On average, an American adult gains almost two pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. With the stress of travel, the tempting call of pumpkin pie, the cutely named holiday cocktails and all the parties at work, it’s no wonder a few extra pounds manage to sneak their way into our celebrations.
But you can stay fit during the holidays—without giving up all the fun, delicious parts of the season. Instead, build healthy habits into your celebrations to enjoy your holidays without guilt. Try out the fun activities below to stay fit during the holidays.
Start a new tradition
Many families have traditions that center around food, whether it is enjoying a cup of apple cider together or digging in to a Christmas ham. You can start your own, new traditions that don’t involve food. These traditions can put you in the holiday spirit without increasing your caloric intake. Some new traditions might include:
- Decorating the house as a family
- Taking special holiday shopping trips together
- Listening to your favorite holiday music
- Watching holiday movies (with healthy snacks like low-calorie popcorn)
- Telling a family story every night when you light the menorah
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter to serve others
Take in the lights
One way to combat all the extra calories you eat during the holidays is to get a little extra exercise. You don’t have to squeeze in another visit to the gym; simply head out into your neighborhood for a tour of the best holiday light displays. You can take the whole family or just a cup of your favorite black coffee or tea. By walking just 30 minutes every day, you’ll burn around 700 calories in one week.
Try a little of everything
Holiday dishes are often full of sugar and fat, but portion control can help you enjoy these foods without packing on the pounds. Instead of taking normal size portions, try taking just a spoonful of everything you want on the holiday table. You’ll be able to sample everyone’s delicious dishes and stick to your daily calories needs.
A great night’s sleep helps keep your metabolism, blood sugar and blood pressure at healthy levels. Take advantage of the holiday vacation by getting plenty of sleep every night—even if it means sleeping until the sun has been up for a while.
Don’t make a weight-loss resolution
The most popular New Year’s resolution every year is to lose weight. This year, don’t join that club. Forgive yourself if you eat a little too much on the holidays and just return to your normal diet.
Instead of dieting or joining the stampede to the gym in January, make a resolution that gets you excited about 2018. Some fun resolutions might include:
- Completing a 5k, 10k or half marathon
- Redecorating a room in your home
- Spending more time with your kids
You ate a brownie in the office. You skipped the gym yesterday to go shopping. You haven’t gone on a walk in a week because it’s just too icy and cold. You think maybe you just won’t be able to get fit in 2018 after all.
The year is long; don’t give up on your fitness resolution yet! Even if your January isn’t going as planned, you can get back on track to meet your fitness resolutions by following these tips:
Find a partner
It might be easy to skip the gym if you’re the only one going. It’s much harder to skip your gym time, jog or yoga class if you’re supposed to meet a friend there. Find a friend who has a similar resolution to you and keep each other accountable.
Ditch the old plan
If your resolution is to lose weight, you have a lot of ways you can achieve that goal. If you try a low-carb diet first and hate it, try something else instead or add more carbs back into your day. Don’t be afraid to be flexible and change up your plan as the year passes; just never give up on your original goal.
Don’t forget to include rewards in your resolution plan. For instance, if you meet your goal of jogging every day for two weeks, go get a pedicure or purchase a small item you’ve been wanting. You can even reward yourself with quality time, like an hour to read a book or a nice long bubble bath. Just make sure the reward makes you feel good about your accomplishment.
Be gentle with yourself
Not every day goes as planned. On the days that get derailed by a sick child, a broken washing machine or a stressful day at work, don’t beat yourself up for skipping the gym. Be kind to yourself and know that you’ll get back on track as soon as possible.
Remember your reasons
Why did you make a resolution to get more fit? Is it so you have the energy to keep up with your child? So you have less pain in your joints? So you simply feel better about yourself? Remind yourself of these reasons every day to help you stay on track.
Put a picture or note that represents your goal in places you can see it, like on the bathroom mirror, your computer at work or on your car dashboard. These reminders will help you make good choices when you’re struggling.
Track your progress
Sometimes, we need to see our progress to keep going. For instance, maybe you work out for three days in a row then skip a day. If you focus on the day you skipped, you miss all the good you’ve done. Find a way to track your progress so you can understand what you’ve accomplished.
You can use apps or even just mark off days on the calendar that you meet your goal. Seeing your progress helps you stay motivated and focused on the positive changes you’ve made.
Ask your doctor for help
Your physician is your partner in health and fitness. He or she can give health advice that’s personalized to your needs. They can also refer you to dietitians or physical therapists who can help you work toward your fitness goals.
If you’re struggling to keep your resolution or need help getting back on track, make an appointment with a physician at Women’s Care Florida. Together, you can develop a plan that will help you keep your resolution in 2018.