Thursday, December 3, 2009

All Those Little Things Count!

‘Tis the Season of jammed schedules, overwhelming stress and cookie overload. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that people gain more weight during the months of November and December than they do the rest of the year combined. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and busy, and to skip workouts. Or in the rush from here to there, the busy shopping sprints and plethora of holiday parties, to make poor food choices.

So how do we avoid working our way to a Santa-esque silhouette? In keeping with the Twelve Days of Christmas, here are twelve ideas to keep you on track toward your healthy goals this holiday season.

1. Make your shopping trip a workout. Wear your pedometer. Park as far away from the store as possible. Use the stairs instead of the escalator. Bicep curl those shopping bags. Power walk from store to store.

2. Crank up the holiday tunes and dance. Sing loudly and move your bootie while you decorate, wrap gifts, bake and clean house. The music will pump you up, the movement will help energize you while giving you a little bit of a workout.

3. Make a one-a-day rule for holiday treats. Instead of denying yourself the seasonal goodies you love, allow yourself one treat a day. That means one cookie. One piece of fudge. One small piece of fruitcake. One treat will translate to roughly 100 calories – but for smarter tracking, calculate it before you eat. And don’t forget to write it in your food journal.

4. Speaking of, keep that journal up this season. Having to honestly track and write down everything you eat –before you eat it. That habit will force you to take a brief pause, usually enough to let you decide if the food is really worth the calories.

5. Eat a salad or light soup before you hit the holiday party. If you’ve already filled up with healthy veggies or soup, you won’t be as tempted to scarf down at the buffet.

6. Drink carefully. Most alcohol packs a caloric wallop, as well as lowering your inhibitions. And sometimes there is only one inhibition standing between you and that spinach dip, so losing it is bad news. If you do drink, alternate a lower calorie choice like a glass of wine between every two or three glasses of waters.

7. Bake goodies. Yes, I know, being surrounded by all that tempting goodness can be scary. But my experience is that after spending a day slaving over it, you’re so sick of even the smell of fudge, divinity, caramels and cookies that you won’t be tempted to even taste a bite (your mileage on this may vary, so use this tip with caution).

8. Take time to de-stress. Even if it’s only fifteen minutes stolen between commitments, allow yourself to totally relax. Meditate, power nap, read a chapter in your latest romance novel.

9. Add pampering yourself to your holiday to-do list. Get a massage, a facial, a pedicure (be sure to check out the cute holiday nail art, too!).

10. Create a budget and stick to it. Both for shopping, and for calories.

11. Find non-food ways to celebrate. Go caroling, walk the neighborhood and admire the decorations, ice skate. Dive into that snowball fight with the kids, go sledding, experiment with different ways to enjoy the wonder and magic of the season.

12. Cut yourself some slack. We’re often stuck on the Super Woman track. We expect ourselves to write, decorate, bake, shop, diet, exercise, party and be the perfect holiday hostess, wife and mother. If you give yourself permission to only do half of your list this year, you’ll be so much more relaxed and quite likely find yourself even more productive.

How about you? Do you have any tips or ideas to help keep the pounds off, the smiles bright and the joy of the season front and center?


Michelle Butler on December 3, 2009 at 8:38 AM said...

What a great list, Tawny! I try to be "extra good" in the days between the holiday events, special events, meals out when I may have indulged a little. However, my WW leader would say don't be extra good - be your normal good - you don't want to go into starvation mode. Basically, I try to balance it - and listen to my body a bit. I'm often not as hungry on the day after the indulgence of a bigger meal than normal.

Beth on December 3, 2009 at 9:58 AM said...

Great ideas, Tawny! I don't have much to add except to remind us all (yes, me included *g*) that even if you can't get a full workout in, you can still exercise. If twenty minutes is all you have, don't blow off your workout - instead push yourself harder so you make the most out of what time you do have :-)

flchen1 on December 3, 2009 at 6:21 PM said...

Great ideas, Tawny! All of us (writers and readers alike!) can use these :)

Tawny on December 4, 2009 at 10:05 PM said...

Oooh, all good ideas. Thanks Michelle & Beth. And Fedora, yes definitely!! These will work for us all, whether we're curled up reading or hunched over a keyboard *g* Thanks for stopping by!!

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