I absolutely love gathering around a table with friends and family to enjoy great meals and conversations- and the holiday season provides an abundance of opportunities to do so! What I don’t love is gaining weight, feeling puffy or having low energy- and my guess is you don’t either.
That’s why I wanted to share a few fit tips that work well for me to maintain my fitness through the holidays.
1) Stay accountable.
Enjoy the holiday season, but not by tossing your goals out the window completely at the expense of your fitness journey! Be mindful of your food portions, so that you won’t be caught by surprise after the holiday season is over. Find a buddy with similar goals and plan fun activities together, such as cooking healthy meals, trying out new recipes or attend a group fitness class you’ve never tried before.
2) Watch portion sizes.
During this time of year, we are surrounded by food more frequently than any other time. Office holiday parties, family gatherings and holiday gift baskets expose us to an abundance of food, but these options often consists of sugar-laden snacks and high calorie meals. As a quick guide, the amount of protein included in your meal should measure out to about 3 ounces, or the size of the palm of your hand. Vegetables and/or fruits should account for half of the contents on your plate, 2 cups about the size of two fists in total. Whole grains, nuts and legumes typical should not exceed an amount which fits in your cupped hand.
3) Fill up on lean meats, vegetables and fiber.
Lean sources of protein promote satiety to a greater degree than many carbohydrate and fat sources, in addition to aiding in retention of lean muscle mass. Vegetables are considered nutrition-dense foods since they are mostly made up of water and are generally low calorie options. This means you can have greater portions without taking in too many calories. High fiber foods like oats, legumes, fruits and vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber, which help create a feeling of fullness. It’s always a great idea to enjoy a healthy, filling snack prior to attending a holiday party. That way you won’t be as tempted to indulge in high-calorie snacks!
- I always turn to our Ready-To-Drink Protein Shakes as I’m running out the door to sway me from overeating.
4) Make healthy ingredient substitutions.
There are many healthy substitutions you can make to help avoid over consumption of fats and added sugars. For instance, instead of eating green bean casserole, opt for fresh steamed green beans. Heat up AdvoCare’s Mandarin Orange Spark instead of a cider drink, Peppermint tea, or drink Coffeccino instead of hot chocolate (it adds fiber, energy AND appetite control!). I like to drop peppermint in my Coffeccino for a “peppermint mocha”.
5) Limit holiday cocktails.
Alcohol-containing beverages contain a significant amount of empty calories (contain no nutritional value) and are often heavily laden with sugar. Alcohol consumed beyond a moderate amount (1 – 2 drinks), can be considered an excessive amount. Drink water in between cocktails in order to pace yourself and avoid over consumption. Or, you can opt to avoid alcohol altogether and enjoy soda water with lime.
6) Eat dessert…in moderation.
Don’t completely deprive yourself from indulging in holiday desserts. Do take into consideration the amount of sugar these treats contain in a serving. Eat half of a serving or split one with a friend or family member. Also be sure to fill up on protein and fiber beforehand, so that you are less likely to overeat when dessert comes around.
- AdvoCare’s Carbease Plus and FiboTrim are “damage control” products. Take them before every cheat-y meal to stop the absorption of carbs and fat.
7) Stay active.
Don’t be deterred from engaging in consistent exercise even if temperatures drop too low! When I lived in Seattle, I loved bundling up and going for a walk around Greenlake. If possible, try joining a gym for a few months until temperatures warm up, or workout at home.
8) Vitamin D supplementation.
We obtain vitamin D in small amounts in the foods we eat such as fortified milk, orange juice and cereals, as well as fatty fish like salmon, but it is primarily obtained from production in the skin via exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which helps with calcium absorption in the body and helps building strong bones. It has also been suggested that vitamin D plays a role in regulating mood.
Seasonal changes during this time of year limits exposure to sunlight. The current Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D3 supplementation is 600 IU for adults (Institute of Medicine, 1997). Consult with your physician to check your current vitamin D levels to determine if there is a need for additional supplementation. Lastly, be sure to take vitamin D along with a good source of calcium for proper absorption.
- Calcium Plus is a great staple to add to your daily routine!
9) Manage stress.
According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (2017) on stress in America, the average stress level of Americans is a 4.8 on a scale from 1 to 10. The survey showed positive association between chronic stress and weight gain. During this time of year, individuals tend to experience stress at higher levels. Continuously elevated levels of stress, especially at the holidays may lead to negative metabolic changes, increases in indulging in calorie laden sweets and excessively large portion sizes. Engaging in physical activity, getting an adequate amount of sleep, breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, meditation or prayer, and aromatherapy are a few ways to help decrease your stress during the holiday season.
10) Be thankful.
Last but certainly not least, remember to be thankful. Shift your focus on family, friends and fun- not food. The holidays are a special time to bond with your loved ones and to create lasting memories. Take the time out to express gratitude for the people around you. There is always something to be grateful for!
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