By Ciara Lucas
The holiday season is filled with celebration. There’s tasty seasonal treats, large gatherings with libations and delicious meals, and likely more time partying than making healthy lifestyle choices. The increase in comfort foods, alcohol, and sugary desserts typically leads to holiday weight gain. But just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean you have to overindulge and throw away any health goals and habits you may have. Ahead of the holidays, it’s important to set expectations for yourself that can keep you feeling in control and consider self care tips for the New Year to keep yourself on track.
Here are five ways to avoid festive overindulgence and maintain your holiday cheer.
Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. There’s no need to be harsh on yourself about missing a workout or having an unhealthy meal, but it is essential to stay mindful about what your body needs. For most people, that means consistent movement (a walk before or after a meal is enough) and making sure you’re staying hydrated. While you’ll face plenty of temptation to taste everything put in front of you, remember that you don’t have to keep eating. Listen to your body and stay aware of hunger cues to know when you’re full or still have an appetite. If you know a workout will make you feel good, schedule it into your day before enjoying holiday festivities. Maintain a balance between celebrations and honoring what’s best for your overall well-being.
Don’t try to compensate for calories
Ditch any holiday guilt that may be brewing. Although aiming for a healthy lifestyle is admirable, you do not need to make up for the extra calories you consume. Had a filling dinner and two slices of chocolate cake or scoops of ice cream? So what if you’ve had a cookie or two? Move on the next day and make choices that make you feel better. Extra calories do not mean you need to do grueling workouts or restrict your calories to “even it out”. Treat each day individually and do not punish yourself for going overboard.
Move your body
Exercise may be the last thing you want to do over the holidays, but your body will thank you for it. Find low impact, easily accessible ways to move that allow you to get it done without a hassle. This could be taking your dog for a long walk, strolling in the park with family to see the holiday lights, or a quick home workout for just 30 minutes. Movement doesn’t have to be a burden. By staying in routine with your exercise, it will make post-holiday efforts easier, and you’ll be glad you’re not starting from square one for your healthy lifestyle.
Set boundaries and honor them
Not many people know that the secret to healthy living and healthy eating is sticking to your boundaries. Before you step foot into a party, decide what your limits will be. Approach any holiday meal or event with a plan based on how you want to feel. Maybe that means choosing between a drink of alcohol and dessert (even one as heavenly as chocolate cake), or limiting how many drinks you’ll have. By creating a plan, you can lessen the chances of feeling overwhelmed by the choices put in front of you.
Once you decide what your boundaries are, stick to them! Remember that no one can force or pressure you into eating or drinking if you don’t want to. You call the shots and can stay in control.
Sometimes plans change, and that’s totally okay. Remain flexible in case situations come up that don’t allow you to accomplish everything you want. If you miss a workout, it’s no big deal to move it to the next day. If you eat past fullness, forgive yourself and figure out how you can do better at the next holiday gathering. The more grace you give yourself, the easier it will be to return to your goals. It’s also important to set reasonable expectations for yourself, so you are more likely to succeed. Too many restrictions create resistance, leading to unmet expectations and unnecessary disappointment. Remember to prioritize enjoying yourself and have wiggle room!
About the Author:
Ciara Lucas is a journalist, on-air talent, media professional, and fitness/wellness coach. Her multifaceted career brings a unique perspective and expertise to the Vionic Innovation Lab team.
Ciara’s professional career has encompassed contributing to local and national newsrooms including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, NBC Sports for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, and NBC News coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march. When she’s not on screen, she’s building connections strengthened through sweat as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, helping clients find their meaning of sustainable health and happiness.
Ciara has created a personal brand and platform titled “Fit For A Queen” where she aims to empower, motivate, and inspire women from all walks of life to nurture their health and live their best lives by treating their bodies well. She is also an active member of the nonprofit Girls on the Run where she serves as a run coach for elementary school girls.