Five Ways to Stay Fit this Holiday Season
By: Lanie Tunnell
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. You head home to be welcomed by a barrage of food you didn’t scavenge in the commons.
However, hibernating in a food coma all winter can lead to a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.
In an attempt to stay healthy, here are a few things you can do to make sure you stay fitting into those beautifully ugly Christmas sweaters.
1. Mealtime mindfulness- I know you just left the world of maintaining an above average attention span, but paying attention to what you eat, and how much you eat, is crucial. Have you ever experienced the incredibly heartbreaking moment when you’re eating a snack but when you reach for more, you discover it’s all gone? Not only is it tragic, it means you weren’t aware of what you ate. Try eating distraction free in order to be mindfully enjoy your holiday goodies.
2. Portion control- I’m very guilty of neglecting this one. Coming from a family with three brothers, I always feel like I’m competing for food and I overcompensate. Then I feel bad if I don’t eat everything on my plate, so by the end of the meal I hate myself for the pain I’ve inflicted on myself. It’s tough to not get excited about all the wonderful treats surrounding you, but next time you serve yourself, get less than you normally would. You can always go back for more!
3. Seconds, thirds, and fourths- Did you know it takes about 20 minutes for your mind to register how much is in your stomach and send you signals to stop? Taking less food then getting more if you aren’t full is a great way to avoid overeating. By getting up from the table you are forced to pause before getting seconds, and you may realize you are fuller than you thought.
4. Nomadic eating- Picking up a cookie (or four) and walking around eating them is another holiday party foul. Once again, you forget to really taste what you’re eating. Make a rule that you will only eat off a plate while also sitting down at the table. Unless everyone is having coco by the fire, resist the urge to travel eat. Another plus; you may not even want to go through all that trouble for just one truffle, so you may end up avoiding automatic eating all together.
5. Not all water is frozen- When it’s cold outside it’s hard to enjoy a crisp glass of water. Many people get dehydrated in the winter. Not only do you lose the ability to flush out toxins, you are also lowering your metabolism and decreasing your ability to burn fat. Try keeping a schedule of when you should drink water. You can set a goals by dividing a water bottle into sections and marking down times of the day you should have the designated section finished by. It can also be as simple as setting alarms that remind you to get those eight cups in a day. The water may also help keep you full without adding extra calories!
Hopefully these five golden rings of advice will provide you with ways to avoid the extra pounds that appear every winter. I focused mostly on food because that seems to be the biggest source of weight gain around the holidays. If you are already in the habit of exercising, great! Keep it up! If not, that’s okay, too.
It’s a busy time of the year to start new habits, so don’t feel bad if you don’t go for brisk morning runs. Remember, it’s okay if you happen to gain a little weight. Biologically, our bodies are trained to store fat in the winter to keep warm. Plus, sometimes you just need to “treat yo’ self”.