Maybe you’ve been killing it at the gym and you’re feeling snatched AF. Maybe you’ve been taking it easy and are not where you want to be. Regardless of your current stage, chances are you are probably freaking out cause the holidays are coming up and we’re all gonna get fat. WRONG.
I’m here to tell you that your holiday splurges will not cost you your progress and they sure as hell will not get you off track. What WILL mess you up is your mindset. For that reason I’m giving you tips on how to stay on track this holiday season.
Time with loved ones is more valuable than a number on a scale
I bet you did not think this was going to be the first tip on here. If there is one takeaway from this article that I want you to have it’s that time is precious and it’s so important for us to recognize the true value of the holidays as a time to celebrate life with our loved ones and spend time just being with each other. If you have to vary your training routine a bit so that you can spend an extra hour with a cousin you haven’t seen all year or to help your mom bake some cookies for the family then I would definitely consider that to be worth more than a random number on a scale that really does not have too much merit to begin with.
Food isn’t going anywhere
During the holidays we tend to be exposed to foods that are less “wholesome” than what we normally eat. A lot of those foods are items that if we were to have in our kitchen we would crave every day. Well, guess what? If you choose to only have one slice of cheesecake, and you are worried about not being able to have another slice for a long time, remind yourself that you can always go to the store and get another one another day. You don’t actually have to stuff your face with everything you see right in front of you because you think this is the last time you will have it in a long time. Whenever you feel like munching on something take a moment to think about whether or not you are actually hungry. If you are not, then what is the driving force behind your craving? Thirst? Anxiety? Just wanting to treat your self? If it’s the last one remember that it’s okay to have treats during the holidays so long as you practice portion control. But if you are eating from anxiety or thirst, consuming more food will not make those feelings go away and may even leave you feeling worse than before. There will always be another time and opportunity for you to eat something you really love.
Alcohol is fun but so is sweating it out
Wine oh wine. I looooooooove me some good wine over the holiday celebration. And yes, it’s okay to indulge and have a fun conversation over some wine with your family. But if you find yourself drinking the entire week, then maybe it’s time to think about what your specific goals are. Alcohol is high in calories and consuming it in large quantities definitely does not lead to better food choices. For that reason, if you have a specific goal to maintain your progress, it’s probably better for you to consider limiting the intake. Here’s another tip. You know what also feels better after a day of drinking? That feeling after you sweat out all those toxins. You may feel like you are gonna die at the moment, but there is nothing more empowering than getting through a workout when you are hung over and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It may also make you want to drink less next time haha. Anyway, try to schedule a workout the day after a family dinner with some friends -- hot yoga, Vixen, Flywheel, Zumba, whatever sounds the most fun to you. It’s also a great way to continue with your bonding sessions.
Always try and keep one thing constant
Traveling for the holidays can be so, so, so draining. I’m talking jet lag, buying last minute gifts, changes in nutrition, digestive and skin issues – these are all real things that truly affect your mood, balance and mindset. When I travel I like to keep one thing constant. My training. That’s not to say that I train at the same level that I do when I am home, but I do try to get something in at a minimum of 3 times a week. Having a small goal that is easy to reach like that, makes me less likely to feel defeated. And even if I do not reach that goal, I always choose to be kind to myself because the reason I am traveling (at least for the holidays) is to celebrate life with my loved ones. Not to make myself feel down. Try your best to keep something familiar as a constant and you will be less likely to make bad decisions that will affect that constant.
Flexibility will always win
When things don’t go as planned do we just throw in the towel and lose all sense of control and just go on a rampage of self-destructive habits? Hell to the no. Learning to be flexible is one of the most important components of finding stability in life. Think about it this way – how many times have we eaten a cookie and thought, well I already ruined my plan, I should just have the whole batch… I’ve definitely been guilty of that. How many times have we skipped a training session at the gym and let that roll over to a whole week or even a month? It happens. The importance of flexibility in times like this is more than you can probably imagine. Especially when it comes to training and nutrition. If you are traveling to visit your parents for 7 days, chances are you have already made the decision not to train at all during that time. Heck, maybe you even decided not to train the days leading up to your trip cause you had “so much to do.” My suggestion is to train normally leading up to your trip and then find opportunities or pockets where you can fit a training session in. Even if it was not planned. Same with nutrition. Do you really need to have a donut for breakfast if you know you are having a really indulgent dinner? Choose your battles and think on your feet.
Get the most bang for your buck – choose HIIT training
High intensity interval training (HIIT) will give you the most calorie burn in the shortest amount of time. If you are on vacation you can get a badass workout in which should last around 30-45 minutes. If you add weights to the mix your body will be burning calories for a longer time after you are done working out – not like cardio. How do you turn a regular workout into a HIIT workout? Do your regular weight training session but add some form of plyometric move in between sets. Some of my favorites are jump squats, jump lunges, burpees, jump rope, box jumps, and jumping jax.
Starving yourself leads to binges
I’m not sure if this is a Hispanic thing, but for as long as I can remember my family has been like, “I’m gonna eat so much tonight so I’m not going to have lunch,” or something along those lines which supports both starvation and binging. Healthy. For the longest time, I thought that if I really restricted my calorie intake at the beginning of the day I could eat literally whatever I wanted at a Christmas party and be okay. Thing is that being hungry is a real thing. And being ravenously hungry while being tipsy off wine is dangeroussssssss. Ooooo child. Ok so give me a moment and let’s talk about a potential situation. You wake up, you have breakfast and lunch as normal, maybe a snack too. You show up to this dinner party and you don’t immediately want to dive face first into the cheese platter filled with delicious yet very calorically heavy bries and manchegos. Maybe you skip that portion all together while sipping on your casual wine. Then it’s time to form your plate and you make a better decision with a clear balance of veggies, proteins, and fats. Then its time for desert and you only have one helping. WHO ARE YOU? In control. That’s who. You’re welcome.
For more follow Camila at @milamarianaa.