It's that time of year again! We're running around trying to get everything done between work deadlines, holiday parties, and traveling to see everyone before the year is over. It feels like everywhere we turn there is another batch of cookies to bake or begging to be consumed. And no matter how deep a clean the house just received, it's mere minutes before it looks like it's been stampeded through by a herd of muddy elephants.
Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be OK.
I want to offer you my tried and true Holiday Survival Guide. Because even though I am a fitness professional, I too struggle to find even minutes to exercise some days. But here's the thing; even if I don't do everything I want to do, sometimes just carving out a few minutes for squats and push ups is all I need to stay on track with my own fitness. Here, I'll tell you how you can not only maintain your own routine, but set yourself up for success come January 1st!
1. Use your calendar to schedule your workouts. By booking yourself ahead of time, when you get that email or pop-up notification, you'll know it's time to tie up your shoes and hit the road or the gym. Even if it's just twenty minutes that you take at home in between morning appointments and picking the kids up from school, that's plenty of time to do several body weight exercises and keep the muscles engaged. That is far better than just giving up on sweating altogether from Thanksgiving through New Years Eve. Plan a small amount of activity for at least 3 days a week, and try to carve out one solid hour for yourself on the weekend. Take that hour to go to a yoga class, take a long walk in the woods, or sweat it out hardcore on the bike. Whatever suits you.
The old adage, "you can't have one without the other," applies to many things: Peanut-butter and jelly, love and marriage, and in the fitness industry, diet and exercise. But for some reason, there are people out there trying to split diet and exercise apart, claiming that one can either eat anything so long as they burn enough calories, or that if you eat specific foods in specific proportions at specific times of the day, you will never have to break a sweat again in order to lose weight.
Well, OK. You CAN lose weight by either increasing caloric output or decreasing your intake, but is losing weight synonymous with being healthy? What does that number on the scale mean, anyway? Let's take a look at a few physiological factors that impact what your true healthy weight range might be.
Since I started my own fitness journey, I have maintained a philosophy that when it comes to dieting, a "diet" is never the way to go. Having spent a year in Germany and time in other European countries, not to mention having worked in Spanish, Southern, Steak-house, and Italian restaurants, I have had way too many amazing plates to ever want to deny myself delicious foods.
Restriction has never been my thing. Rather, when I knew I had to make some changes to improve my overall health, I decided the best way to do it was to look at what I needed to add, not what I had to take away. Looking at the recommendations for fruit and vegetable servings alone from the old food pyramid, I realized that if I met my daily requirements I would simply be too full for a lot of the other junk I was eating at the time.
The food pyramid has changed over time, which can get a little confusing.