Happy, Healthy Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… 

And yet this is the time of the year when many of us may struggle the most to stay on track with our health and fitness goals. 

Busy shopping days and full social calendars that may pull us away from our workout routines, and tasty holiday goodies that only pop up once a year seem to be lurking everywhere.

It’s way too easy to find yourself feeling sluggish, out of shape and set back come New Year’s Day.  

Statistics show that about 75% of annual weight gain happens during the holiday season.  UGH! 

I personally battled holiday gain more than I’d like to admit... And it was NOT fun to have to shed that extra unwanted body fat every January!  

Besides the negative physical effects, and the damage to my metabolism from binging then dieting, this whole experience left me feeling super deflated, and less confident year after year.

I feel so grateful to say the past few years I have been able to find true balance when it comes to staying on track with my health and fitness goals AND still enjoying life to the fullest (note: NOT depriving myself of my favorite food… or cocktails!)

I enjoy the holidays so much more when I'm not wracked with guilt, stressing over weight gain, or feeling crappy about my body.

So I want to share with you my best tips for enjoying the holidays without feeling “off” with your health and body... Just in time for Thanksgiving!

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4 Tips for Happy, Healthy Holidays:

1. Set up a game plan. 

If your family is like mine, they know how to party.  For my family holidays mean fun, food and booze!!  (We’re from Wisconsin, after all.)  Going into the holiday season I look at my social calendar and plan ahead to balance things out. 

The week of Christmas alone I have SIX different holiday parties to attend... if I were to have a free-for-all at every party the aftermath would NOT be pretty.  So I decide ahead of time when and where I’ll splurge.  One night I might indulge in cocktails but skip the dessert table.  At another party I might pass on a large serving of potatoes and then enjoy a few of my favorite Christmas cookies.  This doesn’t have to be rigid at ALL- but developing a plan ahead of time keeps you from getting caught up in the moment and going overboard.

*Bonus Tip: I tell my clients to do a little visualization before big events and parties.  Close your eyes and in your mind, envision yourself going through the event making choices that have you feeling GREAT in the moment, and just as great the following day! Picture how much fun you’re going to have being IN the moment- not hung up on food. Visualizing yourself acting as your "highest self" is a powerful exercise to follow through.

2. Don’t starve yourself!!

Don't slash your food intake the day of a holiday party when you are going to indulge.  This will only slow your metabolism, making your body more likely to store excess calories as fat- AND it will leave you famished by the time you get to the celebration, making it way more likely for you to NOT make conscious, healthy choices for yourself. 

Instead, stick to small, healthy meals and snacks through the day.  Load up on the “good stuff” like lean proteins, healthy fats and vegetables those days since many “party” foods are higher in carbohydrates and sugar.

3. “Earn your bird.” 

This is my phrase for my workouts the week of Thanksgiving, but this goes for the entire holiday season.  If you want a little more “wiggle room” to indulge in seasonal goodies, then put those extra calories to WORK...by sweating more!

You can also crank up the intensity of your workouts, to get a bigger fat-burn effect.  I suggest circuit training, supersets and tri-sets while lifting, and HIIT training to up the ante and make the most of your sweat sessions.

*Bonus Tip: Want more help with your workout program??

For a customized workout routine (at-home OR at the gym) CLICK HERE!

4. Last but not least, keep things in perspective. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year... But there is a LOT more to it than just the food! 

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received on this matter was: “Life is about the people and experiences around you, NOT what is on the plate in front of you.”  

Remind yourself of this before you walk into each holiday get-together.  Remember to be present in the moment, and enjoy the precious time with family and friends, instead of being hung up on food.  

When you do indulge, savor that moment- take it the sights, the smells, the tastes... The more present and mindful you are, the more you will really enjoy the experience, and most likely find yourself satisfied with feeling the need to go overboard.

Wishing everyone the happiest holiday season filled with good vibes & priceless memories!