Is it too early for Christmas music? The general rule of thumb is to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I’m the kind of person who listens to Christmas music in July. Whether you follow the rules or not, and no matter what holidays you celebrate, one thing is for sure: this time of year involves a lot of eating. Between family gatherings, friends-givings, work potlucks, and just staying inside because it’s cold (I don’t care what you say, anything below 70 is cold for Southern Californians), there will be a lot of time spent with food and less time at your regularly scheduled workouts. Fret not, my friends! We’ve got five easy tips to help you keep from gaining that extra insulation this winter.
1. Just Say No!
Remember in elementary school when D.A.R.E came by once a year and taught you those three little words? As it turns out, “just say no” applies to more than just drugs. You don’t have to eat at a work potluck, you don’t have to have that third full-serving of dessert just so you can try everything, and you don’t have to stuff yourself with pumpkin spice lattes because, red cups! Instead, eat your normal lunch (hopefully, something healthy) before or after the potluck and socialize instead of eat. Try a bite of each dessert and have a serving of your favorite one. And skip the PSL. Opt for a tea or regular coffee instead – it’s less expensive, and both options will contain more caffeine.
[RELATED POST: The Truth About Your Beloved Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte]
2. The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Most people workout after work or before work; I know this is true because those are the only options. But the holiday season’s events usually revolve around dinner, so you have to skip your post-work exercise or work earlier and nix the pre-work exercise (unless you have a Time Machine and, in that case, can you share?). Instead, wake up an hour or two early and get your exercise on at the beginning of the day. This means you don’t have to skip your exercise for the day and usually, the gyms and studios are a little emptier that time of the day! Plus, nothing makes you feel more productive than realizing you burned a couple hundred calories before people are even waking up.
3. Spread The Love
Just like I’m willing to bet people work out before or after work, I’m also willing to bet that you will be participating in at least one holiday potluck this year. So why not make healthy choices for your friends, too? No matter what you end up bringing to the potluck dinner, make it healthier! I’m not saying bring a salad to dinner because if you do, I will judge you. Instead, make a healthier dessert or bring sangria instead of cocktails. In short: add fruit. Everything feels healthy if fruit is involved. Will it be healthy? Probably not, but a fruit tart is a better health* choice than chocolate cake, and sangria will have more nutrients from fruit, health benefits from red wine, and less added sugar than your average cocktail. Other options would be bringing roasted veggies as a side instead of mashed potatoes, a fruit and cheese board as an appetizer, drinking liquor straight like the boss you are, or not deep-frying that turkey.
*I said it was a better health choice, not a better life choice.
4. Walking In a Winter Wonderland
Take advantage of the proximity we have to the mountains and the fact that El Nino is coming and go see some snow! Snowboarding and skiing can burn approximately 400 calories per hour, even more if you’re better at it – I burn about 50 calories per hour snowboarding because I’m mostly just tumbling down the hill. Even just being outside in colder weather burns more calories, so you’d really benefit from any outdoor activities. It’s cold at first, but you’ll warm up fairly quickly. Don’t let the cold weather keep you in, especially if you’re in SoCal; this is shorts and tank weather for your average Minnesotan!
5. Don’t Limit Yourself
Once again, life lessons applied to eating during the holidays. And I don’t mean don’t limit yourself on how much food you can fit into your stomach before you’re immobile. Don’t limit yourself to only eating unhealthily on federal holidays or whatever holiday you celebrate. Going too extreme and limiting all delicious foods until dinner or one day a week or one day a month leads to binging. Instead, if you want something delicious for lunch like, say, a California burrito, but you have to eat Thanksgiving dinner tonight, split the burrito for lunch with one to three of your friends, and it’ll keep you from going H.A.M. on the honey ham that your aunt brought over.
How do you keep off the winter weight? Share your tips (or Time Machine distributor information) in the comment section below!
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