Staying On Track During the Holidays

The holidays have a bad reputation for derailing our health and fitness goals. While it is true that it seems all too easy to give in to all the treats and skip workouts, it’s 100% possible to stay on track! 

Remember, it’s alllll about balance. Do not beat yourself up if you do indulge in moderation. Don’t beat yourself if you opt to spend time with friends or family and skip a workout or two along the way, either. After all, friends and family are what this time of year is all about! However, don’t make the holidays an excuse to deviate from your fitness goals completely. 

Success all starts with making a plan. Maybe you know that you will spend all weekend with friends and family and will opt out of your regular weekend workout routine. Instead of just tossing it aside, plan other ways to move. Do a shorter workout at home, take a walk, or get the family involved and go sledding, ice skating, or anything that gets you moving! If you have time, you can also fit in extra workouts in the days before holiday events so that you go into that time knowing that you’ve already completed your goals for the week! 

Speaking of plans, it’s always a good idea to plan out meals for the week. If you know that you will attend a holiday party and will likely not make the best food choices, make sure that you plan on super healthy meals in the days leading up to or after that event. Again, it’s all about balance! It’s okay to partake in all of the typical holiday foods, and balancing that with healthier meals throughout the week is a great way to create a meal plan that won’t make you feel like you aren’t reaching your goals. Whatever you do, though, don’t skip meals. Skipping meals leaves you hungrier and more likely to over-indulge. It is also bad for your metabolism and mental state to skip meals, so if you don’t have time to cook a full meal, keep some healthy snacks on hand for when you get busy.

And as always, don’t forget to drink enough water! Being dehydrated leaves you feeling exhausted and often causes you to eat more. With all the holiday activities, forgetting to keep up with your daily water intake is easy. If you have to, get one of those big jugs and measure how much water you need! Either way, be mindful of your body’s needs and plan to be strict with yourself about staying hydrated! Your body will thank you!

Now that you have a plan for food and exercise make a self-care plan. Many of us have a lot of stress due to holiday activities. Regardless of how much you might love the Christmas season, you must admit that all the gift-buying, planning events, traveling, and caring for other people’s needs leave you with little room for caring for yourself. Instead of ignoring your own needs, structure time to do things that serve you. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, proper self-care helps you avoid holiday burn-out, reduces stress, and sets you up for success. Take a few moments to check in with yourself. What do YOU need? How do YOU feel? Never ignore your mental health- ask for help if you need it, take a break if you need to, and remember that it’s ok if you can’t do everything all of the time. If you don’t take care of your own needs, you’re unlikely to be able to stick to your goals, which can make you feel worse. Plan out time to do something for yourself at least once a week and stick to it! 

Above all, remember that we are all human! We all slip up, so even if you don’t stick to your goals 100% of the time, remember that you can always get back on track. Remember your goals and why you made those goals; it makes it easier to stick to them or get back to it!