It’s officially the holidays: the season of family gatherings, giving thanks, and, of course, temptation! From a Thanksgiving feast to Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses, the last two months of the year are filled with unhealthy, high-calorie and high-carb treats. Even though the foods we consume during the holidays are often high in sugar and carbs and low in nutrition, it would be downright wrong to deprive ourselves of enjoying festive foods. But, there are ways to enjoy the holidays without gaining two inches on waistlines. That being said, today I’m sharing practical hacks to avoid adding on the pounds this holiday season.
Choosing wisely is perhaps the most important aspect of keeping healthy during the holiday season. Choosing wisely means being conscious of what we’re consuming, how much we’re consuming, and knowing when enough is enough. It also means that we must choose not to deprive ourselves. If you have multiple holiday parties coming up, choose to eat clean and wholesome foods during the day and then choose to limit yourself to 1 or 2 treats at every party. Choose to allow yourself one glass of wine. Choose not to dig into a bowl of chips just because it’s on the table next to you, but to eat a scrumptious treat that you truly enjoy and want. This is all easier said than done—let’s face it, we’ve all had times when we say, “screw it!” and polish off another slice of cake and four more sugar cookies. In order to avoid this, we must not deprive ourselves of enjoying delicious holiday treats. Everything is moderation is perfectly okay. More than okay, actually.
This one is a no-brainer. We all know that working out is crucial to leading a healthy, fit lifestyle, but we often underestimate the power of exercise during the holiday season. With the early darkness, cold weather, and overall coziness of the holidays comes laziness and lack of physical activity. But, counteracting the extra calories we consume during November and December is essential to maintaining weight and keeping off the extra pounds. Not only does exercise burn calories, but it also increases our metabolism. That being said, set a goal to workout 2-3 times a week until the New Year if you don’t already workout regularly. If you do already workout regularly, aim to exercise 3-4 times a week. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn while you’re sitting on the couch watching A Christmas Story!
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
Nothing wakes up your metabolism like spicy food. Holiday spices, such as ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and turmeric, have been known to balance blood sugar, helping to curb cravings and keep you feeling full for longer. Not only are these spices tasty, but also they’re easy to incorporate into your diet. I love adding cinnamon to my morning coffee and post-workout smoothies. Adding some ginger or turmeric into homemade soup or tea is an easy way to incorporate spices into your diet, not to mention that the spices add another level of flavor. Lastly adding a pinch of cayenne to any marinade or salad dressing provides the perfect hint of heat that burns belly fat just as much as it burns your tongue.
We all know that water is essential to maintaining a healthy body. But, during the holidays our sugar, sodium, and carbohydrate intake tends to be higher than usual due to endless holiday parties and an abundance of treats in the office. Increasing your water intake throughout the holidays is a great way to rev up your metabolism and keep bloating to a minimum. I always down 16oz of water while I get ready for school in the morning, and keep a large bottle of water with me throughout the day so I keep on sipping. During the holidays, upping your water consumption to about 80oz of water per day will surely keep your metabolism in check this holiday season.