By Emily McLaughlin
While the holidays are typically full of happiness and cheer, all of those good times could take a toll on your health. First, let’s talk about the weather — it’s colder out and much more difficult to get out for your usual run. If this doesn’t apply to you, maybe you can relate to getting home from work and skipping out on the gym because you “don’t want to go back out in the cold.” Or maybe you don’t want to go back out because you’ve just been “so gosh-darn busy lately” between running back and forth to the mall, attending holiday parties, going to see your baby cousin’s Christmas play and eating dinner with the family.
Needless to say, there is a significant amount of indulging going on during the holidays… in every sense of the word. As a result, we tend to put our goals to the side and abandon our healthy habits.
Cut it out!
Holidays are cheery, but also pretty stressful. Do you body some good and sweat a little. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to burn off that extra glass of wine or piece of pie.
5 tips for having a skinny holiday:
1. Plan tomorrow’s gym session before today ends.
When you get home from the gym, work or wherever you are coming from today, pack your gym bag right away and decide what you are going to do there tomorrow. The other night, I came home from doing Hot Yoga followed by Insanity Asylum (crazy, I know), unpacked my gym bag, and put in an outfit for Zumba the next day. With the preparation for Zumba done, half the battle was over. I know it sounds silly, but I promise it will work. If your gym bag is packed in the morning for you to grab on your way out the door, you don’t really have an excuse for missing your workout.
2. Set your resolutions now.
Why the heck are you waiting until New Years!? Half of the reasons you don’t want to work out are still going to be there come January 1st, i.e. money will still be tight, it will still be cold and you will still be busy. Find a gym schedule that will work for you, or find an at-home workout that suits your exercise style. Talk to your company and see if you are entitled to any health benefits pertaining to gym memberships. A lot of companies offer discounts or reimbursements for employees–look into it.
3. Hydrate by drinking more water and consuming less salt.
This is a flat-belly trick in general. You are going to be around people you probably haven’t interacted with since the 2011 holiday season and you want to look good, right? Hydrating will flush your body of toxins — it is a natural detoxification. Salt retains fluids in the body, so ridding your diet of extra salt will help you slim down–just hide that salt shaker. Here are more flat-belly tips from a while back.
4. Plan meals ahead.
When you eating at a party or gathering, do your best to watch what you put into your mouth. It’s easy to stand around and chit-chat, holding a glass of wine, while picking at the cheese and crackers, but try not to do it. Grazing is bad. Any time you eat, make a plate and site down with it so that you are more mindful of what you are consuming.
This goes for when you are at home as well. Plan your meals the night before (like your gym bag, the preparation is half the battle) and sit down when you eat. If you are going to a dinner party, make a dish. This way you know there is at least one healthy food in the spread. If you are going out to eat, look at the menu ahead of time — knowing what your options are ahead of time will stop you from making spontaneous, unhealthy decisions.
5. Cardio, cardio and more cardio to keep you energized.
Cardiovascular activity will keep you body energized, giving you more energy to do other things throughout the day and consequently helping you stay slim through the holidays.
Right now, your body is trying to go into hibernation mode. I’ll admit, that sounds absolutely lovely… but I know that if I slow down, I won’t reach my goals. One thing that has been motivating me to do cardio is an upcoming 5k race. Sign up for a winter walk/run in your neighborhood to keep you moving (I think I’ll do one in December, one in January, and then maybe some more). If signing up for races doesn’t seem appealing, set another goal! Anything is possible.
Have a happy, healthy holiday. <3