Fitness through the holidays
Many people give up their normal wellness routine or put off starting until after the holidays; the good old New Year's resolutions that start the first week in January and end about 8 weeks later.You know how crazy things get in January when everyone suddenly realizes they ate too much over the holidays and "starting now, I'm going to get my health under control" and its all high energy, high motivation for a while.
Unfortunately, it doesn't last and then you're back to square one- finding excuses for not exercising. Yes, you're busy with work, the kids, life, everyone is busy doing something pretty much all the time. Is that ever going to change? Will you ever have "extra" time? You have to make time, it belongs to you. I've said it before, take care of your body and it will take care of you. How else will you fight disease, seasonal and life threatening? How will you stay strong enough to do your job, take care of family, and simply to enjoy life.
I do realize we eat more, not just during the holidays but during the cold season. Personally speaking, I sometimes struggle to find warm and cozy meals and snacks that are within the boundaries of healthy nutrition and it can be a bit of a challenge. There are times I give in to a thick, creamy soup or a rich dinner meal just because steaming-hot foods are inviting when I'm cold. Another common threat this time of year is the "cookie exchange parties" I love so much, not just because there are hundreds of delectable, home-made cookies but also because I love the social time with friends. I wouldn't want to hurt someone's feeling by not trying their cookie. Thank goodness I manage to keep those parties far apart. I already know I have to create a deficit of calories and fat intake in my meals and I work extra hard at the gym to keep up with my added caloric intake. It happens.
Instead of thinking of this time of year as an opportunity to give up or not start a new routine, let's put a positive spin on the season. If you are already following a wellness plan (eating healthy, exercising, getting enough rest, managing your time) these tips are for you:
- Continue to manage your time with your to-do list, your family or personal planner. You have to keep the balance and not let yourself fall behind in the name of the holidays.
- Increase your exercise routine: Add more high intensity exercises, more aerobic and anaerobic activities and increase your weight lifting by a day, a few pounds or a few extra sets. This next six weeks you should be working harder and burning more fat and calories.
- Find healthy substitutes for your meals and snacks, particularly during the cold days and nights: some ideas for warm snacks are Hot Cocoa with Whipped Cream instead of Marshmallows; hot herbal tea at night; oatmeal; broth soup; cooked vegetables; baked apple with raisins and a little brown sugar and spices make a very tasty dessert, a bowl of whole grain cereal with warm milk….
If you are not following a wellness program and are thinking to start in the New Year—why wait. You deserve to do this for yourself, especially during these busy weeks – getting started means:
- Prepare a Gym bag and fill it with a water bottle, iPod and headphones, hand fruit (apple, orange), protein bars, a towel and your workout clothes –KEEP IT BY THE FRONT DOOR or in the car!
- Set aside 1 hour as many times a week as possible, at least 4 times a week, to go to the gym, go for a long, fast walk, to exercise with a video home, to be active in your own back yard. It doesn't matter when, where or with whom, but make it happen.
- Make a list of all the healthy foods you know you need and stock up your pantry with fresh fruit, oatmeal, hot cocoa, pudding, whole grain cereal, granola, brown rice, unsalted nuts.Stock your fridge with 1% or fat free milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, frozen vegetables, 100% fruit juice. You decide, but read that nutrition label and make sure you are not eating foods that are high in salt, sugar, fat, instead opt for high in protein and fiber and of course whole grain.
Results – the benefits are obvious but I'll give you a hint—you will, no doubt, feel better, more energized, more alert and in the end you will be one less person talking about a New Year's resolution. Why wait until January or until Monday, START TODAY! Start NOW!