It’s hard to believe November is already here! It feels like it was just summer (here in the NYC area, it literally was 80 degrees a week ago, so it kind of was) and here we are, entering the holiday season. The last two months of the year are jam-packed with parties, family, travel, busy days, and of course…lots of food. Add in the dropping temperatures and dwindling daylight, and it’s easy to see why many of us feel much less motivated to hit the gym this time of year. But instead of waiting until January to attempt to undo all the holiday damage, it IS possible to stay on track and even get a head start on this year’s resolutions. Here are a few simple tips to stay healthy and fit this holiday season.
Find an accountability buddy
One of the best ways to stay on track toward a goal is to team up with a friend or family member and commit to sticking it out together. Team up and decide on a few ground rules you’ll hold each other accountable for throughout the season. Maybe it’s working out together twice a week, doing some simple meal prep on Sunday nights, or meeting for a Saturday yoga class. Check in with your accountability buddy every day or two and share your successes (and admit if you’ve been slacking, too). It feels great to share our success with someone else, plus it’s way harder to snooze through your morning workout knowing your bestie will be there waiting for you!
Have a healthy snack before parties
This time of year is full of socializing – from company parties to family get-togethers to gift exchanges over cocktails with your girlfriends – and most of that socializing revolves around food and drinks. If you try to “save” your calories for the evening’s social event by eating less all day and arrive at the party starving, it’s easy to make a meal out of those less-than-healthy fried appetizers that are sure to be passed around before dinner. Instead, eat a small, healthy snack about thirty minutes before the party. I like to have a small apple with some peanut butter or some veggies and hummus. It will help hold you over through the appetizer course so you can eat, you know, actual food for dinner.
Schedule your workouts like appointments
As if we all weren’t busy enough, this time of year can feel absolutely crazy. One of my favorite tricks to hold myself accountable all year is to schedule my workouts like appointments. This is especially helpful during the holiday season when it’s easy to pack our schedules so full there’s no time left over for a workout. Book your classes or training sessions in advance (or decide on a time to get to the gym or do a home workout), put them on your calendar, and then hold yourself to those times – even if that means skipping happy hour or scheduling something else around your workout. You wouldn’t bail on an important meeting to grab a cocktail with your coworkers, so don’t bail on yourself, either.
Work out at home
If your schedule is just too tight to fit in time to travel to the gym and get a full workout in, you have kids at home, or you just can’t seem to drag yourself out of the house in the cold no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay active and fit! Try working out at home. You can get a super effective workout in right in your own living room using nothing more than your own body and a few small pieces of equipment, if you happen to have them. Try doing a full body circuit of simple exercises like planks, squats, lunges, and push ups, or break it up and focus on one or two muscle groups each day, like this simple leg workout you can do at home. Even a quick, 20-minute workout can seriously fire up your muscles and leave you feeling stronger and more energized!
This time of year brings a trifecta of unhealthy habits – lots of food, not a lot of exercise, and of course…booze. As anyone who has indulged in one too many glasses of wine only to wake up with a mouth dryer than the Sahara knows, even a little bit of alcohol seriously impacts our bodies’ hydration levels. Aside from making you feel crappy (read: hungover) in general, dehydration can lead to sugar cravings, headaches, fatigue, and a slower metabolism. Make sure to always stay hydrated, but pay special attention to your water intake during social outings involving alcohol. A good rule of thumb is to have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. Since it can be tough to get the bartender to keep filling a water glass during a busy party, I’ve gone so far as to keep a bottle of water in my bag and drink it throughout the evening. It may not be the most glamorous look to pull out your plastic water bottle mid-party, but sometimes you gotta do whatever it takes. After all, who has the time to deal with a hangover?
It’s definitely a huge challenge to stay on track during the holidays, but I promise, it IS possible! It takes a little planning, a little willpower, and a little help from your friends, but if you commit to it, you can make it through this season without derailing all of the hard work you put in the rest of the year. You’ll thank yourself come January!
What are you going to do to stay committed to your goals during the holidays this year? Tell me in the comments 🙂