The holidays are known for being fun, festive, and full of family time, but they’re not known for healthy eating habits. When everywhere you turn is another sugar cookie that begs to be eaten or a steaming casserole dish of Grandma’s mac ‘n’ cheese, it’s safe to say that keeping up with nutrition is hard to do.
Cypress Fitness understands the struggle. We’ve compiled a list of eight ways you can keep up nutritionally-sound decisions and healthy eating over the holidays. Our gym is committed to fitness 24/7, but we know that you need to have some fun as well. We’re all about finding the balance, and with these tips, you’ll feel better both during the holidays, and after the season has ended.
Why Eat Healthy During The Holidays?
Great question — after all, the holidays come but once a year. Eating unhealthy for a week or a few weeks straight can disrupt your routine, set you back in your fitness progress, and leave you feeling down and sluggish. Don’t believe us on that last point? Try cutting out refined and processed sugar for a week, and see how you feel (after the initial cravings die down). Additionally, an article from Harvard showed that there’s good evidence to suggest that food has a direct effect on your mental health.
The holidays can be inherently stressful. If your eating is off during this time, it can end up adding to the stress. Healthy eating can minimize the damage, and help you keep up with your fitness goals at the same time.
1. Drink lots of water.
Traveling, visiting family’s homes, or opting for that tasty holiday punch can all lead to you drinking less water than normal. Especially when traveling or at someone else’s house, we likely aren’t drinking as much water as we normally do — half the time because we don’t know where the glasses are!
Bring a water bottle and plan on sipping on it throughout the day, and filling it up more than once. This won’t only help you feel good, it can help curtail some of the excessive sugar and alcohol that’s consumed during the holidays. Wondering how much you should plan on drinking? Take your weight and divide it in half — aim for at least that many fluid ounces a day (but more if you’re exercising, traveling, etc.)
2. Keep track of what you’re eating.
It might be hard to count every calorie during the holidays. Instead, keep track of every time you eat something unhealthy. You don’t need to skip the unhealthy stuff altogether, but be cognizant of what you’re consuming. Set a number of how many sweet things you want to enjoy during the day, for example, and stick to that number.
3. Aim for fresh fruits and veggies.
In the world of green bean casseroles and mashed potatoes, it can be difficult to find something nutritional and fresh. Try to eat some fresh fruits and vegetables every day — they’ll fill you up, they’re good for you, and you’ll feel better overall.
4. Start small.
Portion control is difficult during the holidays, and it’s easy to eat much more than what our bodies are used to. Instead of piling your plate to the brim with food, start with a small sampling of food items, then only going back if you’re still hungry.
5. Listen to your body.
If you’re full, don’t push the limits. Take a breather! Go for a walk, talk to some loved ones, distract yourself with something else, and listen to your body. If you can tell you’ve been hitting the holiday cookies a little too hard, take a step back and reprioritize what foods your body needs — not just the ones that taste good.
6. Limit the processed stuff.
Some health experts say that your number one rule for eating should be to simply eat things that you make. Even if those things are sometimes cakes and brownies, it’s better if you make it from scratch. The same rule can apply for the holidays. If it boils down to your aunt’s homemade gingerbread or some Chips Ahoy, aim for the homemade (we’d argue it tastes better anyways).
7. Avoid skipping meals.
In order to compensate for unhealthy eating, people are sometimes inclined to skip a meal. Remember this: your body always deserves food. You don’t need to starve in order to be healthy and fit, and you never should. Not only is that an unhealthy attitude, but it’s unhealthy as a whole — you’ll likely feel more hungry and binge on more food, and it associates too much shame with eating. If you’re unhappy with how you’ve been eating, simply make a plan for your next meal.
8. Talk with a personal trainer.
Cypress Fitness has an elite staff of experienced personal trainers who can help you maintain your fitness goals, at any point in the year. The holidays can put added pressure on our diets, our mental health, and our fitness goals, but they’re ultimately a time of year that should be enjoyed. You shouldn’t have to limit yourself from every delicious thing this season, and you also don’t have to go all out and eat like you’re in college and they had a sale on Ramen.
Get in touch with our gym to see how our personal trainers can help! We’d love to help you stay on track — and to enjoy the season at the same time. Contact us to get started.