 Healthy Holiday Tips!

By on December 19, 2016

It is probably unrealistic to think you will lose weight in December, but you don’t have to gain weight. There is nothing worse than starting the New Year feeling like you have completely lost your health mojo.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that making healthier choices can be especially tricky in social situations. It is one thing to eat vegetables and drink water at home; it is a whole other version of dedication to abstain at a party or work event. Many of my clients confess to feeling that to maintain their health they need to become holiday hermits. This is simply not ture! My clients don’t have to hibernate and sacrifice their social lives to make healthier choices, and neither do you!

It is possible to adopt a healthier lifestyle and socialize — it just takes some mindfulness, preparation, and creativity. You have to take the time to actively “set yourself up for health success.” Adopting a healthier lifestyle isn't a passive process. If you don't take the time to set yourself up for success, you might as well be setting yourself up for failure.

Always have a plan…and then a back-up plan.

1. Don't let yourself “snowball”!

Don't let one missed workout snowball into a week of slovenly behaviour or one glass of wine domino into five. Portions count. Missing one workout is not the same as missing five. Enjoy a few Christmas treats — just don't mindlessly indulge. Eat something because you love it, not just because it is there. Enjoy your downtime, but at the same time, don't use the holidays as an excuse to do absolutely nothing. If you decide to have a treat or skip a workout, enjoy your choice and then immediately get back on your “health horse.” Decide to make healthier choices — not “tomorrow,” but now. If you regret an unhealthy choice, learn from the experience; make a better choice next time. Create new goals based on your new-found knowledge. For example, if you keep missing evening workouts, consider setting up a home gym or training before work.
 

2. Be mindful of not only what you are putting in your mouth, but how quickly you are eating it.

At dinner parties, try placing your cutlery down between bites so that your brain has time to register when you are full. At parties, never stand near the food table; if you stand there you inadvertently graze. If you need to nibble while you talk, take a small portion of food (preferably vegetables) and then step away from the food table. That way you can keep a tally of what you have eaten.

3. Drink water before and during any social event so you don't mistake dehydration for hunger. Plus, drinking water will give you something to do with your hands so you don't inadvertently nibble.

4. Be mindful of how much alcohol you drink.

I am not saying “don’t drink”; for most of us that is unrealistic. All I am saying is be mindful of how many drinks you have. Consider alternating between water and alcohol and / or diluting your alcohol; consider a white wine spritzer for example. Why? Drinking alcohol can actually encourage your body to store fat! It is widely know that alcohol provides 7 kcal/g (vs carbs and protein which have 4 kcal/g and fat which has 9 kcal/g), which means drinking it can significantly increase one's total calorie intake.

What is less widely known is that consuming alcohol can actually encourage fat storage. Why? First, alcohol cannot be used directly by muscles for energy during exercise. Only the liver has the specific enzymes needed to break down alcohol, and unfortunately the liver carries out its job at a fixed rate. This means exercising harder doesn't help your body burn more of the alcohol off.

Second, alcohol cannot be stored in the body. It must be oxidized and converted into energy. While this is happening, the oxidation of fat and carbs is suppressed and they are channeled into storage instead.

Main takeaway: Don't let yourself rationalize binge drinking by thinking "I will just work it off tomorrow." If you are trying to lose weight, curtail you alcohol consumption. If you drink, have a moderate portion and chose options with fewer calories and less sugar.

5. When you go to a restaurant, preview the menu online beforehand. On arrival, don't look at the menu. Order your predetermined choice.

6. If the event is at someone's home, offer to bring a healthy salad, a lean protein, or a healthy dessert. This will ensure you have at least one healthy option.

7. Live by the rule that “some movement is better than no movement.”

If you can't make your regular gym workout, don't use that as an excuse to skip your workout altogether. Get a great workout in a small amount of time with intervals. Every bit of motion adds up, and every situation can be reframed as an opportunity for movement. Can't do a full workout? No problem; do 10 minutes. When it comes to exercise, getting started is usually the hardest part. So use my 10-minute rule. Tell yourself you have to do something for at least 10 minutes. Anyone can do anything for 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes you want to stop, fine. At least you will have done something. Once you start you will usually end up doing a full workout.

When you have a busier-than-normal week, use my "piggyback" strategy. Pinpoint daily, non-negotiable habits that you already do, then turn them into a workout: turn your daily dog walk into a jog or interval workout or have meetings with your colleagues while walking.

If you found these tips useful check out my upcoming book Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainer's Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habit. The book hits stores October 1st, 2016.

For more information on how to put together your unique recipe for health success, check out my website kathleentrotter.com, or Follow me on Instagram, Facebook (www.facebook.com/KathleenTrotter), Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/KTrotterFitness), or Twitter (@KTrotterFitness), or order Finding Your Fit here https://www.amazon.ca/Finding­Your­Fit­ Compassionate­ Trainer’s/dp/1459735196/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471442 503&sr=1­1

 

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