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With a little planning and thought, your nutrition and fitness can not only survive, but thrive during the holidays.

First of all, I am not a scrooge!
I love the holidays and have all these wonderful memories and feelings of family, fun and food. I believe we need these times of celebrations to give us pause and time to reflect on life’s meaning.

  • To Enjoy
  • To Laugh
  • To eat
  • To Drink
  • And To Be Merry!

BUT … there’s something not-so-awesome, too – it’s all those sneaky saboteurs that come out during the holidays. The holidays can be a time when we really get our fitness and health out of whack. There are holiday saboteurs lurking around every corner to throw you off track, The best solution is to find some balance and approach the holidays in a proactive way. Just like your fitness, attack the holidays with gusto, but with a plan to avoid completely derailing your health and fitness gains.

I put together this list of the 6 common ways you can beat the holiday saboteurs. To enjoy, have fun and win the holidays.

 Top 6 Ways to Beat the Holiday Saboteurs (and keep your fitness on track).

 1. Eat before the party.

This one should be fairly obvious. It’s just like the adage “Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach.”
You know the party is going to be great, the food plentiful and filled with holiday joy (read fat, sugar calories!)
Plan a high quality, high protein pre-meal 1-2 hours before your event. You will be sated and much more able to have a small bit of this or that and feel satisfied. It isn’t very realistic to go to the event thinking you are going to deprive yourself. That’s really no way to celebrate. Instead, fill up on high octane fuel before you go and you can reward yourself in moderation.

 2. Avoid fancy seasonal coffeehouse drinks.

They are so tempting and the commercials make them look soooo good! But these saboteurs are sneaky and, if you think about it, easy to avoid. Especially if you add up the cost in both $ and Calories.

Even if you’ve seen these numbers before, they bear another look. Talk about empty calories and a roller-coaster ride for your blood sugar levels.

  •  Peppermint Hot Chocolate: 12 oz (350 ml) has 330 calories & 41 grams of sugar
  • Caramel Brulee Latte – 12 oz (350 ml) has 310 calories & 36 grams of sugar
  • Eggnog Frappuccino – 16 oz (475 ml) has 410 calories & 60 grams of sugar

3. Eat Mindfully

Your once-a-year indulgence in your Nana’s famous gingerbread – so worth it!

The store-bought cookies someone bought at the last minute to bring to the holiday party? Not so much. They’ll just leave you feeling tired and sorry you ate them.
If you switch your thoughts to mindful eating, you can truly enjoy the process.
For instance:

  • “Am I eating this because I’m hungry?”
  • “Because it feels good?”
  • “Because it reminds me of home, comfort, love, joy ________ (fill in the blank)?”
  • “Because it’s here in front of me?”
  • “Because everyone else is eating it, too?”

Try to suspend judgment here.
There’s not a right or wrong answer. But the more mindfully you consume, the the more pleasure and satisfaction you will get from the experience.

 4. Drink like a fish

You and I know that alcohol can be a holiday fitness saboteur. You may also know I really like my beer. Especially those thick, rich (read lots of calorie) craft beers. For me, the holidays are no time for depriving myself. But I can be smart about it.

There are a lot of reasons to be intentional about your alcohol intake. It can interfere with your sleep and make you dehydrated … plus it also contains a lot of empty calories.
And, an additional saboteur: It can lower your inhibitions, which means you might be more likely to snack on foods you’d normally avoid!

In fitness we have a thing called supersets. You work two opposing muscle groups back to back to stimulate symmetrical growth (for example bicep curls paired with tricep dips).

Try approaching your holiday (or any day) drinking like this. Superset your drinking:  For every alcohol drink, drink an equal amount of water. 
This will do 3 things: It will help keep you hydrated and avoid those pesky electrolyte imbalance headaches (some call them hangovers). And as a bonus it will fill you up and lead you to consume less alcohol.

5. Keep your fitness routine on track

The holidays are a great time to get extra workouts in. Having the discipline to get up for that 6 am class is a great way to plan your holiday partying. And a great reason (excuse) to keep the revelry in moderation. Any of us who have ever tried to get a workout in while battling a hangover can attest!
Approach your holiday fitness routine with the same gusto as your holiday partying. Balance is the key!
Not just for your results, but for your mind and overall health.

 6. Hit the Sack

Making time for sleep is SO WORTH IT. You’ll have more energy to tackle the holidays … plus it will even help keep your metabolism revved and appetite in check.
Most of us don’t think about it, don’t plan for it and don’t approach it with the same discipline as we do nutrition or exercise. But sleep is just as important and needs to be given the same priority as all of those things.
The holidays are a great time to make sleep as important as all the other things we cram into our day.

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Remember, it’s all about MODERATION. Don’t let the saboteurs ruin your fitness this holiday season.
Having a plan in place is SO IMPORTANT not only during the holidays … but all year long.

Here’s to your health and to a happy, healthy holiday season!

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Author John

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