It’s no secret that the holiday season is in full swing. The neighborhoods are lit up at night, snow is falling and shopping centers are packed. This season brings so many fun opportunities for giving and getting together with others. As social obligations and seasonal activities increase, I am finding myself enjoying every minute of it! These activities bring wonderful treats and heartfelt meals, and I have to admit that I’ve had my fair share of treats in the past few weeks. While I love the holiday treats, I always find myself feeling guilty after a weekend of indulgences. Attempting to stay fit throughout the holidays has become rather challenging.
Weekend parties and get together leave my body wanting to reset and detox each Monday. While limiting yourself to weekend indulgences only is certainly a common strategy, it never seems to work for me. I really hate depriving my body during the week – it feels like a punishment for a little bit of fun. Working extra hard to burn off calories during the week only adds stress to my days, and I certainly hate changing up my routine. Punishing myself never seems worth it to stay fit throughout the holidays.
I am such a strong believer in ‘everything in moderation’. This has been my motto for as long as I can remember, and has prevented me from yo-yo-ing too much throughout the year. My goal this season has been to be present in each moment, which means truly enjoying every aspect of the holidays. Being present means not obsessing over calories while at a party, and not passing up opportunities because they might put a halt to my routine.
As I’m learning to enjoy the season and take every part of it in, I’m learning a lot about what it means to stay ‘fit’ throughout the year. How to not let all your hard-work fall by the wayside as workout time decreases in those dark months. How to change your definition of ‘fit’ to accommodate every stage in life. But mostly, how to feel confident and proud without passing up everything this holiday season has to offer.
Here are some realistic ways to stay fit this holiday season, while still getting the most out of it.
How to Stay Fit Throughout the Holidays
Prioritize: Prioritizing is my secret weapon to stay fit throughout the holidays. While I love all of the extra activities this time of year brings, they sure do make it hard to complete all of our daily tasks and errands. When I plan out my day or week, I spend some time looking through my to do list and prioritizing the things that are most important to me. During the holidays, the things that are most important are often ones that help me feel confident and healthy. Sometimes that means getting in a really sweaty workout, while other times it means having enough time to cook a healthy dinner at home.Whatever is most important to you, make that your priority for the day. That way, if you only end up having time to complete one thing, you know it’ll be the one thing you need the most.
Be realistic: Similar to prioritizing, being realistic each day helps me plan most effectively. Understanding that some days are going to be jam packed with activities reminds me that there are days when workouts or healthy, homemade meals just won’t be happening. When I look ahead through my day or week, I try to honestly tell myself how long I anticipate each activity taking. When I head out to a holiday party, I understand the fact that I am going to be eating some sweet treats. Knowing this ahead of time helps me feel less guilty because I am able to plan for it and have already set my mindset to allow myself to celebrate. Trying to stay fit throughout the holidays doesn’t mean you need to complete your most intense workouts or pass up every holiday treat, you just have to find a balance.
Plan ahead: The over-arching theme of having a successful holiday season always seems to be planning ahead. Knowing what days are going to be busy, and when I’ll have some free time during the week helps tremendously. I’m able to plan my workouts ahead of time, including rest days, so I don’t feel pressured to squeeze one in when I am bouncing around from place to place. Planning ahead also helps me stay balanced with treats and healthy meals, because I’m able to meal prep for those nights when I know I’ll be out late. Having meals ready to go ahead of time is a life saver on those busy days, and prevents me from choosing cookies for dinner.
Find like-minded friends: It is so hard to turn down a sweet treat or holiday beverage when you are out with a group of people who are treating themselves. Surrounding yourself with friends who have similar goals and mindsets is a game changer. Treating yourself is absolutely okay, but when you’re trying to stay fit throughout the holidays make healthy decisions and everyone around you is indulging, it becomes nearly impossible to say no. Friends and family who are working towards the same goal will help keep you motivated to succeed.
Don’t get skimpy with water: My biggest weapon for staying healthy and motivated during the holidays is water. No matter what situation I’m in, I can always tell if I haven’t had enough water. Even if I was on a health cruise with vegetables and relaxation, I’d know if I was dehydrated. Staying hydrated keeps my mind fresh and my body energized. Whenever I start to get dehydrated I feel a little more sluggish and am way less likely to get anything done. I take my water bottle with me everywhere – in the car, to a party, out shopping, when I’m traveling… you name it. Having that water bottle around keeps me accountable and reminds me to drink water even when I’m drinking plenty of other liquids.
Relax: If there’s ever a time to sit back and enjoy yourself, the holidays are it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the endless tasks that need to be completed before Christmas – the shopping, Christmas cards, baking, etc. Just when you start to feel the most stressed about getting everything done, remind yourself of the meaning behind this time of year. Spend some time inside by the fire when it’s cold and dark outside. Let yourself enjoy some down time with your loved ones. Don’t feel guilty about it – relaxation helps your mind recharge and leaves you refreshed to be more productive in less time.
Everything in moderation: My motto throughout the year. Never tell yourself you can’t have something because it will always make you want it more. Even if you manage to stay away from it, telling yourself you can’t have something just adds stress on your mind and feels like a punishment. If you want that Christmas cookie, have it. If you want to enjoy the holiday punch, have a glass. Just don’t go overboard. I always allow myself some treats at holiday gatherings and never look back. If you’ve had a few too many Christmas cookies, just make sure you get back on track the next day. This season certainly is not about punishing yourself.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy this season. Spend time with your loved ones, give gifts to others, and make choices that help you feel confident and healthy. The last thing you want to do at this time of year is stress yourself out and punish yourself after every holiday gathering. Planning to stay fit throughout the holidays means moderation, health and confidence. Enjoy the season, and remember that it won’t last forever.