Weight gain, hormone disruption and chronic stress are common culprits to a decreased level of wellness during the holiday season. At the tail-end of each year, there is a seemingly unavoidable temptation to overindulge, skip out on sleep or tolerate an excess of stress. Enjoying the foods and beverages we love isn’t a bad thing, but how often we enjoy them tends to be where things go wrong. Incorporate over-indulgences with lack of exercise, sleep and a surplus of stress over a month or more of time and you’ve set yourself up for the status-quo 5 or more lbs of holiday weight gain. Here are 4 of my must-know tips that will help you stay healthy and active without compromising any food indulging cheer.
Be a taste tester.
Just because sugary, savory, salty foods are available in abundance, you don’t need to make a meal of them all. If there are several things you just have-to get your hands on, slow down and go a little lighter. Think of yourself as a taste tester. Small bites, savored slowly, create the best experience. This is a great way to get the festive food cravings out of the way without putting your body in fat-storage mode.
Drink your water, and don’t overdo it when drinking calories.
Of course, you know this. Just be sure you’re consistently drinking water throughout the day, aiming for at least half your body weight in ounces to a full gallon, depending on your activity levels. Staying consistently hydrated is as important for your general health as making good food choices. And although a glass of wine, a sugary hot cocoa, holiday latte, a beer or a cocktail won’t fill up your fat cells, indulging in them several times through the week will move you in that direction. Saving these beverages for special occasions, rather than blaming the season for a daily indulgence will spare you the extra tire.
Eat well around the outings.
This is the season where social gatherings seem to multiply, so being intentional with meals around them is a must if you want to at least maintain your current body composition. One bad meal doesn’t make someone overweight or unhealthy, just like one great workout won’t make someone look any different, so single out the food festivities to avoid making every meal a full-on feast or sugar-fest, because that will make someone overweight and unhealthy. For example, if there’s a dinner outing where you’ll be eating abundantly, keep your breakfast, and following meals a bit lighter. If you’re dining out, and you aren’t mentally committed to eating a lot of heavy food or dessert, opt for a balanced option like a protein, carb and vegetable dish with water or tea, rather than bread, appetizers, pasta and dessert. Save the true feasting for special occasions.
The hustle and bustle of extra socializing, shopping, cooking, cleaning and just plain ol’ life stacks up quickly. We might ‘feel’ fine, possibly even thrive off the constant go-go-go, but our brains and bodies are more intelligent than we might think. When stress levels rise, so do the hormones in our bodies that contribute to fat storage, clouded thinking and other health complications. Make time to be active, and to rest and recharge. Exercise helps release the endorphins that counteract negative emotions and stress, so remember that some is always better than none. Commit at least 3 days in the week to put your body in motion, whether that means being active outdoors, or sneaking in a quick workout at home. My follow-along mix and match workout videos leave little room for excuse to dodge even a ten-minute sweat session. Not only is maintaining your self-care routine imperative through the holiday season, it will fast track you to starting the new year right, without unhappy hormones and increased body fat.
Kelsey Lee is a fitness and lifestyle personality. Her experience ranges from the aesthetics spectrum of body transformations, to the dynamics of everyday functionality – always including proper and practical nutrition, cardiovascular, resistance and core training. Kelsey Lee creates candid mix and match workouts, v-log and adventure videos. She loves to help people from all walks of life, make fit matter and live more intentionally, and has been doing so since 2005. Follow her on Instagram: @kelseyleedotcom