The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for most. Friendsgivings, work potlucks, ugly Christmas sweater parties, and all of the other events leading up to the big days celebrated with beloved family and friends. As we’re preparing for all of the fun-filled activities, it’s easy to sabotage our health goals by indulging in all of the intriguing goodies the season has to offer. Not only can this add on a couple of unwanted pounds by the time the new year rings in, but it can also bring our energy levels and motivation down. It’s true, we’re going to face some delicious temptations in the upcoming weeks. Let’s prepare our bodies in a few simple ways. We can start by reducing carbohydrate intake and incorporating more protein and healthy fats (check out our next blog article for the protein and healthy fats tips!).
Rather than doing too much too fast, let’s start with taking something out. Cutting carbs is one of the most popular and effective ways we have found to transform our bodies. I know it seems impossible but I promise, it’s easier than it sounds. I don’t want to talk about starting a whole new diet during the holiday season (that would be madness). However, there are small adjustments we can make to our eating habits which will allow us to maintain our weight and keep our energy levels at bay.
Bread, pasta, sugary drinks (soda, fruit juice, cappuccinos, etc.), and sweet snacks such as candy and cookies are all examples of carbs we should avoid. Try some of these substitutions for some of your favorite snacks or meals. Maybe you could even try making this low carb recipes for one of your holiday parties!
- Instead of bread for hamburgers and subs, try a lettuce wrap or make a bowl
- Instead of pasta with your tomato sauce, try spaghetti squash or zoodles
- Instead of soda pop, try club soda with a lime/lemon or flavored sparkling water
- Instead of a cappuccino, try a coffee with a splash of coconut milk and cinnamon
- Instead of instant rice with your stir fry, try a bag of frozen cauliflower rice
- Instead of candy/cookies, try a piece of dark chocolate or dried fruit
We all know the realities of January 2nd. Everyone makes a mad dash to the gym or jumps into the latest fad diet in an attempt to reverse the month(s) of indulgence. Here’s the thing: you can still enjoy the holidays without losing sight of your goals. Set yourself up for success this year and make this holiday season your healthiest yet! With a few simple steps you can come through the next few weeks not only looking your best, but also with more energy and vitality. It all starts with movement and nutrition. November is the new January, so let’s get started!
Do you have a cubicle or office? Do you sit at your desk for long periods of time? Do you find yourself reaching for coffee or sugar at various times during the day? Include these three activities for 10 minutes during a busy work day or when you wake up in the morning and see results. You may not see a change right away in the mirror or on the scale – but you will notice those “non-scale victories”: more energy, less 3 PM slumps, more mobility and strength, and even less cravings!
The goal is to do these three, big-muscle, calorie burning movements 3-5 days per week. You will not only burn calories while performing the movements, but also after. The so-called “afterburn effect” is more officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or simply, EPOC. Essentially, the more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward.
Stand in front of a chair or bench. Push hips back as if you are going to sit down on the chair while keeping head and chest position straight up. Tap butt on chair and stand back up,pushing through your heels and driving the top of your head to the ceiling, then squeezing glutes at the top. Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds.
Start in neutral high plank position, with arms straight, hands under shoulders, and a straight line from the back of your head to your heels. Keep elbows tight to sides of body as you lower yourself down and push yourself back up to high plank position. Keep core locked and glutes contracted. Keep neck relaxed and head position neutral, no drooping the belly! Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds. ***Modification: Raise your hands to a bench or wall and complete reps as normal.
Lie face down with your forearms straight out on the floor and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor — your body should hover a few inches off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet. Lock your core and tighten your buttocks. Look at the floor to keep your head in neutral position and breathe normally. Hold for 30 seconds, lower yourself to the floor and rest. Complete 3 rounds. ***Modification: Drop knees to floor and complete plank as normal.