Holidays are a time for family, friends, and feasting. Unfortunately, they are also a time when weight can creep up on you – especially if you have been working out regularly. The holidays represent the perfect storm of temptation: lots of food, alcohol to drink, and an abundance of activities that require hours in front of the TV or computer screen instead of being active. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Read this blog post for tips on how to enjoy the holidays without sabotaging your fitness goals!
How much weight does the average person gain during the holiday season, and why?
Weight gain during the Holidays can vary widely depending on several factors, including each person’s starting point and activity level. However, the average person can expect to gain 10 to 20 pounds over the holiday season. Poor eating choices and passive activities cause this.
Researchers have identified that one of the key reasons people overeat during the holiday seasons is because they feel entitled to it – especially if they were eating healthy foods for most of the year. But Holidays are not a particular time to eat more than usual! There are many ways to maintain your willpower over this time – from changing your mindset about the holidays to finding a supportive community.
Also, staying active can prevent you from gaining too much weight during the holiday season. You can do this by taking walks around your neighborhood with friends and family members or attending an exercise class at your local gym. Keep your body moving as much as possible. The Holidays are a time for community and family, so make this enjoyable – rather than something you dread! For example, create an activity that everyone can enjoy together, like having a dance party with music at home.
Here are some tips for enjoying the holidays without sabotaging your fitness goals:
- Don’t skip meals to make room for holiday food. This is the worst thing you can do because not only will your hunger cause you to overeat, it also sends mixed signals to your body about energy balance (too little food during one meal vs. too much food at another). So instead of skipping meals, plan on eating smaller portions.
- Don’t view holiday parties as “cheat days.” If you aim to lose weight, this is probably the worst thing you can do because it sends mixed signals about your goals (party = “cheat day”). Instead of seeing holidays as cheat days, think of them as a time for socializing and enjoying every bite!
- Don’t let the TV/computer screen be your only friend. Holidays are about spending time with family and friends, not sitting in front of a computer or television all day! Instead of being sedentary, set an intention to go for walks as often as possible.
- Don’t feel guilty if you fall off track of your fitness goals. Holidays are about celebrating and enjoying the moment, not being perfect! So if you fall off track from your fitness goals during the holiday season, don’t beat yourself up over it; get back on track as soon as possible (if that means eating less or exercising more).
- Don’t put pressure on yourself to succeed. Holidays are about celebrating, not worrying whether you’ll succeed or fail at your fitness goals!
Diet plan for the holiday season
- Drink more water
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Eat one to two healthy foods during each meal
- Snack more often during the day
- Avoid drinking alcohol, or drink in moderation
- Fast on certain days over the holiday season. This can be beneficial because it allows your body to reset your relationship with food.
- Eat healthier deserts instead of cake, eat sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie.
- Eat lots of green leafy vegetables
Workout plan for the holiday season
- Perform more natural activities (walking, standing, playing, shopping)
- Complete unfinished chores
- Do more home workouts with bodyweight
- Keep gym workouts to 30 minutes or fewer
- Perform compound exercises (running, swimming, squatting, deadlifting)
- Get more sleep
- take hot baths
How do you set health and fitness expectations during the holiday season?
Holidays can be a time to relax and enjoy yourself. However, if you find that stress makes it difficult for you to eat healthily, or exercise regularly, take steps towards relieving your anxiety (e.g., talk with family members about holiday expectations; make an appointment with a therapist).
Remember: celebrate the holidays, do not worry! If you feel guilty or upset because of your holiday choices, take a step back and reflect on whether these feelings are worth it. Enjoy the holidays with family and friends – don’t stress about them too much!
The last word on the holiday season and your fitness goals is to make healthy and enjoyable choices.
Holidays are about celebrating, not stressing! Make this a time to enjoy your family and friends, allowing yourself some room for treats. Be flexible in your approach and set manageable health and fitness goals. For example, if the average person expects to gain 10 to 20 pounds, then outperform that expectation.
Set a goal to maintain your weight or gain 5 to 10 pounds instead. Also, create a plan for how you intend to take off the extra weight after the holiday season. Use SMART Goals by creating specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific objectives you can achieve. Create a plan before the holidays to help you relax and enjoy the holidays while also reaching your health and fitness goals after the holidays. Finally, remember those who bend don’t break.