The holiday season is officially upon us.
And I have to be honest…I love this time of the year.
Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas cookies, hot cocoa and cider…just thinking about it gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
But with all of these amazing, nostalgic things that make the holiday season so great, oftentimes they bring weight gain and guilt along with them.
Staying healthy during holidays while still enjoying yourself, has always seemed like an impossible task.
You hear people wondering how they’re going to survive the holiday season. But who really wants to look at the most wonderful time of the year in this light?
Certainly not me. And I’m sure you don’t as well.
That’s why I’ve put together this list of 10 tips, allowing you not just to survive this holiday season, but to actually thrive.
Yes, it’s true.
Losing weight, more energy, improved health…these can all be accomplished simply by integrating a few adjustments to your holiday routine.
Give these a try this season, and let me know what you think:
1) Utilize Intermittent Fasting
Whether you’re an experienced faster like me or are just starting out, intermittent fasting is an amazing tool during the holiday season.
Here are the facts:
During this time of the year, you WILL overeat. It’s almost a necessity at this point. I mean let’s be real – Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated entirely to eating a massive feast.
So rather than trying to fight this or restrict yourself, I find it’s a much easier and more enjoyable strategy to utilize intermittent fasting. By skipping breakfast in the days leading up to your holiday event or feast, you can limit your food rather easily, while giving yourself more room on the day itself.
Another strategy I myself like to implement are 24-hour fast, either the day before or after I plan to overindulge. Therefore, you can literally consume an entire extra day’s worth of calories (which most of us end up doing on Thanksgiving) while still making progress!
That is provided you get back on track during the other days.
Remember it’s a holiDAY, not a holiWEEK. Don’t let one day turn in multiple, that’s where the real damage is actually done.
2) Stay Hydrated
Incredibly important? Also yes.
Most of us aren’t drinking nearly enough water on a daily basis. But I promise you, once you’re adequately hydrating on a consistent basis, good things start to happen.
You have more energy.
You’re less hungry.
Your workouts improve.
Your skin is brighter.
The list of benefits is endless. A good place to start is to divide your body weight (in lbs) by two, and then add 15 to that number. That is how much water, in ounces, you should be drinking on a daily basis.
3) Avoid Processed Foods
It really doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, this is a tip everyone should follow. But especially during the holiday season.
There is already enough temptation and delicious food around that is homemade and WAAAY better in my opinion.
Ditch the packaged chips, cookies, and snacks and save those extra calories for mashed potatoes, warm apple pie, fresh-baked gingerbread cookies, and whatever you’re mom’s specialty is (we’re Italian, so it’s lasagna in our house).
4) Use the buddy system
Many people report success with their health and weight loss goals, usually have a friend or coach on the journey with them.
Try to find a friend or family member who has similar weight goals, as this person can keep you motivated and accountable over the holidays.
You can also think about hiring a coach or joining a group challenge, as this will keep you invested in your goals and give you a perfect answer when maybe some other “not-so-healthy” friends & family start inquiring as to why you’re not stuffing your face every day like everyone else.
(You all know who I’m talking about).
5) Take Weekly Averages
Taking weekly averages…what the hell do I mean by this?
Well, when it comes to making sure that you’re consistently making progress, I big fan of tracking and using data. Not necessarily for your entire life, but definitely during periods when you have a specific weight loss goal.
The two things I highly recommend tracking are your caloric intake (& macronutrients), along with your weight.
Many people do this already. But what many people fail to realize is that obsessing over the daily numbers isn’t necessarily the best approach, especially this time of the year.
Instead, focus on taking the weekly average of both your calories and your weight.
This will give you a much more accurate representation of where you stand in terms of progression.
Rather trying to calculate calories on the day of a holiday feast or weighing yourself right after and completely freaking yourself out…try this:
Determine what you’re weekly caloric deficit should be based on your goals, activity level, and lifestyle.
Consider what “big” events you have that week where you may over-consume and roughly estimate your caloric intake for the day ahead of time.
Take the remaining calories you have left in your weekly budget, and simply divide those for the remaining days. This is called calorie-cycling, in which you consume different amounts of food on a daily basis, but still, end up at the same point each week.
Weigh yourself every day, at the same time, preferably in the morning after waking. Again, if the scale goes up, don’t get concerned. We want to look at the weekly average after recording 7-days worth of data – that’s the “real” number.
6) Practice Gratitude
A little corny, but hear me out on this one.
A lot of the time, this season is filled with stress & excess. Work gets crazy, bigger meals, family drama, money problems, gifts & presents, cold weather…
Taking a second to remember all the amazing things you have in your life can work wonders for your mood and overall health. This isn’t just some “woo-woo” advice, there’s actual science that backs this up.
Studies have shown that those who express gratitude on a daily basis are almost always healthier across multiple bio-markers. When I journal in the morning 3 things I’m grateful for, I’m that day always better than on the ones when I forget.
Most of you will brush this one-off, but those who don’t will benefit tremendously.
7) Drink Red Wine
Wait a minute, what’s this one doing on the list?!
Believe it or not, studies have shown that in moderation (I’m talking 1-2 small glasses a day, not the whole bottle), red wine can actually provide many health benefits.
Not only that, but red wine is also very low in calories when compared to most other alcohol and pairs really well with almost any holiday food.
In general, alcohol isn’t the best thing for health & fitness goals. However, for a lot of us, it’s an enjoyable part of this time of the year. Just by being a little more mindful, you’ll put yourself in a much better position than most.
8) Stay Active
This is a big one. Overeating a few times is one thing, but when you combine it with being completely sedentary day after day, that’s when things really start to go downhill.
Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean your activity and exercise habits should change. Rather, try readjusting instead:
Make it a priority to get to the gym, and try to line it up during times when you’re already out and about so you don’t go home and lose motivation.
Walk as much as you can. If it’s cold outside, bundle up or hit the treadmill. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase weight loss, without an increase in appetite or loss of muscle (which can sometimes occur from traditional cardio).
Do home workouts. They’re easy to set up and if done correctly, can really help you expend energy, break a sweat, and release those feel-good endorphins that are 100% necessary as it gets colder and darker.
9) Plan Ahead
If you’re really looking at it closely, those who are prepared are usually those who are healthy.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to meal prep or know exactly what you’re going to eat every day of the month…but every week should at least have some sort of a plan to make sure you’re able to stay on track and still enjoy yourself.
Consider your schedule. Are you traveling?
Where and when can you work out? Put that in your calendar and stick to it.
What days do you expect to go out & overeat? What are you doing during the days before to allow yourself that flexibility?
Again, nothing crazy or obsessive, but having some semblance of a plan goes such a long way when it comes to successfully achieving health & fitness goals, especially during the holiday season.
10) Enjoy Yourself
The most important tip of them all.
Yes, this season does sometimes lend itself to being unhealthy, but that’s not what it’s truly about at the end of the day.
Enjoy delicious food.
Laugh and drink with friends & family.
Relax, stay warm, have fun.
Losing weight & getting healthy doesn’t need to be thrown aside during the holidays.
If you want to learn how to implement all of these healthy tips (especially #10) during this season, I highly recommend you join my 4-week “Fast & Feast” Holiday Challenge!
It will have everything you need to crush your health and fitness goals, while still enjoying everything this season has to offer, so you can look & feel your best before 2020.
Enrollment closes on November 20th and the challenge starts on the 21st – So don’t wait!