We’re right in the thick of the holiday season.
The weather here in Toronto is definitely feeling “wintery”, even though it’s not officially winter yet.
I’ve already been ice skating with my family – four times!
A nice outdoor workout, by the way.
The other thing that happens at this time of year is parties.
Gatherings with friends.
Visits to Christmas markets and holiday fairs.
Apple cider and hot chocolate may become more regular drink choices, as well as wine and beer and various holiday tipples.
Maybe those Starbucks Peppermint or Caramel Brulee lattes have been calling your name.
Perhaps you’re even thinking of indulging in egg nog (although I personally think it’s pretty gross!).
I LOVE this time of year.
I do, however, realize that it presents some extra challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Sugar intake is going up.
Alcohol intake may be higher than usual.
Protein and veggies can get crowded out by baked goods and party hor d’oeuvres.
Now I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun.
I certainly have my share of treats at this time of year.
We bought shortbread cookies at the Christmas Market near us a couple of weeks ago, as well as a 100-truffle bag of Lindt chocolates.
The cookies are gone.
The Lindt truffles are nearly there.
And more chocolate will be consumed before Santa comes down our proverbial chimney.
Why am I not in a total panic about all this?
Have I resigned myself to putting on about ten pounds and then “getting back on track” in January?
That’s the way I used to do things, back in the days when I wasn’t managing my lifestyle and weight the way I am now.
The biggest change I’ve made is remembering that it’s not “all-or-nothing” at this time of year.
You don’t need to go nuts every day to enjoy the holidays, nor do you have to skip all your favourite treats.
Getting the right balance has taken me YEARS…probably more than a decade in reality.
With the benefit of that experience, I guide my Online Coaching clients to manage their food intake now for less work later on.
It’s not easy, but taking a few basics steps will make things easier for you next month.
Here’s How To Cope With The Challenges Of The Holidays:
1) Fit Workouts In
Put those weight training sessions into your calendar, if you need to.
Make them shorter, if necessary, but don’t just start skipping all your workouts.
If you need some guidelines, I wrote a blog post HERE about working out during the holidays.
2) Stay Active
It’s tempting to just lie around with a book and Lindt truffles for hours at a time.
Hmmmm, that actually sounds like a nice plan. 😉
While a bit of extra rest is good for you, particularly if you’re a tired parent, it’s also great to stay moving and keep your energy flowing.
Take a walk with your family, whether it’s outdoors or while doing a marathon shopping trip to the mall.
I’ve been enjoying the ice skating that I’ve been doing with my family and it’s a good supplement to my weights sessions.
More movement also means less time spent shovelling cookies into your mouth!
3) Enjoy The Treats That Are Worth It For You
The aforementioned egg nog is high in calories and fat, and I’m certainly not interested.
Lindt truffles are also quite high in calories and fat (and sugar), but they’re worth every single one.
I skip one and allow myself to indulge in the other, in reasonable portions.
The Lindt will still be there in January, if I want it.
There’s no need to eat those truffles like they’re discontinuing them (that would be a travesty!).
4) Take Time For Yourself
You have a lot to do at this time of year, I know.
But taking care of yourself by managing your stress, hitting the gym, and eating nutritious food will pay off for everyone.
You’ll be a calmer, happier person to deal with at all those get-togethers.
5) Skip The Guilt
Don’t feel bad if you eat a few too many Lindt truffles one night (yup, that was me!).
The next meal gives you an opportunity to make a different choice.
Eat lean protein and vegetables and keep the calories lower for a couple of meals afterwards.
You’ll be back in balance without having to berate yourself for not following your plan exactly.
Keep it flexible.
Move on after “slip-ups”.
Embrace the season, but don’t forget your goals.
Now is NOT the time to give up and give in.
It’s also not the time to hide yourself away and eat chicken breasts and broccoli.
Enjoy this magical period.
Make the most of this time of year.
Follow a plan that makes you feel good about your progress, and doesn’t make you feel horrible in the new year.
The challenges of the season are here.
You’re in charge of how you manage them.