The holiday season is upon us and the common issues that I see with many of my clients are stress, lower levels of exercise, and increased food and drink consumption. An abundance of family, food preparation, gift purchasing, and travel are common issues that each of us face during this time of the year. Did I mention stress? What typically happens is the priority of exercise takes a back seat to the stress of the holidays, so here are some recommendations to get though the next month.
Exercise first thing in the morning. You may have to juggle your routine a bit or even wake up an hour earlier, but you can use that time to plan out your day before the chaos starts. For many, it can give them a peace of mind to tolerate the stress of the day and allow them to be more efficient. Additionally, exercise will allow the body to prepare itself for all of the stress.
Plan your exercise based on the food consumption of the day. If you are planning a big meal (or two in many situations) for Thanksgiving make time for a rigorous workout the morning of and day after to offset the calories consumed.
Control your portion size. Many people look at the holidays as an excuse to gorge themselves. Look at it as any other day. It’s ok to sample many of the dishes that are served on Thanksgiving and at other Holiday Parties, but take smaller portions of each. Also, focus more on foods that have higher protein content and less of the simple sugars like pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes.
Consider online shopping or at the very least, plan your shopping visits. Many of my clients stress out because they are spending a lot of time going to the mall and other stores multiple times. A little forethought can reduce the number of trips and therefore the level of stress.
Plan your meals around shopping and traveling. When things get stressful, people often look for the quickest meal that they can get. This typically means fast food. Bad idea. One strategy you might consider is eating a healthy meal at home before you travel or go to the mall. You will be less likely to stop for fast food if you are not hungry when you arrive.
Plan for holiday parties. Holiday parties are inevitable, but a little planning can go a long way to keeping those pounds of and keeping you on your workout regimen. Follow the same recommendation for Thanksgiving. Workout intensely before and the day after. This will also reduce the dreaded morning hangover. Additionally, try to limit the consumption of adult beverages. They are full of empty calories and the inevitable hangover will reduce your desire to workout the next day or two. Make sure that you hydrate well before the party as this will lower your appetite and reduce your hangover. Finally, eat before you go to the party and you won’t feel the need to eat all of the hor’dourves offered.
Planning is your best defense against holiday overeating, but it will allow you to enjoy the holidays without all of the stress and guilt and keep you on the right path with your workouts. Enjoy the holiday season!