How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We’re getting closer to the period where most offices close, people go home to their families to spend the holidays joyful and gluttonous. And I get it, once the first Christmas lights come out, I just want to stay on the couch, cuddled up under a blanket, eat cookies and drink hot chocolate. But then there is the terrible awakening, after 2 weeks of break, coming back to the office - “What the hell happened to you?!” Here are some tips to enjoy the holidays without throwing away all the months of discipline leading up.
Prepare for your shopping
Let’s start with an easy one, and valuable for all year around. Don’t shop hungry! Especially during the Christmas weeks cookies, chocolate, and other delicious temptations are on full display. Did you know that the color red is proven to increase appetite? Think about all your favorite fast food brands, McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC… So to avoid loading up the shopping cart in a moment of weakness, prepare accordingly. Not having sweets in the house is the easiest way to not eat sweets
Did you know that the color red is proven to increase appetite? Think about all your favorite fast food brands
You’ll not be able to avoid the temptation completely, but you can make it easier for you, by replacing some calorie-rich foods with healthy alternatives: sweet mashed potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, hummus instead of salsa and sour cream, and replace dark chocolate with milk chocolate. Surprise your family and friends with some healthy alternatives, and spread the healthy Christmas joy. Band Aid already knew over 30 years back: “The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life”!
Take your time at the dinner table
Once you have made it past the first round, take this tip from Harvard Health Publishing Executive Editor Patrick Skerrett: Take 10 before taking seconds. Not only does it sound catchy, there is science behind this. Your stomach needs a few minutes before the “I am full” signal arrives at your brain. Mindlessly stuffing your face for a second time may sound like a great idea at first, but you will regret it later, once your body has caught up.
"Take 10 before taking seconds"
STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOL
… Haha, who are we kidding?! For many of us, Eggnog and Glühwein belong to Christmas just like mistletoes and Santa Clause! But be aware: Alcohol has many negative effects. Besides taking in empty calories (Eggnog up to 500kcal / cup, Glühwein 200-300), but it also increases your appetite, bringing us full circle back to point 1 and 2 - prepare. And have a glass of water in-between every drink, just to keep you hydrated. Otherwise you will not only ruin this night, but also the next day, which you could be spending doing something productive.
Time is of the essence in this joyful time, and you want to spend as much as possible with your loved ones, and recharging your battery for the new year. So you want to maximize your efforts by choosing workouts that give the most results with the least amount of time spent. A great way of doing that is with HIIT (High-intensity interval training) workouts. These workouts consist of around 20min sessions, with a mix of high intensity periods of 45sec (hence the name) and short periods of 15sec rest. Your heart rate will quickly rise, and your body will be burning calories way after you already stopped exercising. And the best thing is you don’t need any equipment to do that, apps like Freeletics offer proven plans that work around what you have available.
Now one last advice to finish off: forbidden fruits are always the sweetest! If you forbid yourself everything, you will just crave it even more. This is the time to sin - occasionally! But when you do it, enjoy it! It's fine, as long as it stays in moderation. Don’t feel guilty afterwards. Because if you feel guilty, then it wasn’t even worth sinning in the first place!
This is the time to sin - occasionally! But when you do it, enjoy it!
With these tips, you will come into the office in the new year, looking fresh as ever! Do you have any secret methods of staying healthy during these days? Let me know in the comments
Stay Fit 💪 - Coach Tim