Between accepting invitations to parties, planning visits to relatives, and deciding what to prepare for the Holiday meals, that little nagging voice comes to the surface and reminds us that unless we are careful, Santa may also bring us some unwanted pounds.
Sounds familiar? If you are looking for simple (and proven) tips to be healthier and fitter during the Holidays (and beyond), you are in luck! The team at BookCulinaryVacations.com put together a list of practical tips to be healthier and fitter during the Holidays (and beyond), which may also help you lose some weight.
Aim for the long term
Yes, it is tempting to look for a quick fix but, unfortunately, that’s not the way to go. Simply put, there are no gimmicks and easy solutions. What you need to do is create the basis for a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper nutrition and exercise. Sure, knowing you need to fit in a particular outfit for the New Year’s Eve party may be motivation enough to do some unhealthy dieting, but remember that you want to stay healthier and fitter during the New Year, too. After all, summer comes with beach vacations and you want to look your best!
Set realistic goals
Realistically speaking, the goal over the Holidays is to not gain any weight. Once the dust settles, you can get into a routine to lose weight. The average weight loss – as a result of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle – is about 1 lb (0.5kg) per week. Once you start changing your diet and adding exercise, note that you are likely to lose more weight at a faster rate at first, but it will slow down over time. It it also better to keep track of the inches lost off you body rather than weight (which can fluctuate daily due to many reasons). For these reasons, it’s probably good to aim to reduce your dress size instead.
Have a plan
Having a plan will help you stay motivated and achieve the desired results. Take some time over the weekend to put together your meal plan for the week, as well as your workout schedule. Add the workouts to your calendar and treat them just like any meeting you have to attend. A good trick is to never go shopping hungry and without a list.
If you are invited to parties, ask if you can bring some food. Thus, you know for sure you have at least one or two foods which are healthy and you can eat without worrying. And just sample a bit of the rest.
Use technology to your advantage
There are tons of weight loss apps, train for 5k programs, and fitness trackers available. While studies show that wearing a fitness tracker doesn’t actually help with weight loss, they can certainly help a lot with keeping you motivated. Take part in challenges, set manageable goals, and enjoy. Oh and did you know that the simple fact of logging your food helps you lose twice as much weight? If you are looking for sites to log your food, MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, and LoseIt are free to use, have mobile apps, and great communities for support and motivation.
Start an Instagram account to highlight your journey
It’s pretty common nowadays to find lots of motivation on Instagram from people who are doing the exact same thing as you are. Keep in mind that photos may be (and usually are) staged so you will be tempted to do the same. But it’s a nice way to keep yourself accountable, especially if you appreciate external motivation. Hashtag #HealthyEating
If you don’t fancy the public attention, at the very least keep a private journal and take photos to stay motivated. These are extremely useful when you hit a plateau and feel like giving up, or if you have fallen off the wagon and need to get back on track.
Use exercise to fight stress
We are all pretty stressed during the Holidays. Between family gatherings we have to attend, work events, and just trying to stay focused on your job, the pressure adds up and the munchies kick in. Put your headphones on, blast your favorite music, and hit the treadmill. Or take that class you always wanted to attend. To relax after a busy day, create the habit of meditation. As little as 10 minutes a day are enough to feel calmness and peace.
Do what works for you
When it comes to choosing a workout, the key is to actually enjoy what you do. Spinning classes may burn a lot of calories but if you hate spinning, you probably will make excuses and be likely to miss out on the classes you signed up for. If you like to walk, you can lace up and start with interval walking and then move on to jogging, whether at a gym or outside. You can also use the many online resources to find workouts you enjoy and do in the comfort of your own home.
Seek professional advice
There are a ton of articles out there about getting fit and losing weight for the Holidays and after, but to make sure you do this the healthy way, you should consider talking to a nutritionist and hiring a trainer. Once you have the basics and know how to organize, you can rely on your own planning.
Get a fitness buddy
If your significant other isn’t interested and you don’t have a four-legged furry friend to take for walks with either, enlist the help of your friends. Chances are, at least one of them will want to get fit as well and you two can buddy up. Having someone else (in addition to yourself) for accountability will help a lot.
Don’t forget to rest
Remember that sleep is very important. Lack of sleep can hinder weight loss. When you are cranky and sleep deprived, you will hit the not-so-healthy foods for an energy boost. So, resolve to stick to a consistent sleep schedule and get 7-8 hours of shut eye per night.
Make water your fitness best friend
Drinking enough water throughout the day not only keeps you hydrated and looking fab, but it also prevents over-eating. Get a cute water bottle and make sure it’s always full and within easy reach.
You can also snack on water-rich fruits and veggies, such as cucumber, celery, radishes, green peppers, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
Cook from scratch and master some fail-proof recipes
Whether you decide to make healthier versions of your favorite dishes or want to experiment with new ideas, make sure you have easy and fail-proof recipes up your sleeve. During summer, swap between a tuna salad and a classic Greek salad, both of which can be easily made at home. For the cold season, lentils and beans soup can be very filling, yet healthy. Mastering the art of cooking from scratch is not that hard, especially if you learn some practical tips to use in the kitchen.
Are you looking for inspiration to cook healthier dishes? Why not join one of the vegetarian retreats you can find on BookCulinaryVacations.com and start the New Year in a healthy way!