The festive season, with the bright lights and joyous gatherings, often comes with a side of indulgence. It's often a time when routines are disrupted, tempting treats are abundant, and the allure of a party (or the couch) competes with your usual workout. However, with a bit of planning and a commitment to your well-being, you can celebrate the holidays without compromising your health and fitness goals. Here are 10 strategies to help you stay healthy and fit during the festive season.
Set Realistic Goals
Be honest and realistic about your health and fitness goals during the festive season. Instead of aiming for perfection, set achievable objectives. Whether it's maintaining your current fitness level or trying out a new healthy recipe, realistic goals are more sustainable and less likely to lead to frustration. This is a time of joy and laughter, you don’t want to be beating yourself up over every bite or every missed workout. Set goals at the beginning of the season but be gentle with yourself, life is to be enjoyed!
Prioritise Physical Activity
The holiday season can be busy, but that doesn't mean you have to sideline your fitness routine. Prioritise physical activity by scheduling workouts just like any other commitment. Whether it's a quick morning workout, an evening stroll, or a festive dance session, keeping your body moving is key.
Plan Your Workouts
The hustle and bustle of the holidays can make it easy to skip workouts. Combat this by planning your exercise routine in advance. Having a set schedule increases the likelihood that you'll stick to your fitness regimen, even when the days get busier. I find that getting some kind of movement in, in the morning can set you up for a healthier happier day ahead and you know that you have ticked your workout off your to-do list for the day, leaving your schedule wide open for anything else that comes up later on.
Include Friends and Family
Turn your fitness routine into a social affair by involving friends and family. Plan group workouts, go on a family hike, take a jog together, play soccer on the lawn or organise an outdoor activity. Not only does this keep everyone active, but it also adds a fun and social dimension to your fitness routine. If your activities are enjoyable you won’t even notice you are getting a quality workout in just by having fun with friends and family.
The festive season often brings an array of delicious but calorie-laden treats. Practice mindful eating by savouring your favourite holiday foods in moderation. Be conscious of portion sizes, and listen to your body's cues of hunger and fullness. A top trick for eating out is to focus more on the taste of the food than the quantity plus try to check out the menu ahead of time so that you have the chance to make informed and (hopefully) healthier choices once you get there.
If you know there will be a multiple-course meal ahead of you perhaps think of ordering a starter as a main meal, ask for a side dish of vegetables to bulk it up and keep you feeling satisfied. Enjoy the indulgences without overindulging.
With a plethora of festive beverages, it's easy to forget about water. Maintain good hydration by drinking enough water throughout the day. Proper hydration supports digestion, helps control appetite, and contributes to your overall sense of well-being. Try to start your morning with a cup of lemon water, swap a midmorning coffee for herbal tea and end your day with a glass of water before bed to bolster hydration.
Modify traditional recipes to make them healthier. Experiment with whole grains, reduce added sugars and incorporate more fruits and vegetables. There are plenty of creative ways to enjoy festive meals without sacrificing nutrition. Focus on eating lean meats ( turkey is one of them ) and bulking up with loads of low-calorie veggies, that way you will feel full and festive without overindulging in loads of calories. Try to limit the snacking, it seems that during this happy time, there is an abundance of nibbles, cookies, choccies, sweets, chips, dips and everything else. Try to stick to a reasonable routine of meal times and snack times and avoid the constant snacking that often comes with the December vibe.
Navigating the festive season's drink scene? Let's keep it merry and mindful! The recommended limit is around 14 units a week for both men and women. December's a month where we might find ourselves raising our glasses more than usual, so it's all about keeping tabs. Try some easy swaps, like making a white wine spritzer or a beer shandy to dilute the alcohol while still enjoying your holidays. Try having one glass of water between each drink, not only will it help prevent dehydration from the alcohol ( which is a diuretic ) but it will also mean that you end up drinking less than you may have without the water. Aside from our health, alcohol also brings with it some cheerful calories, being mindful of our drinking can help keep our waistlines in check.
Get Quality Sleep
Adequate sleep tends to take a backseat during the holidays, with late-night gatherings and festive activities. However, prioritising quality sleep is crucial for overall health. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a calming bedtime routine, and ensure you get the rest your body needs. Adequate sleep is essential for regulating hormones, allowing the body to regenerate muscle tissue and much more.
Set New Goals
As the holiday season winds down, take some time to reflect on your health and fitness journey. After the last roast dinner has been cooked and you wave goodbye to your last guest, take some time to assess how you are feeling and then start to look forward. We want to be able to include healthy eating and movement into our everyday lives, not with fad diets or crazy unsustainable workout regimes. Often after a period of indulgence we go into purge mode and set unrealistic New Year's resolutions. Be mindful of the goals you want to set for the new year and make sure they are sustainable and realistic. Again be gentle with yourself and remember our only goal for today is to try our best.
The festive season doesn't have to be a time of setbacks for your health and fitness. By adopting a mindful and balanced approach, you can celebrate the holidays joyfully while staying committed to your well-being. Remember, it's about making choices that align with your health goals and finding a balance that allows you to revel in the festive spirit without compromising your overall health and fitness. Embrace the season with joy, gratitude, and a commitment to a healthy and fit lifestyle.