Most people find it pretty challenging to stick to a diet and exercise routine over the holidays. Between all the extra activities filling schedules and the delicious holiday sweets floating around the office, it’s nearly impossible to stay on course.
One of the best things you can do is cut yourself a little slack and try to look at the big picture. While exercise and good nutrition are always important, maintaining a healthy balance is important too.
Here are six tips to prevent you from falling off the sleigh (I mean wagon) this year.
1. Don’t beat yourself up.
It may be easier said than done, but beating yourself up only makes things worse. Instead of beating yourself up for everything you are doing wrong, focus on what you are doing right. Even though you may be used to working out five times a week, one workout a week is better than none at all.
As long as you are trying your best to maintain an exercise routine and eat healthy when you can, you are doing better than most. If you can’t do what you want to do, just do what you can.
If you are limited on spare time, decide what type of workout needs to take priority. Do you need to burn calories or lift weights? Does your body need yoga more than the elliptical? If you do what you want to do, and avoid doing what you need to do, you may still walk out of the gym feeling guilty. If you tackle your priorities first, you’ll walk away feeling proud (and healthy!) instead of full of regret.
3. Make the most of your time.
Since time is precious during the holidays, it is important that you use your time wisely. Instead of doing cardio and strength training separately, combine the two in a circuit training program or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. By increasing intensity and decreasing rest time, you will not only burn more calories but also strengthen muscle.
Less rest time also means you will get more done in less time. Use an interval timer, like Gymboss, to help you stay on track. You can pack a lot of punch in a 30-minute workout when it’s done with the right intensity.
If you don’t have time to drive to the gym, you can always work out at home even if you don’t have the equipment. There are plenty of workouts available online, including thousands of 10- to 40-minute workout shows on LIVEexercise.com.
4. Don’t try to do too much.
Sometimes we make things much harder than they need to be. Are you putting too much pressure on yourself to get everything done? You’ll have more time left over to exercise or spend with the family if you aren’t stressing over maintaining a clean house and attending every holiday function that comes your way.
I’ve learned it’s not the end of the world if I don’t send out Christmas cards or put all the decorations up. Christmas is already stressful as it is. You don’t need to add more stress by trying to be a perfectionist during the busiest time of the year. Your real friends will understand and love you anyway!
5. Plan ahead.
One of the easiest ways to waste time is to procrastinate on Christmas shopping. You can save loads of time and money by planning ahead. Whether you shop online or organize shopping when it’s most convenient, planning ahead is key. If you aren’t organized, you will be making a lot of extra trips and fighting crowds trying to find that “perfect gift.” More time saved shopping means more time you have to exercise or get other important things done.
6. Don’t give up.
Many people just give up over the holidays and decide they’ll work on their diet and fitness in the new year. That’s silly. I recently saw a meme that said, “Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.”
If you want to have a Christmas cookie, have one without any guilt at all. Just don’t have ten. Try to budget calories like you budget Christmas shopping. It’s better to try–and go over a little–than not to try at all.
The mere fact that you are reading this article means you are willing to do what you can to maintain your fitness. So, see? You are already on the right track!!