— By Nutritionista
A lot of people (if not most) complain about the holidays in terms of what it does to their waistlines. Sure, there’s more food around — and more of it is on the indulgent side. But that’s why we have the Here and Now Concept, right? Beyond that, though, there are some other reasons why the holidays don’t have to be a debacle when it comes to your diet. In fact, it can be a time to really get back on track when it comes to food and fitness. Don’t believe me? Here are some reasons why the holidays can be good for your health:
- There are often TONS of food options! Yes, you have to take the good with the bad on this one, but I believe that most people have at least some healthy food options at their holiday table — and they’ll be delicious, too! Often, the main dish is some kind of roast meat, and there are usually a few veggie sides to go along with it. Fill the majority of your plate with protein and veggies, and fill in the small holes with little bites of the carby stuff. When it comes to dessert, DEFINITELY consider Here and Now.
- The abundance of food makes it easy to have many small meals. Holiday parties with more appetizers than you can count or a houses where food seems to be constantly coming out of the kitchen might seem like tricky situations to navigate. But you can really take advantage of the various food options to eat 5-6 smaller meals full of variety (instead of 3 larger ones). Use appetizer plates or just napkins to keep the small meals well-portioned, and just remind yourself that you can always eat again in a few hours when you get hungry — because the food isn’t going anywhere.
- You can buddy up with health-minded relatives. Find your cousin or aunt who cares about staying healthy at the holidays and team up to find workout time and stick to the healthy (yet tasty) food options. Although your whole family might not be on the healthy-living boat, I’m betting you have at least one family member who is — or at least will support you in your goals. If it’s not too cold out, take walks, do a group workout video, or conduct an impromptu workout class (I’ve done this with my fam and it’s actually super fun).
- You usually have a bit more down time. Yes, you might be traveling, or spending time with a myriad of relatives. But when you’re off work, you suddenly have eight hours a day that you don’t usually have. Use them to your advantage! Use some of that extra leisurely family movie/lounging time to fit in a workout. Don’t belong to a gym nearby? That’s no excuse! Here’s a 20-minute workout you can do with absolutely no equipment:
- minute 1: mountain climbers
- minute 2: jump lunges
- minute 3: fake jump rope
- minute 4: push-ups
- minute 5: jumping jacks
- minute 6: shadowboxing
- minute 7: run in place
- minute 8: squat jumps
- minute 9: high knees
- minute 10: tricep dips (use a bed or sturdy table)
- minute 11: butt kicks
- minute 12: supermans
- minute 13: shadowboxing
- minute 14: oblique punches (twist and punch while in a squat position)
- minute 15: high jumps
- minute 16: plank
- minute 17: ski jumps
- minute 18: tricep pushups (form your hands in a diamond shape)
- minute 19: alternating lunges
- minute 20: pushups
- You’re more relaxed! Unless your family is REALLY crazy (or your hosting 30 people), you’re probably a bit more relaxed and laid-back during the holidays than you normally are. Use this to your advantage! Instead of using the holidays as an excuse to never get up from the couch, use your mellow mood to your advantage. It can be hard to make good food and fitness decisions when you’re stressed, so think of this time as a health jump-start for the rest of the year.
I know the holidays can be chaotic, but I promise, you can use the time to your advantage. If all else fails, just know that spending time with friends and family is good for your health regardless. Happy holidays!