Christmas is seriously the best time of the year! All the fun, food, friends and family make for a great time, but in all that festive frenzy, it’s easy to let our normal, healthy routines slide. However, it is possible to enjoy the festive season AND stay healthy without testing that willpower or feeling deprived. Follow these simple healthy holiday tips to stay active, enjoy your favorite holiday treats and keep your New Year’s resolutions for something other than Christmas weight loss.
1. Don’t try to lose weight on Christmas Day!
Christmas Day is the WORST possible day of the year to try to lose weight. BUT, I see people trying to do it all the time. JUST FORGET IT! You’ll just make yourself feel restricted and left-out and those aren’t healthy attitudes to have when it comes to food.
If there’s one day of the year you can let yourself off the hook it’s Christmas Day! But in saying that, there’s no reason why you can’t eat fairly healthily, enjoy all your favorites AND avoid piling on a tonne of weight.
2. Keep It Healthy Until Christmas Day
If in previous years you’ve gained weight over Christmas, it’s more than likely it was probably all those pre-Christmas functions, not Christmas Day itself. If you want to avoid gaining a new year’s resolution, focus on maintaining a healthy diet in the lead up to the big day.
By this, I don’t mean you need to bring your own carrot sticks to your work party. Just limit sugary, processed or high-fat treats, watch your portions and follow the rest of the advice in this article.
3. Start Christmas Day with a Festive Workout
There’s nothing like a Christmas morning workout to boost your metabolism and burn some calories! Make it a priority by squeezing in your workout as soon as you wake up so you can be showered and ready before the day gets too busy.
4. Eat Breakfast
Always start Christmas Day with breakfast! Bonus points if it’s Christmas themed too. Some of my healthy holiday favorites are a festive red and green omelette, gingerbread protein pancakes and spiced cranberry oatmeal. Try to minimize added sugars and include some protein to keep you full for longer.
5. Pick the Good Stuff
There’s limited space in your belly so, just like you’d do at a Las Vegas buffet, only eat it if it’s worth it! Don’t feel obliged to have a mincemeat pie if you don’t really like them. Politely refuse and save space for your once a year treat of Grandma’s pumpkin pecan pie.
6. Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry
A popular Christmas Day strategy is to ‘save yourself up’ for the big meal. But, by doing so, you’ve only made yourself SO hungry that you’ll overindulge and end up eating more calories than if you’d eaten smaller meals throughout the day. Instead, spread your food out and don’t let yourself get ravenous.
7. Avoid Mindless Munching
Stopping yourself from getting too hungry is quite different from mindlessly munching. Instead of sitting beside a bowl of nuts, chips or chocolate, be sure to SERVE yourself up a meal or a snack. By choosing to eat purposefully and then sitting down to enjoy your food you’ll avoid eating extra calories that you barely even tasted.
8. Fill Your Plate with The Healthy Stuff First
When serving up your Christmas dinner, start your plate off with a good serving of salad and/or veggies and some lean protein. Add on your quality carbs and top it with a small amount of sauces, gravy or stuffing. By doing it that way you’ll give your body the nutrition it needs and have less room for the calorie-laden extras.
9. Spread the Christmas Cheer Around with an Active Family Event
Instead of spending the afternoon lying around in a food coma, get the family moving! Everyone will feel better if they get the chance to move around a little. Backyard cricket, soccer or volleyball are great options if you live somewhere warmer. If it’s snowing outside, how about Wii Sports, indoor soccer with a soft ball or rug up and head out for some snow-shoeing.
10. Bring a Healthy Holiday Plate
If you’re going to a Christmas function where you need to bring a plate, make it something healthy. In my experience, other people love having healthy options among the muffins, pies and gingerbread and you’ll know there will be something you’ll eat.
11. Watch the Liquid Calories
Drinking your calories is one of the fastest ways to stack on the weight over the Christmas season. If you don’t want to say no to ALL alcohol, juices, lattes and eggnog, limit yourself to one or two and think of it as part of your meal. For a healthy holiday alternative, dress your water up with a slice of lemon, fresh mint and/or some fresh berries.
12. Lastly, Enjoy All Your Favorites!
Christmas is a once a year occasion. One day of not so good eating won’t turn you into Santa Clause! Let yourself enjoy all your favorites without feeling guilty but then skip the leftovers and get back to your regular eating on Boxing Day.
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean missing out on tasty treats so let’s enjoy them, stay active and carve our own #healthylifestylebydesign
Have you got any great tips for enjoying a healthy holiday season with the guilt or the weight gain? I’d love to hear from you so post what works for you below!