It is holiday time again, and that means tons of cookies, cakes and other yummy sweet and savory goodies will have you surrounded. Many people will tell you, “Get fit now! Don’t wait until New Year’s to start on your fitness resolution!” That’s good advice…BUT, let’s be honest. Who’s really going on a holiday diet? No one, that’s who.
The reality is, if you LIKE to eat, you already know that avoiding all that yummy holiday food is beyond difficult.
Many of us (especially ladies) make a commitment each year promising not to give in to holiday diet temptation. Then, when we slip up, we get down on ourselves. Sometimes this may lead to full-on diet rebellion, where we say, “Oh whatever, I’ll get back on track for New Year’s,” and then dive head-first into a downward spiral of delicious, chocolatey, self-destruction.
Don’t fall into this trap! Set realistic goals for yourself, but at the same time, put a few rules in place to help keep yourself from going overboard and ruining a full year’s hard work in one holiday season.
5 Tips to Avoid Unwanted Holiday Weight Gain
Eat before parties
Common sense would say that eating before attending a holiday party will help curb your appetite so that you don’t eat any bad stuff. If you’re greedy like me, that may not always stop you, but at least if you’re full on a healthy meal, you will eat LESS of those pigs in a blanket, cookies, etc.
Watch the drinks
Yes alcohol is wonderful (in my opinion). It’s also easy to forget that you’re drinking calories. If I have to choose between a glass of wine and red velvet cake, as much as I love a good wine, I’m going for the cake every time. Have water with your holiday meals. It will not only help you get full quicker, but you’re also not piling on extra calories on top of that yummy food. If you really like to drink, that’s fine too, just remember to take that into account when choosing your meals for the day.
Amp up your workout
Since you already know there will be quite a few cheat meals this month (and don’t forget last month too), adjust your workout to help counteract the effects of the extra calories. Try extending your cardio sessions an extra 15-30 minutes each day, or doing more high-rep weight lifting (instead of low-rep, heavy lifting) to avoid gaining mass from the extra calorie intake. (Unless of course you are bulking, then those calories just may come in handy!) Also, you might find yourself less likely to pick up that cookie after sweating for an hour on the StairMaster.
Focus on one area to improve before the new year
It’s important not to set yourself up for failure, and since staying away from chocolate isn’t going to happen for me before Jan. 1, I plan to focus on something I know I can accomplish. I will be focusing on increasing my water intake, starting with 1/2 gallon per day and getting up to a gallon per day by Jan. 1st. That way, I will have a jump start on my New Year’s fit goals, but also will be setting myself up for success by knowing that this is something I can complete successfully.
Understand that everyone is different
If you are the type of person that can resist diet temptations, awesome! Stick with it and don’t let anyone knock you off of your path of self-control. If you are the type of person who can eat whatever you want without worrying about your figure, I hate you, why are you here? (Just kidding…sorta).
However, if your will power is a bit weak sometimes, like mine, instead of beating yourself up about that extra helping of peppermint bark, stay positive about fitness by focusing on good things you can do to improve yourself this holiday season. Instead of a holiday diet, make it holiday self control. Come New Year’s, you might be surprised at the headstart you already have on getting the body you want.
Note: This post was updated Dec. 1, 2017.