Can you believe that the year is almost over? December has arrived and the holiday celebrations are really picking up. With all the gatherings it can, at times, be a real challenge to stay true to your health and fitness routines. But, with some thoughtful preparations, you can enjoy the festivities and stay on track.
Some suggestions may seem logical to the avid Isagenix participant, but they are worth repeating to reinforce the ways that everyone determined to stay on track during the holiday season can be successful. And maybe you’ll find a new approach that will help you stay on track through the holiday season. Here are my suggestions:
1. Be faithful to your exercise program
If you have visitors coming for the holidays, or you are the one visiting family, expect that your normal exercise routine may be time constrained. But, postponing your workout plans until after the holidays is a procrastination trap that can undo all of your good work. Plan ahead for the time you know you need to stay active and then do take care of your physical fitness. If you normally workout in the afternoon or evening, try switching your exercise program to the morning before the day gets too busy and you are left without any exercise.
2. Holiday proof your diet
The best way to stay on track with your personal fitness and nutritional program is to never skip a meal, whether that is a small lunch or an Isagenix shake close to your normal meal plan. Going without a meal because you’ll be going out later in the day can lower your blood sugar level and will only increase your chances of overeating when the food is served. Be determined to stay within your daily calorie count by eating less at the celebration. If the food is served in a buffet style, use a small plate and concentrate on foods that do not require a fork, such as fruits and vegetables. If you are looking forward to having a sweet dessert, eat less carbohydrates during the meal and save those calories for that slice of cake or a few cookies. If you are going to a house party, offer to bring a dish that can be enjoyed by everyone while also keeping you on track with your diet and fitness plans.
Another wonderful way to cut back on holiday dining is to communicate, a lot, with the people at the party. It may seem too simple, but the more you chat, the less you eat. After all, bringing people together is one of the main reasons for the gathering. Whether you are the host, or at a party, leftovers have a way of ending up in the refrigerator. Don’t panic. Unless there is someone who really wants the leftovers, the trash bin is just a few feet away and it always welcomes what no one is going to eat.
3. Stay hydrated
With all of the caffeinated and alcoholic beverages served during celebrations, it’s easy to become hydrated. And, sometimes your brain may confuse your need for water with a need for food. The best laid plan is to stay with your daily quota of water. If you are looking forward to having a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail at a party, make a plan to have a glass of water before or after the alcohol. Be determined to stay on track with your wellness program and don’t let anyone pressure you to drink more alcohol than you know you can safely handle. Skip an alcoholic drink in favor of a cold glass of water with a slice of lemon or lime. Drink a large glass of water before indulging in any of the high calorie appetizers or meals.
4. Sleep is important
The holiday season often means going out more, getting home later than usual, and getting less sleep. Not getting enough quality sleep can leave you feeling out of sorts, making it harder for you to control your blood sugar levels. It’s also harder to resist mindless eating when you are sleep deprived. Stay on track by getting your normal amount of sleep. Occasionally, a short 30 or 45 minute afternoon nap may be the trick to keep you mentally alert and in control of your eating habits late into the evening.
5. Plan for the unexpected
The office can be a mine field of unexpected holiday treats. Bosses often host an office party full of calorie rich dishes, and co-workers love to bring in their favorite holiday pastries to share with everyone. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling when they want to share the holiday spirit. One problem solver to allow you to stay on track is to take a fork full of one or two dishes, and then just keep the food on your plate without actually eating it. If you do indulge, eat slowly and chew your food at least 20 times between bites. You can always thank a co-worker for their pastries and even ask for the receipt. Keep the pastry on your desk and tell your co-worker you’re going to take it home to have as dessert with your dinner.
6. Jump back into your routine
If you do indulge more than you had planned to do, do not berate yourself. There are times when you may not be in control of your schedule or what foods are being served. Whether you are celebrating for one night or several, get back to your daily personal program right away. You are only human and an occasional meal, drink, or dessert does not mean the end of your personal goal. Don’t let one or two days of celebration become an excuse to overeat and to skip exercising. Another way to get in some exercise if you have guests, or you are the guest, is to suggest that everyone goes for a walk after dinner. Fresh air and good conversation are invigorating techniques for staying on track.
7. Plan to have a good time
Remember that being with friends and family is one of the main reasons of the season. Some of the people you celebrate with are those you may see regularly, but there will be others that you only see once a year. Tis the season to be jolly, not groggy. Catch up on the events in people’s lives, take pictures, laugh, and have a really good time. Enjoy those special moments.