We get it – the holidays are a time to relax, enjoy and indulge – and there’s nothing wrong with sipping on a little eggnog or having a piece of pie this month. But chew on this: a recent study by Associated British Foods found that the average person consumes a staggering 7,000 calories on Christmas day alone. To put that in perspective, that’s 3 times the daily recommended calorie count for a man, and 3.5 times for a woman. So while we all deserve a little holiday indulgence, we encourage you to not completely ruin the progress you’ve made all year! Here’s a few simple tactics to help you keep your health and fitness on track this month:
Take Five Minutes a Day to Sneak in a Workout
It’s difficult to steal away in the middle of a family board game or holiday shopping excursion, but right after you wake or just before bedtime, allocate a mere five minutes for a quick workout. Women’s Health Mag gives us this simple, effective and SHORT routine for increasing the heart rate and burning some calories.
Bring the Fam Outside
If weather permits, encourage the family to get outside for a game of flag football or to take in holiday lights and decor.
Add Healthy Options to the Dinner Menu
If you cut all traditional options from the menu, you’re sure to evoke some evil stares. So keep the stuffing and pecan pie, but add a few lighter dishes as well, like steamed broccoli, roasted brussels, and cauliflower mashed potatoes to the lineup to help balance out the meal.
The champagne will be flowing, the punch bowl always full, and hot chocolate is undeniably alluring this time of year, but don’t forget to maintain your daily quota of H2O. Ample water consumption will curb cravings and hunger pains, increase your metabolism, and keeps those energy levels high!
Downsize your Plate
We all tend to suffer from clean-your-plate syndrome — i.e. if there’s more in front of you, the more you will eat. Science backs this up: if you use a smaller plate, you will consume 22% fewer calories than if you reach for full-size dinner tableware.
Minimize the Stress
With full households, shopping crowds and holiday pressure, it’s all too easy to get stressed this time of year. And it’s a perilous slope, stress = increased levels of cortisol = elevated appetite for sugars, fats, and salts = bad news for your health and fitness goals. So when you feel your stress levels rise, take a few minutes for several deep breaths, meditation, or just being alone.
Get Enough ZZZ’s
Adequate sleep each night is directly linked with maintaining a healthy weight, and while losing a few hours around the holidays might not seem catastrophic, studies show that lack of sleep can elevate your appetite levels, making you much more likely to over do it on the cranberry sauce.