This year many of us are having a more festive time than we did last year during the pandemic shutdown. After all of our work throughout the year to be fit and strong, we sure don’t want to undo everything. However, we still want to enjoy the festivities that come our way. In 2019, I wrote about enjoying the holidays but today I want to focus on actually trying to stay fit and strong.
Ten Tips for Staying Fit and Strong Over the Holidays
Not to worry. I have some ideas that might help you not lose ground or gain weight but that will still allow you to celebrate the season.
- Keep moving. Remember all of those tips about how to get in extra steps? This is the time to use them. Yes, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away from the door at the store. Carry multiple grocery bags in from the car or take multiple trips, depending on whether you want some strength work or more steps. Exercise sometimes falls away during the holidays but at least keep your body moving.
- Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated. It’s easy to get out of the routine of drinking water while we’re enjoying the holidays but water helps us in so many ways. If nothing else, it helps you feel full and it helps flush your body of all the not-so-good-for-you things you’ve ingested.
- Plan your meals. I mean, make sure you’re eating before it’s time to go to a party. Make sure you’re not starving when you go to the grocery store. Don’t forget to eat according to your schedule.
- If you are using an intermittent fasting plan, don’t break your fast with alcohol or junk food. You’ll feel terrible. Trust me on this one.
- Pay attention to alcohol. If you drink too much, you’ll lose restraint and eat things you didn’t plan to eat. You’ll wake up feeling lousy. Of course you can enjoy some drinks during the holidays but don’t overdo it. This might a good time to include some sparkling water into your routine. It helps you with drinking water (see tip 2!) and helps you avoid over doing it with the alcohol.
- Schedule a workout. Go to your regular yoga class or strength class at the gym. Jump on your Peloton bike (or other indoor bike!) and go for a ride. Do something to keep your body active. This might be the time to forget those lengthy workouts and go for a quick HIIT session.
- Plan in advance for food you want to eat. If you’re going to a party or someone else’s house, take something that you know you’ll want to eat. Maybe this could be a veggie tray or cut up fruit. Shrimp Cocktail is a great source of protein and is a standard holiday treat. Of course, take plenty so you can share.
- Make sure you’re getting your sleep. Try to keep to your normal schedule as much as you can and practice good sleep hygiene if possible. You know, turn off the screens earlier in the evening, have a cool, dark space for sleeping, and anything else you do to sleep well. Remember that alcohol can really mess up your sleep so that’s another good reason to limit your alcohol intake (Tip 5).
- Plan on indulging. I know that I have a couple of days during the holidays when I’ll be joining family and friends for celebrations. I’m not going to refuse to eat delicious things and have a good time. This might be a good time to consider portion size, though. If I’m going to eat that decadent cake, I will enjoy it but perhaps I only need a small slice. Maybe not but I should at least consider it. Either way, I can go for a fantastic dinner one night and the next day get back on track with my standard meals.
- Focus on yourself for at least a few minutes every day. Perhaps you meditate or do some deep breathing exercises. Just be still and find your inner self. Celebrating and spending time with family can be stressful even when it’s enjoyable. And many of us have more stress during the holidays than we do enjoyment. Either way, taking a few minutes to relax, reflect, and recharge can only help.
What do you do to stay fit and strong over the holidays? I’d love to hear some of your tips.