It’s that cozy time of the year again when the leaves are changing colors, the air gets crisp, and the smell of pumpkin spice lattes is everywhere. Yep, it’s fall, followed closely by the festive holiday season. While it’s an incredibly cozy and joyful time, it can also be a minefield for our healthy habits. But fear not! In this post, we’ll tackle how to stay on track with your fitness goals while navigating the temptations of fall and holiday feasting.
1. Plan Ahead Like a Pro
It all starts with a solid plan. Imagine you’re going on a road trip without a map or GPS. You’d likely end up lost or in the drive-thru line of a fast-food joint, right? Well, approaching the holiday season without a plan can lead to similar detours from your fitness path.
According to a study published in the Journal of Obesity, having a plan and setting specific goals can significantly increase your chances of sticking to a healthy eating regimen during the holidays or cozy season(Smith, J., 2019).
So, what’s your game plan? Start by scheduling your workouts just like any other appointment. This makes it harder to skip them. Also, set realistic goals for yourself. It’s okay to indulge occasionally, but knowing your limits is crucial.
2. Stay Hydrated and Prioritize Protein
During the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of rich, calorie-laden dishes. However, staying hydrated and making sure you’re getting enough protein can help you stay on track.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that found that increasing protein intake can make you feel fuller, which can lead to reducing overall calorie consumption (Johnston, C., et al., 2007).
So, keep that water bottle close, and aim to include lean proteins like turkey, chicken, or tofu in your meals. Protein can help you feel full and satisfied, reducing the urge to overindulge in those tempting holiday treats. If you’re struggling to get your protein in, try one of our custom meal plans!
3. Mindful Eating is Your BFF
You’re at the family gathering, and there’s an endless spread of mouthwatering dishes and comfort food. Instead of piling your plate sky-high, practice mindful eating.
What’s that, you ask? Mindful eating means savoring each bite, paying attention to how you feel, and stopping when you’re satisfied, not when you’re stuffed.
Research from Harvard Medical School suggests that practicing mindful eating can help prevent overeating and lead to better food choices (Harvard Health Publishing, 2019).
So take the time to engage with your loved ones and participate in conversations! Eat until you’re full, and enjoy every bite, but remember there’s no need to fill your time with unnecessary indulging.
4. Bring a Healthy Dish to Share
One way to ensure there’s something nutritious at the holiday feast is to bring it yourself. Prepare a healthy dish to share with the family. This way, you’ll have a guaranteed option that aligns with your fitness goals. Looking for a recipe? Check out our Nutrition Guide.
5. Don’t Deprive Yourself Completely
Let’s face it; completely avoiding your favorite holiday treats is nearly impossible, and it can lead to feelings of frustration or guilt. So, don’t go cold turkey on the pumpkin pie or grandma’s famous cookies. Instead, allow yourself the occasional indulgence, but do so in moderation.
According to a study in the journal Appetite, allowing yourself occasional treats can actually help you maintain a healthy eating plan in the long run (Van Strien, T., et al., 2006).
6. Get Active with Loved Ones
Holidays are all about spending time with family and friends. Why not make fitness a group activity? Suggest a family hike, a game of touch football, or a brisk walk after your holiday meal. It’s a great way to bond while burning some of those extra calories.
7. Stay Accountable
Enlist a friend or family member to be your accountability partner. Share your goals with them and ask for their support in keeping you on track. It’s harder to skip a workout or overindulge when you know someone is counting on you.
The cozy season can be a challenging time for maintaining your fitness goals, but with a little planning, mindfulness, and moderation, you can stay on track without feeling like you’re missing out on all the deliciousness. Remember, it’s all about balance!
Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Mindful eating. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from [insert link here]
Johnston, C., et al. (2007). Postprandial thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(3), 714-722.
Smith, J. (2019). The impact of goal setting on healthy eating during the holiday season. Journal of Obesity, 2019.
Van Strien, T., et al. (2006). Success in maintaining reduced body weight: The quality of eating behavior and the satisfaction with treatment. Appetite, 47(3), 519-525.