By Jennifer Cassetta, CN, MS.
Fact: Many North Americans will indulge, skip workouts, be stressed and gain weight during the holly-jolly season fast approaching.
Fact: You don’t have to be one of those people. Instead of denying yourself holiday treats, or beating yourself up afterward for indulging in them, allow yourself to splurge when it’s really worth it. Here are some strategies to hack the holidays, maintain your weight and have a great time doing it.
- Pack in the protein
Be sure to always have some protein at a meal, especially if your splurge food is sugar or bread-based. This will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you more satiated. Keep track of what you’ve splurged on and make it up in your workout the next day. Start your day with a protein packed smoothie. This will help stabilize your blood sugar as well as getting a dose of probiotics that will aid in digestion and de-bloat your stomach.
- Plan a long burn.
Plan for an athletic event or workout the morning of a big holiday. Plan it as something you have to do, not just something you may or may not have time for.
- Combat the food coma.
Go for a walk after a big holiday meal to speed up digestion and avoid the crash. The dishes can wait and you can DVR the game. What will really help you feel better after a big meal is a nice brisk walk around the neighborhood. Rally your family and make it fun for the group.
- Pre-empt the party.
Making yourself a Vega One shake before you head out to a holiday party is a great way to avoid hunger and overindulgence when you arrive. Have a cocktail and watch as everyone else dives into the appetizers and you just calmly wait for the main course.
- Drink cleaner cocktails.
The amount of sugar in most store-bought mixers is a surefire way to spike your blood sugar and wind up with a hangover. Stick to cocktails that only use clean ingredients like freshly squeezed lemon, lime or other citrus fruit juices and/or club soda. When choosing clean-burning alcohol, put tequila, vodka and organic wines at the top of your list. Don’t forget to put a limit on your drinks and stick to it, while including a glass of water for every drink you have.
- Ask for new threads.
Put some new fitness gear on your wish list for the holidays. Not only will this keep you motivated before you get them, it will be a big motivation to get to the gym before the New Years resolutions begin. New hiking boots, a backpack, a pair of hot new leggings—what will motivate you most?
- Meditate or say a mantra.
The hustle and bustle of holidays can wear heavily on the mind and body. Download a meditation app and squeeze in a 10 or 20 minute meditation to help focus and relax your mind. If meditation isn’t your thing, create a mantra to repeat throughout the day that reflects a statement that is the answer to all of your problems. For example, “I have enough time to get everything done.” Or something like, “I am peaceful, relaxed and happy.” After all, the holiday season is better for you and everyone around you if you are relaxed and gracious.
Check out this nutritious, clean and tasty alternative to traditional egg nog – Vega Nog.
Jennifer Cassetta is a clinical nutritionist, fitness and self defense expert. She recently co-authored her first book called Hear Me Roar: How to Defend Your Mind, Body and Heart Against People Who Suck. When she’s not writing, teaching or traveling the world with her VIP clients, she is at home in Los Angeles hiking, cooking or taking in a sunset.