One question that seems to be universally asked in November is:
“How can I enjoy the holidays and everything that they have to offer without gaining weight and being unhealthy?”
You have Thanksgiving, filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and so much pie…then you have the leftovers! December normally entails attending at least two holiday parties with enough appetizers, cookies and candies to feed a small army. Christmas dinner then arrives, followed closely by New Year’s Eve. Combine these meals with wine, beer or champagne and it’s a wonder we make it out with our clothes fitting at all!
So, how do you get through the holiday season and not gain weight?
The short answer is to eat less and exercise more. However, it never seems to be that easy and people have multiple excuses as to why this is impossible. Complete Chiropractic of South Hills has compiled a guide for getting through the holidays by debunking these excuses.
Excuse #1: It’s impossible to exercise during the holidays because I have to travel to my family’s house. How am I supposed to work out at my sister’s/brother’s/mother’s etc. house?
Before you take your trip, make sure to schedule an adjustment with your chiropractor. With your spine in proper alignment, your nervous system will function optimally. This will allow you to fight off those germs from traveling more easily as well as allowing your body to heal itself more easily after a workout. By feeling better after a workout, you are more likely to do it again!
When you wake up at a family member’s house, jump start your metabolism by doing the stretches outlined in the video below. The only piece of exercise equipment that you will need to bring is an exercise band. If you don’t have one of these bands, a towel will do as well.
Do each of these stretches for two to five minutes. Make sure that you hit ten minutes total with all stretches combined.
Are you able to travel with a foam roller, as well? Add this foam roller workout to your morning stretches.
After you are done eating that big meal, it’s normal to want to laze around. Fight this inclination and take the family dog for a walk. No dog? Gather the grandkids and get a family game of football going. Not only will this benefit you, it helps get everyone in the family outside in the fresh air!
Excuse #2: I don’t want to be rude to my host by not eating. I also don’t want to miss out on my favorite foods at this time of year! How do I balance this with being healthy?
If you know that you are going to be attending a holiday party filled with goodies that you can’t resist, try eating very healthy meals the day before and the day after. This will help offset the calories from the party.
Make sure that you only eat the special foods that you really like. Oftentimes, there are “filler foods” (like cheese & crackers or chips & dip) that are just there for mindless grazing. Try to avoid these.
Finally, watch the portion size. You can try a lot of foods, but make sure that you really want it and take a small amount. This will allow you to have a taste of everything without being too unhealthy.
Excuse #3: My family gives me a headache. I don’t feel like working out after being around them. How can I overcome this?
Not only are we faced with a smorgasbord of food and alcohol, but we also are faced with the stress of seeing family, buying presents, traveling with children/pets and a pressure to create the perfect holiday. This is enough to make a perfectly sane person run and hide until January 2nd.
If you find yourself getting frequent headaches during the holidays, you could be dehydrated. Make sure that you start every day by drinking 8 ounces of water.
You should also try drinking one glass of water for every glass of “Christmas Spirit”.
Another way to get rid of headaches and stress is exercise. Grab your coat and take a brisk 20 minute walk outside. Not only will this help stop the pain in your head, but you will return in a better mood due to the endorphins that your workout should release.
Excuse #4: I work retail and my schedule is crazy, so I have no time. How am I supposed to fit in exercise or healthy eating?
If you can’t fit in 30 minutes of straight exercise per day, try breaking it down into three 10 minute chunks. Try walking for 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes during your break and 10 minutes after work. Not only will this help with your overall wellness, but you will feel better and work too! Don’t forget to do the stretches mentioned above to start your metabolism in the morning.
Eating healthy while working a crazy schedule can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Try taking one day a week and preparing all of your food for those 7 days. This way, you have everything ready in your refrigerator. Additionally, keep healthy foods around the house that you can grab and go, such as greek yogurt cups, apples or grapes. These make great snacks and you don’t have to prepare anything!