HEALTHY HOLIDAY TIPS

The holidays are always a challenge for staying healthy!

As I promised myself, I will not use holidays as an excuse for poor choices! I just found another site, called Fitbottomedgirls.com , looks like it could be helpful have a LOOK.

Courtesy of the FBGs…

Nicole Nichols ( Fitness expert and editor for SparkPeople, also who is the star of workout DVDs):

Best Healthy Holiday Tips

Tip #1: Move your feet before you eat. A little extra eating is common during the holidays, and there isn’t anything unhealthy about that. But before you bite, think about what you’ll do to make sure that food doesn’t become a permanent part of your anatomy.

Want to sample everything on the Thanksgiving table? Move your feet before you eat.

Planning to uncover your holiday spirit by baking cookies? Move your feet before you eat.

Heading back for a second slice of pie with whipped cream? Move your feet before you eat.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to sign up for a race such as a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day or a Jingle Bell/Hot Chocolate 5K in December. Enlist your friends and some family members, too, and start a new tradition of fitting in a little fitness before you feast.

Tip #2: Treat the holiday like any other day. This is by far the best tip I live by. I don’t let the holidays get the best of my healthy eating or exercise plans because I treat them like any other day of the year. So even though I host and cook for a dozen people every Thanksgiving, I still wake up early to work out, and make time for fitness the day before and the day after—not as an afterthought but as a habit. And when it comes time to enjoy a bounty of delicious foods, I fill my plate once (since that’s what I’d do during any other non-holiday meal), and choose the right portions of all my favorites.

When you treat a holiday like any other day, you set yourself up for success. You still get to enjoy the traditions and special foods, but you don’t have to feel guilty (or get a bellyache) for doing so. Plus when you make time for fitness, you’ll usually think twice before overeating later.

Tip #3: Forget the all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to exercise. Too often, we can’t fit our usual routine into our extra-busy days, so we choose to do nothing instead. How does that make any sense? It reminds me of a quote from Beth, a SparkPeople member: “If you got a traffic ticket would you break every traffic law the rest of the day? Then why toss the whole day over a slice of pizza?” The same goes for your exercise plan. If you can’t fit in your full session, why does it make sense to do nothing instead? Wouldn’t you want to burn 50 or 100 calories instead of zero? Or lose half a pound by the end of the week instead of none?

When I am just too busy to fit in a full-length workout, I do whatever I can instead of throwing in the towel. Sometimes my workout for the day is only jogging one mile or doing a few pushups and squats at home. Those 10-minute routines may seem insignificant when you’re used to doing more, but they really do add up. Short workouts keep you consistent, help you maintain your fitness level and manage your weight. If your all-or-nothing exercise mentality led you to NOT exercise at all during the month of December, you’d burn zero extra calories and lose a lot of momentum. But if you chose to do what you can, even if it wasn’t a full workout, you’d burn thousands of calories, which could prevent weight gain and maybe even help you lose a pound or two over the course of the month.

Tip #4: Re-gift food treats. Of course, your loved ones mean well when they give you delicious food and candy gifts. But just because they give them does not mean you have to eat them! There are plenty of opportunities to re-gift food gifts over the holidays: bring them to parties, potlucks and other get-togethers. Or donate store-bought foods to a local food pantry or hospital to spread the holiday spirit to others. Take home-baked goods to a homeless shelter. You can also bring your food and treats in to the office; share them in a communal space like the office café for others to partake of as they choose.

Tip #5: Don’t act as if it’s your only chance to eat. Forgo the “last supper” mentality that many people experience around special holiday treats. Honor your true feelings of hunger and fullness, and if you’re not hungry or in the mood for a certain food, don’t feel obligated to eat it. Be a (polite) food snob. Don’t waste calories on a treat you don’t really like or that isn’t very delicious. If you accept a co-worker’s cookie or Aunt Mary’s bacon salad, but it’s not very tasty, stop eating it. No one will fault you for saying you want to “just have a taste.”

Remember that YOU are in control, not food. And the holidays, although food-centric, are about SO much more than eating. I love pumpkin pie, but I don’t gorge on it just because it’s available on Thanksgiving and not a regular part of my life. I remind myself that while pumpkin pie is in my kitchen today, I can really eat it any day of the year if I really want it. When you remember that holiday foods aren’t a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, they lose their power over you.

Overall, remember to keep your eye on the prize. Before you pile on that extra helping or hit snooze instead of hitting the gym, remember your goals. It’s going to take work to get there and survive the holiday season. Before you act, ask yourself, “Will this help me get where I want to go?” If not, make another decision that will help you get there. And remember that you are in control during the holidays, not the other way around. —Nicole

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