One of the biggest keys to fitness is maintaining dedication to your personal goals, whether that means eating a certain amount of calories per day, maintaining portion sizes, losing inches, or completing a certain number of reps. But the craziness of the holiday season often results in losing track of your goals. Even when you mentally track your fitness and health goals, during the holidays your time is filled with other things that prevent you from physically accomplishing them. Suddenly, everything else seems more important (and more fun!). Traveling out of town to visit family, company ski outings, and holiday parties fill up your calendar starting in November. Personal fitness goals are often derailed by all of these things. Add to this the vast quantities of delicious and tempting foods around every corner and you’ve got a challenge on your hands.
Stay strong! Here are 6 ways to stay on track and keep your fitness goals during the holidays:
- Sleep at least 6 hours each night. Sleep may not seem like the best way to lose weight, unless you are sleepwalking. But sleep allows your body and mind to process everything from the day before and be rejuvenated to take on the next day ahead. You’ll be more active in both mind and body, not to mention being prepped to take on the little holiday stresses that arise.
- Take a walk after big meals. The first thing your body might want to do after a big holiday meal is fall into a deep sleep on or slump over on the couch next to Uncle Ed. But don’t allow this deflated feeling to keep you cooped up! Fit in a short family walk afterlarge meals to keep your body processing the food.
- Eat smaller portions. The holidays are usually filled with an array of decadent delights as far as the eye can see. Meats, rolls and jelly, potatoes and gravy, and - oh - the desserts! Pies. Cakes. Hot Chocolate and other sugary drinks. The trick to being able to enjoy the flavors and not spoil your hard work is smaller portion sizes. A few bites of everything is better than gorging yourself or not allowing yourself to enjoy the holiday foods at all.
- Stay hydrated. Don’t fall into that common holiday trap where eggnog hot chocolate and champagne become your main source of hydration. The human body needs water to stay at its best both physically and mentally! A lack of water can cause headaches, while more water intake can help keep your metabolism running and cleanse your system of impurities.
- Add spices and seasonings that boost metabolism. Being indulgent isn’t always bad. Adding spices like red pepper and cinnamon to your meals can actually help speed up your metabolism - meaning your body can process the foods you are eating more easily.
- Plan physical family outings. Depending on where you live, the holidays bring chillier weather. But be careful not to stay sequestered inside the entire time! Join up with some friends for a snowshoeing adventure or help the little ones build a snowman. To include older family members, try caroling in your neighborhood. Even small outings help maintain your physical exercise quotas.
Beginning the holidays with an understanding of the temptations and challenges that await you will prepare you to keep a firm grasp on your fitness goals. Every method you follow to stay on track is one more great triumph on your path to the fitness finish line!
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