Sleep, Diet, and Mental Health Weight Loss Tips You Must Start Implementing NOW to Avoid Christmas Vacation Gain
The things that make vacations wonderful – delicious, fun celebrations, and time with family and friends – are the same things that make it hard to stick to a health and fitness routine.
This is why so many of us gain weight during this time.
Studies show that people gain a few pounds on Christmas and New Years (and those who are overweight can gain even more).
A few pounds may not seem like much, but research also shows that many of us don’t lose them all, which means those vacation pounds can add up over time.
But the holidays don’t have to mean weight gain.
It is possible to have fun and let go of the reins a little while maintaining your weight.
And the easiest way to do that is to start healthy habits now, before the season is in full swing.
Stephanie Mansour is a Certified Personal Trainer, Yoga and Pilates Instructor, and Women’s Weight Loss Coach.
She encourages her weight loss clients (and herself!)
She’s been training people for over a decade and these are just some of the habits that have been proven to help them get through the holidays with their health and fitness goals intact.
Replace long workouts with quick HIITS
Longer workouts are possible in the middle of the year, when we tend to have more free time. But in December, our days start to fill up.
By the time we get to the holidays, additional obligations make it even more difficult to set aside large periods of time for exercise.
The truth is, you’ll have plenty of excuses to skip this hour-long workout, and a quick workout is better than no workout at all.
Exercising a few movements every day (even if it’s just a few minutes) will keep your health a priority and help you maintain your weight.
Master three easy meals
When there is no free time to cook, the first thing we do is contact the phone and deliver the order.
But calorie-dense takeouts paired with increased sugar and alcohol over the holidays can wreak havoc on your waistline.
Fortunately, a home-cooked meal doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
Mansour recommends that customers have three easy meals on hand for those hectic days.
Her favorites are: a go-to protein smoothie, a frozen meal (leftovers from dinner or a batch of veggie soup), and something that can be made in under five minutes (like scrambled eggs and veg!).
Fight stress with yoga, meditation or breathing
Holiday stress is common and it not only affects our mental health, but can also lead to coping strategies like eating comfort foods it can also adversely affect your physical health.
It is so important to make mindfulness part of your routine now, so that you have it as a tool in your arsenal to combat stress when it hits.
Yoga and meditation are great ways to practice mindfulness and relax. If this seems too difficult for you, just start by breathing. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Try downloading a meditation app or keeping a journal for five minutes every morning or evening. While on vacation, these habits will help keep your feet on the ground.
Practice saying “no”
How often do you find yourself at social events or vacation functions that you wish you could skip?
The holiday season is already pretty busy, but if you like people, it’s even worse!
Being able to say no to some invitations will ensure that you don’t overload your schedule and still have significant downtime.
Many Mansour customers find it difficult to say no without giving a reason. This is why it is important to offer your explanation in order to decline it and repeat it!
Something like, “Unfortunately I’m exhausted, hope you understand!” or “I really try to put my personal care and health first and I need to take a night off.” Thanks for thinking of me!”
Set a daily water goal
When things get hectic, our healthy habits start to disappear.
Drinking enough water is essential for feeling energized and not overeating. It’s also one of the easiest habits to implement, and generally making a healthy choice has a snowball effect and leads to more!
Mansour recommends setting a daily water goal that you can practice right now, and then taking it with you on vacation.
Water goals are often weight-based: for every kilogram you weigh, you should aim to drink between 30ml and 60ml of water. So if you weigh 68 kilograms, set your goal between 2.5L and 4.5L.
Set a daily vegetable goal
Mansour also likes his customers to set goals for vegetables.
Making the effort to incorporate healthy foods into your diet can be difficult at any time of the year, but it becomes especially difficult during the holiday season when there are so many delicious options in front of you.
Setting a goal of “eating more vegetables” is not measurable, so it is more difficult to achieve. Instead, choose a concrete number.
If you’re not a veggie lover, maybe once a day is your place to start. After a week, up to two.
Over time, it will become easier to incorporate vegetables into every meal, and as the holiday season approaches, it will be a habit to fill some of your plate with produce.
Establish a peaceful bedtime routine
Having a nighttime routine to help you unwind after the day is essential for your mental health.
Giving your body that much-needed break can help you sleep better and feel more energetic in the morning.
Take the time now to create a routine you love, whether it’s reading a book, practicing yoga, or watching an episode of your favorite show before you fall asleep.
Having this time to relax and practice some self-care at the end of each day will keep your sanity a priority – and put you in the right space to make healthy choices in other areas of your life.