I can’t believe that the Christmas season is already here!!! We got our Christmas tree on Sunday and it has taken us literally three days to get it all set up – one day to get the tree, one day to bring it inside, another day to realize we need new lights and go to the store, and tonight we’ll finally decorate it! That’s life with a toddler – nothing is ever easy!
The holiday season is prime time for overindulging and while I’m all about eating whatever you want on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day (no “healthy versions” of traditional recipes in my house), the holiday season lasts about six weeks. While I don’t think you can do any damage with one day of indulging, you can do some damage over the length of the holiday season. My last two Christmas seasons were great examples of 1) How to lose weight during the holiday season and 2) How to gain weight during the holiday season. In 2015 I was just a few months postpartum and looking to lose weight – I had just started P90X and was serious about my weight loss goals. In 2016, I had just finished the New York Marathon and let myself basically go a little wild in December (the cookie exchange I went to mid-month did not help!). This year I’ll also be gaining weight, but it’s to nourish and sustain two babies lives, not because I ate way too many cookies.
I know exactly what it takes to come through the holidays 5 pounds lighter OR 5 pounds heavier. I also know how to maintain your weight and enjoy some balance, and that’s what Ill be talking about here. I am a FIRM believer that you should eat whatever you want on Thanksgiving (I went live on Instagram to talk about that (please follow me if you aren’t and if you’d like to connect more, leave me a comment or message letting me know you’re a blog reader so I can follow you back!) but that is just ONE day – not much damage to be done with one day of splurging. However, the “holiday season” is 6 weeks – and yes, damage can be done. You don’t want to spend all of January, February and even March trying to get yourself back in shape after the holidays.
That being said, here are my three tips for maintaining a healthy balance during the holidays:
- Stick to your exercise routine by scheduling your workouts in your calendar. This is a busy time of year and if you aren’t consciously planning your workouts, it’s easy to skip them. When there are so many week night happy hours, parties and events, your workout may be the first thing to go. Instead, look ahead at your week and plan when you’ll get your workouts in. If you have an event in the evening, plan to wake up early to get your workout in. Even better if you have an accountability group or partner to keep you accountable this month! Or, if you’re a runner, having a goal race in the first few months of the year can help you stay on track during the holidays.
- Keep treats out of your house. This one is really tough. Like I said, last year I went to a mid-month cookie exchange. Since Mike and I both work from home, I had no co-workers to give the cookies to. Instead, they sat on my counter and I grazed on 1-3 cookies per day for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. Yikes! Reserve treats for outings and events, NOT in your home. On that note, if you work in an office setting, ask yourself every time someone brings a treat in if it’s truly something you want to eat. If it’s worth it – go for it! But don’t eat every single donut, cookie, candy or treat that comes through the office doors just because it’s there!
- Indulge at 1-2 events per week. It’s totally fine to enjoy the holiday season and that means drinks, cookies, yummy cheese appetizers and more! I’m all about balance and I definitely love a good cocktail (or three) at a holiday party. Don’t feel guilty about indulging at a couple events per week. However, if you have a packed social calendar with 5 parties or events per week, try to eat before a few of them and limit the treats. And no matter where your’e going, NEVER show up to a party super hungry! If a party is a potluck, bring a healthy and filling side dish, salad or appetizer that you can eat.
Tis the season!
How many events do you have on the calendar this season? What is your favorite holiday treat (mine is those peanut butter blossom cookies)?