Diet and fitness enthusiasts do not really like the winter holiday season. This is because unlike other holidays such as Halloween, Easter or Valentine's Day, the winter holiday lasts for many weeks. It is also characterized by more food, cookies, potlucks and parties. In addition, other activities such as volunteering, buying gifts, decorating, cooking and party hopping take up the usual time set aside for preparing healthy meals or going to the gym. This makes it difficult for the dieter to keep track of their food and exercise on a more regular basis to boost their health and change the shape of their bodies.
Therefore, a lot of willpower and commitment will be needed to overcome so many challenges and temptations. You have to stay dedicated to the original plan and set small daily objectives. The following are 20 tips to help you repel weight gain or lose weight by the turn of the year:
1. Track your food consumption
Carefully track your daily food intake. This includes all your meals plus the food gifts, snacks, small fixes and free food samples that you take in the course of the day. Such foods contain "hidden" calories that could easily contribute to weight gain.
2. Map out your holiday meals
Have all your favourite meals and snacks planned in advance so that you can still enjoy them and not deviate from your main objective. More so, before attending any parties or take any meal, pre-evaluate your food for that day. Utilize your Nutrition Tracker to limit yourself within your calorie range.
3. Find out your food calorie levels
Many online resources will help you compute the nutritional details in your preferred holiday foods. Add them to your tracker and determine if they fit into your plan.
4. Prioritize your fitness
Always remember that fitness is just as important as your diet. Strive to work out harder than normal to hold back weight gain, and compensate for any instances of excess eating.
5. Strictly stick to your workout plan
Add your workout sessions into your calendar or diary so that other obligations do not come into its way. Make it as important as a doctor's appointment, a professional meeting, work at the office or dropping the children to school.
6. Carry your own food
This is particularly important when you are attending a party and do not know how the food was prepared. Choose a healthy and low calorie recipe to carry to the party.
7. Reduce your alcohol intake
Inebriation will easily make you forget about your plan, causing you to overindulge. What's more, alcohol is very high in calories so every drink ought to be added to your Nutrition Tracker. If you choose to drink, go for the diet-friendly beverages and avoid too many servings.
8. Donate your food and gift treats
Your friends and family will most certainly shower you with treats during this season. This does not mean that you must eat all of them by yourself. There are numerous donation opportunities available during the holidays, for instance, carry the food to parties or simply donate them to hospitals and shelters for the homeless and let them share in into the holiday spirit as well.
9. Carry your food to school or work
Apart from donation, you may also share your food in a communal setting such as the office or school cafeteria. Your friends and colleagues can then choose what they like.
10. Do not dwell on mistakes
A day of failure should not derail from attaining your ultimate goal. If you discover that you have exceeded your calories on a particular day, learn from it back and get back on track.
11. Fix in an extra 10 minutes of cardio daily
Medical specialists proclaim that an extra 10 minutes of exercise goes a long way in curbing the consequences of excess eating during the holidays. Any high intensity move such as star jumps, rope skipping or jogging is effective in burning extra calories in a single shot.
12. Lead an active lifestyle
Note that activities such as running your daily errands and chores do not amount to an active lifestyle. An active lifestyle means adding activities such as, hiking, skating and snowboarding to your normal workout routine.
13. Have an emergency, healthy snack on hand
Have a stockpile of healthy foods in your car, desk, bag or purse. They will come in handy when you want to satisfy your cravings and prevent you from indulging in the wrong types of food.
14. Monitor your portions
There is no harm in enjoying your favourite treats during the holiday season, but always keep an eye on your portions. At times, a small savour is all your taste buds will need.
15. Interact with people
During the social gatherings and get-togethers, do not idle around the food table. Spare some time and engage in conversation and other activities with other people. Try creating some fond memories of the parties which are not centred on food.
16. Drink water
Research has showed that water is a natural appetite suppressant. This means that drinking enough water reduces the number of calories eaten during the day. Sip some water in between your meals and carry some to drink throughout the day to ensure that you meet the daily requirements and prevent excessive eating.
17. Conduct early morning exercises
Performing your exercises soon after waking up enables you to have more consistent workouts. Early morning also allows you to have your workouts without any interruptions. Moreover, it reduces the probability of overindulging in food during the day.
18. Do not make eating obligatory (except from 3 main meals)
"You will have several opportunities to eat later on in the day." Additionally, do not eat food if you are not hungry or if you do not find it delicious. When a co-worker, friend or relative offers to share their food, it is not wrong to say that you will only have a taste.
19. Eat Slowly
Take time to enjoy your food and ignite your taste buds. Doing this makes you eat less, while leaving you more satisfied. You will also be able to discern your hunger feelings in time and eat the right amount of portion.
20. Stay focused
Lastly, remind yourself of your underlying goals every day. Before taking any action, assess whether it will contribute to the intended outcome. If it does not, change your decision right away. Keep in mind that you are the captain of your ship.
Sashka is a writer and part time blogger from Australia. She is a nature lover and writes about healthy living, travel, fitness and weight loss camps. This article was inspired by some great holiday weight loss tips and ideas.