Top 10 Holiday Fitness Tips

And what a week it was! As most of you know – I am a die-hard, lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. This past week has been my heaven. For those living in a bubble, the Cubs came back from a 3-1 game deficit to win 3 games in a row to win it all. It was painful, laborious, gut-wrenching, beautiful and epic – all in one. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908 – and it was one of the most amazing World Series ever in how it played out. It’s been a happy week in the Meng household.

Now I can take a deep breath and…wait! It’s time for the holidays?! How did this happen? I’ve never been so invested in post-season baseball this far into the year because…well…the Cubs have never been there in my lifetime! More stress?? I don’t know if I can handle much more!

Let’s face it: as much as the holidays are a beautiful and wonderful time of year – it’s also the most stressful for many people. And we all know it is really hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays.  Everywhere we turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at office parties to our own traditional family favorites. When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, you have a recipe for disaster as far as our scales are concerned.
I have a challenge for you this year! Instead of waiting until January 1st to begin making good decisions and essentially “righting the ship” from the debacle that was the last month and a half, I want you to have a different goal this holiday season.

Your Holiday Challenge – Maintenance

It will take some effort, but you will thank yourself a thousand times when January 1st rolls around and you have no regrets!

This is a better goal than trying to lose. Remember: you want to enjoy the holidays, not be miserable from deprivation. The holidays are a time to enjoy your family and take a minute to appreciate this life. Life is too short to live by “rules” all the time, right? This means that you will allow yourself occasional treats and splurges and keep the scale where it is rather than trying to actually decrease your weight.

Here are 10 Holiday Fitness Tips

  1. Don’t skip your workouts.  Even moderate intensity workouts can burn 300-400 calories per hour.  You need this calorie-burn to keep up with the richer food that you will be eating. You will also be less likely to overeat if you have just sweated through a hard workout!
  2. Eat breakfast.  People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than those who skip this important meal.
  3. Keep a food diary.  Write down every single thing you eat—even if it is only one bite of shrimp cocktail. It is a proven fact that keeping a food journal results in better weight control than not keeping one.
  4. Monitor your hunger.  Never show up at a party or buffet ravenous—you will most certainly overeat.  Drink water and have a protein-filled snack (such as nuts or cheese) before arriving. This will help you to have more self-control around the temptations.
  5. Weigh yourself twice each week. Normally it is not a good idea to step on the scale too often, but during the holidays it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals. If you see the scale start to creep, you can immediately take steps to correct it, such as backing off your calories for a day or two, drinking more water and adding in a little more exercise.
  6. Watch your portion size.  If you have an idea of how much food you are putting on your plate, you will be less likely to overdo it. Take a look at the chart to familiarize yourself with portion sizes as they compare to your hand.
  7. Deal quickly with leftovers. If you have unhealthy leftovers in your home, you are likely to indulge. Don’t leave them sitting around. Freeze them, give them away (even better) or toss them. It’s not worth the temptation!
  8. Check in with your future self.  Every day, speak to yourself from the future—say, from January 1. Thank yourself for doing the tough work of self-discipline during these holiday weeks. You might say something like this:“Thank you! I feel great! I’m no heavier than I was in November, I’ve stayed on track with my exercise, my energy is incredible and I’ve got the momentum to spend the rest of the winter getting in even better shape before spring gets here!”
  9. Go public.  Sound scary?  It’s supposed to!  Let others know what your current weight is and check in with them each time you weigh yourself.  That kind of intense accountability will give you will power when the cheesecake and fudge starts showing up at the office!
  10. Keep this goal top of mind. This one is really simple. Write yourself a note and stick it to your mirror in your bathroom, your dashboard in your car, etc. Reminders to stay on track with this goal to maintain. It’s easy to get lost in the chaos. Keep your goal fresh with this simple trick.

You can survive the holidays with no added weight gain.  Remember these tips and keep a vision of what you want to feel like on January 1 in mind.  It’s going to be a great holiday season! I’m excited!

And one last time – Go Cubbies!

P.S. If you need any help with more ideas on how to maintain your weight or need some additional accountability to this goal, please contact us and let us know. I’m happy to help!