Deck the Halls without Packing on the Pounds
A nibble here. A yummy handful there. One little cookie at a co-worker’s desk doesn’t count, does it? The temptation to innocently erode your yearlong progress during the December can be beat with just a little preparation. Check out these 10 tips to combat holiday stress and stopping yourself from snacking ‘till Santa arrives…
Cheers to a Healthy Holiday Season
#1. Step away from the screen! When facing deadlines, we often scarf meals in front of our computers, forgetting to breathe, let alone be mindful of how our bodies feel. No matter how stressed you are, slow down, breathe between bites and notice when you are full. Chances are you may end up eating less and feeling better.
#2. Crock pot du jour! Stews and soups are a great way to save money and time. Make a large batch on Sunday, freeze leftovers in single-serving Tupperware and thaw as needed. Since you’re making them on your own, you can control the sodium level and amp up the protein, which is where many canned soups go astray.
#3. Two words… Grocery Delivery! Seriously, if you haven’t tried this yet, give yourself a gift in December and give it a go. The time you save wandering up and down the aisles can be spent preparing healthy meals for the week. Most stores charge a small fee but early studies show that grocery bills go down over time because you stick to your list. For a little more money, there are online shops that deliver all the ingredients and recipes for healthy meals right to your door. (Blue Apron, Plated and more)
#4. Smart celebrations. When eating out or ordering in, it’s easy to say opt for the most delicious thing on the menu. Who doesn’t want to splurge sometimes? If you only have one big night out during the season, then of course, go for it. The problem is many people have several calorie-laden celebrations to attend. Out-smart the chefs with their oh-so delicious butter sauces and to-die-for desserts by taking a peek at the menu before arriving. Choose the item with the most veggies and leanest protein. If you can, don’t even look at the menu before ordering. You may be tempted to change your mind… When attending a private holiday party, keep the same rule in mind, veggies and protein when possible. Fill up on the veggie tray before the dessert tray starts calling your name.
#5. Bars, booze and bad decisions. No, we aren’t trying to take ALL your fun away, just suggesting mindful merriment. Happy holidays are, after all, about spending time with family and friends. So, here’s the deal. Instead of going out for drinks and bar food, try to have a healthy meal with good protein beforehand. That way, french fries and wings don’t look so appealing, in addition to the alcohol. Plus, having a full stomach helps reduce overall consumption.
#6. Bust a move! Busy holiday plans often means your workouts get rescheduled. But you actually don’t need more than 20 minutes to get a great workout. Short bursts of high intensity workouts can be more effective. So instead of promising to hit the gym tomorrow, hop on the treadmill and do some sprints. Squeezing in a quick 15-minute morning bodyweight, Pilates or yoga workout at home is also a great way to rev up your metabolism.
#7. Step away from the screen. (Yes, again!) How long has it been since you’ve moved from your chair while trying to get your projects done before the holidays hit? The average person sits for more than 70% of the day. Sneaking steps into your daytime routine not only helps you burn calories, it helps regain focus and increases productivity. Studies show that most adults are able to remain focused and productive for 40 minutes each hour, with the other 20 minutes best-spent reading emails, taking breaks, etc. Try taking a 5-10 minute walk each hour or every couple of hours and see how you feel. Odds are you will get more done and also get more steps in for the day. Even if they are just steps around your office, it is less time on your tush!
#8. Fire up with full-body moves. If time is getting tricky, try a routine that targets your entire body instead of just one area. Try using kettlebells, experimenting with push-up variations or burpees and jump roping. Swimming is a great alternative too—especially if you’re partial to cardio.
#9. Happy Hydration. Just when you thought we’d get through a newsletter without mentioning water, here we go again. Eight glasses of water a day can help keep the doctor away. It’s true, that’s why we mention it so often. H20 also helps keep you full, energized and super focused. Help remind yourself to drink up by keeping a water bottle at your desk or set reminders on your phone. Need more incentive? Drinking water also helps you cure (or avoid) hangovers and keeps colds away.
#10. Dial it down. We are all so smart with our devices and gear. Super duper connected. Constantly. To relieve stress anytime, but particularly during the holidays, it’s a good idea to turn off technology once in awhile or make it a nightly habit. For those who sleep with their smartphones, (you can spot us by the dark circles and ever slight, square LED tan line), we are risking precious sleep time for headlines and Buzzfeed quizzes. Facebook and Instagram will be their tomorrow, our bodies need sleep tonight. For the third and final time, we need to step away from our screens.