LHI Tip of the Week – Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

christmas-cocktail-partyThe holiday season is a joyous time of year as we celebrate with family and friends. Holiday parties and gatherings allow us to connect with loved ones, have fun and enjoy the reason for the season. You may feel like every weekend for the rest of the month will be a test of your greatest will while the warm, cozy blankets trap you when you should be at the gym or when the peppermint fudge stares you in the eyes are your neighborhood holiday party. There are no doubts that the temptations are real and you’re not the only one whose will is being tested this season.

Don’t let the cold temperatures, holiday treats or parties allow you to disregard your healthy eating habits and exercise routines. It might take a little extra effort to avoid the holiday weight gain but believe me when I say, you will never regret a workout and after the temptation wears off, you will realize you are just fine saying “no thank you” to those adorable snowman sugar cooking your co-worker brought into the office. Here are a few tips and tricks that, if you practice them, will allow you to full enjoy the holiday celebrations without feeling like you have “fallen off the wagon”.

  1. Don’t skip your gym date!
    A regular fitness schedule is so important for avoiding excess weight. Not only will you burn off calories, but regular exercise keeps your metabolism high throughout the day. Set a schedule with a friend, sign up for personal training sessions or tell a group fitness instructor when you will be at their class next. You are much less likely to skip your gym date when someone is expecting you!
  2.  Be a picky eater!
    It can be quite tempting to load up your plate when you’re standing in front of a smorgasbord of holiday dishes. Rather than digging right in, scan all of the foods available and choose to dine on the ones you know you really want. Eat slowly, practice portion control and wait at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds. Chances are you will realize you are satisfied in less than 20 minutes and will forget about wanting another helping.
  3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
    It is essential to drink water throughout the day every day and is an important tip to avoid over eating at holiday parties and meals. Dehydration can often be disguised as hunger. When you are properly hydrated you may avoid eating when you are not true to hunger. In addition, sipping water during a holiday party will keep your hands busy and away from the high calorie hors d’eouvres!
  4.  Never go to a party hungry
    Have a small, nutritious snack before you head to your holiday party and it will be easier to avoid the temptations when you arrive. Rather than bee lining for the buffet table as you step in the door, you can focus on socializing with friends and other guests. Once it is time to eat, you will have a more conscious mind to make healthy choices if your stomach isn’t grumbling for you bite into the first high calorie, high fat dish you see.
  5. Active daily activities
    Don’t lose sight of the simple life! Some of the simplest ways to burn extra calories throughout the day are by making your daily activities more active and it is so important to start or continue these habits this time of year. Walk to your co-workers office rather than sending an email message. Do squats or lunges while you’re brushing your teeth. Park in back of the parking lot, zip up your coat and trek to the door. Every little bit counts and you can burn hundreds of extra calories just by making your daily activities more active.

About Iowa Sports Foundation

The Iowa Sports Foundation mission is to provide sports, recreation, health and wellness opportunities for Iowans of all abilities.
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