How to Handle the Holidays
By John Creveling of JohnCrevelingFitness.com
The holiday season is fast approaching. Around this time of year, we tend to be busier than normal with work, family, parties, shopping, etc. It is also around this time of year that our new year’s resolutions are out the window and we vow to start up again on January 1st. But just because you are busier doesn’t mean you need to put your health and fitness plans on hold until the new year.
Here are a few tips to help you get through the holidays without gaining unwanted holidays weight and sticking to your plan:
Continue to eat full, balanced meals
Each meal should have a good source of:
- Protein- to help maintain our muscles, make us feel fuller for longer (which cuts down on unnecessary snacking)
- Some carbohydrates- to help give us energy (fun fact- carbs are the brains preferred energy source)
- Some healthy fats- to help regulate our hormones and hunger signals
- Plenty of vegetables- to help supply our bodies with vitamins, minerals, and fiber
Don’t skip meals all day to “pig out” later in the day
This tends to happen on big holiday gatherings revolving around food like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, etc. We know that our families will gather for a big feast so we “save up room” all day for the goodies, desserts, alcohol, and other foods later on in the day. Then, once we have our food, we eat it so quickly and go back for more before our brain can signal to our body that we are full. This can result in over consuming our daily recommended calorie intake, stomach and digestive stress, blood sugar spikes and crashes, bloating, and other issues that can last for a few days.
Instead, eat consistent, balanced meals every day while still being able to have some of your favorite goodies during the special gatherings.
The more consistent we are with hydration, the better our bodies are at regulating our bodyweight. Take Thanksgiving, for example. You may spend the whole first half of the day cooking, cleaning, and getting everything ready for a big gathering at night. During this time, you are super busy and don’t think to stay hydrated (or eat your balanced meals). Come nighttime, you sit down and have a couple plates of food, some cocktails, and some dessert. Then, the next day you step on the scale and you gained 5 pounds. The next day the scale reads the same weight. You start to freak out.
Did you really gain 5 pounds of body fat in a day? No. But chances are good that the foods you had the night before contained plenty of sodium. Our bodies need to keep its sodium-to-water ratio balanced in order to function properly. Because you weren’t properly hydrating the day(s) beforehand, your body is going to hold onto a lot of the fluid that is consumed because of your increase in sodium rich food, in order to keep that balance positive. That water weight won’t go down until our body utilizes that sodium.
Just because it gets colder during this time of year doesn’t mean you have to stop being active. If you typically are outside for your fitness during the warmer months, maybe switch up your routine to take it indoors. Try some weight-training at a local gym (this won’t automatically make you “bulky”…that’s a whole different myth and wormhole to go down). Most gyms are indoors and heated.
Continue to get your steps in when you can. Everyone has an app or watch or gizmo that can track their steps. While there isn’t an actual minimum step count that anyone needs a day, they can be a motivator to keep moving. We live in a day and age where you can watch TV while you walk on a treadmill so there are plenty of ways to make the time pass by.
Give yourself some leeway
A well-balanced health and fitness plan is one that includes foods and movements that you love but also things that challenge you. Don’t freak out when you enjoy those things you love- desserts, drinks, snacks, baked goods, etc. Giving yourself permission to include those items (in moderation) in your plan can often take the feeling of guilt away for having them. It also takes away the allure of temptation for consuming those items because they aren’t restricted anymore. When we restrict foods from our diet, they often end up becoming one of our focuses. We think about them because we can’t have them, and then we feel guilty when we do. Cut all that out by giving yourself permission to include them in moderation.
Meet Coach John Creveling
Helping people achieve their fitness goals is my passion! I have been in the health and fitness industry for a decade and have had the chance to train hundreds of individuals and groups, from ages 7-70, from beginners to collegiate and professional athletes. Whether you are starting off from your couch and looking to learn the basics of proper training and nutrition to a seasoned athlete that is looking to dial in their performance for a specific event, I can help.
All you have to do is get started!