The holiday gauntlet of evening parties, long lunches, and hot cocoa on-the-go can make us feel like we ended up on the “naughty” list this winter, but these health and fitness experts are here to set us on the right path.
“During the holidays, it’s important to stay active—whether it’s adding a few extra steps to your regular fitness routine, trying out a new fitness class like my Booty by Brabants class at BFX Studio, or just staying on the treadmill an extra 15-20 minutes, keeping yourself motivated is key. And when it comes to holiday meals with my family and friends, my motto is you can eat whatever you want—in moderation. It’s best to not deprive yourself of things, but pick your favorite dessert and eat just one. These tricks will help to balance out the indulgences that come with the season so you can relax and enjoy yourself.”
“‘Tis the season for holiday parties and opportunities to consume lots of extra and empty calories. Before you head off to your holiday soirée, be sure to fill up with a pre-party healthy meal inclusive of 5 to 6 ounces of lean protein, 1 cup of healthfully prepared vegetables, and 2 to 4 tablespoons of saturated fat (think olive oil, avocado, etc.) to avoid those pigs in a blanket. Additionally, alcohol cannot be stored by the body so it must be metabolized immediately. As a result, you won't burn off sugars and fats as efficiently during the consumption of alcohol, and drinking heavily can cause your metabolism to slow down, which contributes to weight gain. Try to alternate each cocktail with 8 ounces of water to minimize your consumption and avoid the next-morning headache.”
“Avoid overeating by asking your host to make you a small plate and then beg the family to keep you away from the big serve-yourself plates. Watch the time and avoid eating late at night. Consume plenty of fresh, raw juices (both vegetable and fruit) before you sit down to eat so your mind is clear and your stomach is saying to your brain that you are not hungry. Eat lots of raw vegetables (some cooked, but try to consume mostly raw) and fruits, nuts, sprouts, and seeds so you are filling up on nutrient-dense foods and less likely to reach for sugary desserts.”
“I like the ‘half diet.’ It is almost impossible not to indulge with all of the parties, so if I decide to eat a cupcake one night I'll just have half. I try to do that always, not just during the holidays. I also make sure to commit to my regular workout routine... I never miss a Monday and if I have events or parties at night, I'll make sure to take a class in the morning. I also might double up on a few workouts. We have yoga right after barre a few times a week so I will push myself to do a double header.”
“Holiday parties can be the best and worst part of the season. If we aren't prepared for the social events of the season, we can easily be ringing in the New Year in a new pant size. Drink water before, during, and after a party. It will drastically reduce the total alcohol consumption throughout the night as well as potentially derail poor snacking and hungover breakfast decisions. When attending family parties that involve grandma's honey ham, garlic mashed potatoes, and her famous sugar cookies, use a small plate for your dinner plate and dessert.”
"Always be ready to adapt to a change in plans—expect to celebrate the holiday season and schedule your workouts like they are just as important as your business meetings. Suggest a run with a friend to catch up before that cocktail party, keep a gym bag packed in your car or at your office so you are always prepared for a workout, and if it's possible, get your fitness fix first thing in the morning.”
“Don't linger in front of the food. Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry but don’t linger in front of the food to prevent 'mindless' eating. Hydrate! Many people drink mindlessly at parties because they find there is nothing else to do. For every glass of wine I drink, I always drink one glass of water in between. This also helps prevent hangovers. Bring a healthy alternative to the party so there is always something you can feel good about eating.”