It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless “health” is still on your Christmas or New Year’s list. With more stress, less sleep, a few extra drinks, tasty treats and a dwindling fitness routine, you could probably use these secret holiday survival hacks.
HAVE A GOAL
Does it seem odd to have a goal that is specific to surviving the holiday to season? It might at first, but the reality is if you don’t have a target, you’ll rarely hit it.
Examples could include the number days you’ll fitness each week, how many off track meals you’ll allow, or what time you’ll be in bed.
Whatever the goal, base it on an action step you can be in control of.
Losing 5 pounds is an outcome you might love to accomplish, but it’s not one that is entirely in your hands. Following the steps to reach that milestone are…so focus on those and do your best to not get attached to the outcome.
PLAN YOUR HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
It goes without saying (or at least it should), being more organized is a tried and true success principle.
Have you ever heard the statement “those who fail to plan are planning to fail”?
Map out your entire holiday schedule. What days will I exercise? When are my parties?
Being clear on what to expect will make it easier to stick to your plan.
HAVE A PARTY GAMEPLAN
Now it’s time to celebrate! Do you make it a free for all or could you still enjoy much of the holiday fare without the follow-up guilt?
How many treats are you going have? Which ones?
Time to eat? Pick a smaller plate.
Drinks? Wine and beer tend to be lower in calories than hard liquor.
EAT MORE PROTEIN
One of the best hacks for the holidays (and every other time of the year) to keep your health on track is building your meals around the protein sources most available to you.
When the appetizers arrive, find the meat platter and avoid the crackers, deep-fried foods and other high sugar, high carbohydrate traps.
For the main course, fill your plate with meat and veggies and leave only small amount of room for those hard to turn down morsels.
Although we may feel the need to eat consistently or have the belief that long periods without sustenance will lead to starvation, neither is true.
In the vast majority of cases, our bodies have more than enough energy stores to last us beyond a few days, let alone a few hours.
Even fasting for 8-12 hours a day can have dramatic effects on reducing hunger.
Consider that during the holidays you’re likely to partake in some festivities that include more calories… decreasing the perceived need to eat and, by simply lowering the overall caloric intake outside your “party” times, you’re stacking the deck more in your favour.
Water is a natural appetite suppressant. It helps to fill the stomach leading to a feeling of fullness and decreasing hunger signalling.
People often misread their thirst queue for being hungry, and unnecessarily reach for a snack.
Drinking water throughout the day can go a long way to minimizing one’s impulse to reach for food (not usually the healthy kind) that can derail health efforts in a hurry.
CRANK UP THE EFFORT
The final hack may be slightly more challenging if you’re not already incorporating fitness into your lifestyle, but it can still be done!
Number one… on the days of your biggest events, be sure to exercise.
For some it could mean a strength training or conditioning session and for others, it may be as simple as going for a walk.
Whatever your normal fitness routine, stay consistent and be especially sure to schedule a session on the days you’ll be potentially going most off track.
Number two…push those workouts towards the more difficult end of your fitness spectrum.
The more challenging the routine, the more “debt” you’re creating. This means the extra sugar; calories and alcohol will have less of an impact, as your body will process them differently.
Please don’t use this as an excuse to fall off the wagon completely, but it is one of the most powerful hacks that will help you survive the holiday season.
What holiday hacks have worked best for you?