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Staying Fit During the Holiday Season

Posted Dec 03 2009 7:13am
NHerShoes Guide to Staying Fit During the Holiday Season
 

The holidays are a time to celebrate, and boy, do we make the most of it. We EAT we DRINK, we indulge and then we end up feeling like bloated whales by the time it's all over. Staying healthy through the holidays is quite the challenge. I am trying to do my best to stay on track in my eating and exercise through the week, but on the weekends it gets soooo hard! I want to ENJOY all the holiday has to offer including all the party FOOD. I can stay away from most of the sweets because that is not my true weakness, it’s all the appetizers, drinks, and food that is so tempting to just say “hey this holiday comes only once a year enjoy, enjoy”, but I know that the next day I will regret that decision.

So how does one do it?
How do you stay away, well I have some tips for you all that might be facing the same challenge this holiday.The first step, is to acknowledging the holidays probably will affect your exercise program to some extent. Then you can make adjustments that will help you stay fit during the season.

EXERCISE

SHORTEN YOUR CARDIO: Cut down your cardio into small circuit maximizing all the time you have even if it’s only 10 minutes. You can do real simple actives that don’t require too much like; walking, running, jump roping or cycling. Get the most out of the time you have by working at a high intensity.

My sample 10-minute BOOTCAMP is a great place to start:
0:00 to 1:00 - Warm up with a brisk walk (outside or around the house)
1:00 to 2:00 - Jumping jacks
2:00 to 3:00 - Jump rope (pretend if you don't have a rope)
3:00 to 4:00 - Run as fast as you can for 1 minute (in place or outside)
4:00 to 5:00 - Ski hops: Stand with feet together, bend knees and jump a few feet to the right and then left, landing with bent knees.
5:00 to 6:00 - Jumping jacks6:00 to
7:00 - Walk as fast as you can
7:00 to 8:00 - Jump rope
8:00 to 9:00 - Jumping jacks
9:00 to 10:00 - Cool down and catch your breath
Remember to work hard. Keep your perceived exertion at 8 or 9 for the entire workout.

WORK IT WHERE YOU CAN:
If it’s taking the stairs at work or at the mall DO IT! This holiday season, wear a pedometer as you're running around, and see how many steps you can accumulate. Use EVERY opportunity to get in more movement, whether it's parking on the opposite side of where you need to be (I do this often).

TIME
:
Increase your time management skills over the holiday season. Organize your day the evening before. Prioritizing your tasks beforehand will help you find time to exercise. Each week, make it a priority to fit in three exercise sessions.

CHALLENGE:
Give yourself a CHALLENGE! You can join the Bootie Buster Challenge or POTM Challenge Holiday Edition like me or got to livestrong.com to find one that works for you! Or even better ask a friend to hold you accountable, and each of you can work together to STAY fit during the HOLIDAYS!

EATING

EAT BEFORE: Rules to live by: NEVER go grocery shopping while hungry, and similarly, never hit a holiday party on an EMPTY stomach. You'll be less tempted to overindulge if your belly's full of something healthy. I think this is one we all know but tend to forget.

CHOOSE ONE TREAT:
Once at the party, choose one thing to indulge in and make it good. No chips or anything you can have at any old time. Pick something you ONLY get during the holidays.

CONTROL YOUR DRINKING
:
Alcohol is an easy way to consume more calories than you need, so AVOID mixed or fruity drinks, and have a glass of water for every drink you consume. Also, definitely AVOID the egg nog; it has up to 350 calories a cup. A great thing to do is bring a packet of hot tea or apple cider and ask if you can have some boiled water.

DON'T SKIP MEALS:
It's tempting to skip meals to make up for whatever nightmare food you'll eat later, but just like the empty-stomach rule, if you're starving, your rational mind will be unavailable for healthy food choices. Eat SMALL meals all day to avoid going nuts at the buffet table.

THE SEVENTH DAY RULE
:
Try to eat as healthily as possible and munch on holiday treats in small quantities. Did you notice I did not say to avoid holiday meals or treats? If you try to avoid them, you will regret it. This is always a good rule of thumb. Eat healthily for six days, and then eat one or two items, holiday snacks or deserts on the seventh. I try and do this all the time even when it’s not holiday season.

BALANCE:
Remember that balance, variety and moderation apply to holiday celebrations as well as to most other things in life, so don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up. Keep your good intentions, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the holidays.

I am making it a personal challenge of mine to make healthier body. mind, and soul choices through this season. I already had two parties this week and did pretty well, but after writing this information I am going to push myself harder so that I feel HEALTHY and POSITIVE this SEASON. What are you going to do for yourself this season to stay HEALTHY?

"It's important to enjoy the spirit of the holidays and not focus on food so much; it is not the main point of the gathering. By doing that, you will make healthier choices."-
Amanda Gavlik is a Health.com Contributing Editor

GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR:

  1. Work out 6 days out of seven, even if it is small workouts
  2. Increase my weight training at least 2 days a week (after marathon)
  3. Drink more water at holiday parties in order to stay fuller and make better food choices.
  4. Write down my weeks goals of exercise for my challenge
  5. REMEMBER the true meaning of the SEASON!
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