How To Enjoy The Holidays Without Blowing It

The holidays mean extra items on the dinner table, which can lead to overeating and consuming too many or unwanted calories. However, this doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel when it comes to staying on track with your goals! Below are our top 11 tips to enjoy the holidays without blowing it!

Have A Plan

We are creatures of habit, most of us do well or perform better when we have a plan in place that we can follow or look to for guidance. Have a plan, write it down and look at it every day- post it somewhere you will see it! This plan is like the bumpers in the bowling alley that I still ask for today. I’m a horrible bowler L.   The plan can help you from going too far off track in any direction and is there to guide you back to where you need to be (center pin for the strike!). Your plan can include any one of the items below:


Keep Active

Exercise and physical activity should be a go to for those of us looking to stay on track during the holiday season. Exercise can help us in the following ways: Burn calories, improve our mental health and mood, reduce risk of disease, boost our energy and many say it helps them to eat better to boot! Consider buying a personal training package for the holidays and setting up a set schedule prior to the holidays.



Get Some Sleep

The most overlooked aspect of health and fitness! You can do everything right when it comes to nutrition and fitness but if you start training on 5-6 hours of sleep per night and 3-4 cups of coffee, you will be in for a rude awakening! Sleep helps to maintain motivation, lower stress levels, raises awareness and keeps us from reaching for junk food. When the body is lacking natural energy we obtain from sleep, it triggers hormones to find quick and easy energy- junk food! Research shows we need 7-9 hours of sleep >6 days a week.



Let’s face it, the holidays tend to bring us stress with all that holiday cheer. When we encounter stress the body sends out a hormone, adrenaline, which allows you to fight or flee by tapping into stored energy cells. The issue is we get a surge of another hormone called cortisol which tells your body to replace all that energy even though we really didn’t burn very many, if any calories. That leads us to reach for extra cookies in the short term.

In the long term, it can lead to using muscle mass as energy, increased fat mass and cardiovascular disease. The good news is we have a plan in place (routine) to keep us on track. Each item listed throughout this article can help you lower stress levels. If you need focused help on this, consider signing up for a mindfulness based stress reduction program at Upstream in 5 points.

trainingJoin A Group Training Program

Making new friends with those who are on the same path as you helps you to succeed. Everyone rowing in the same direction will create a rush of positivity that you can feed off of throughout the week in moments where you need strength (such as the dessert table at a friend’s party or getting yourself to the gym). This can also help keep you accountable as its often easier to let yourself down by missing a workout with yourself but if you know you have friends in the class who are expecting you then we are more likely rise up to meet that challenge.

Don’t Forget to Eat

Don’t make the mistake by skipping breakfast and lunch the day of that holiday party. If you know you’re going to consume more calories than you usually do at the party (and let’s face it we all do), start the day off right with a nutrient dense breakfast that contains protein, fat, and some carbohydrate. My favorite is 3 eggs with some bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms and I sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top. This will help get your metabolism going in the morning which can help you stay motivated to head into the gym or group class that day.

Eating throughout the day will prevent extreme hunger that could lead to bingeing on too many treats later in the day. Remember, if you do overindulge don’t let that one lapse turn into a full blown relapse when it comes to achieving the goals you set out for yourself. Maybe time to give your dietitian a call or check in with them. Positive thoughts!

gingerbread-manBring a Healthy Dish

When you get invited to the holiday party whether from family or friends, offer to bring a dish. This allows you the opportunity to ensure there will be at least 1 waist friendly dish at the party! This will help lower stress levels as well. The ultimate 2 for 1 when it comes to staying on track during the holiday season.   You can use alternative sweeteners or almond or coconut flour instead of grain based flour to save on some calories. Check out our blog or Pinterest page for some great ideas.


There Are No Shortcuts

Remember there are no shortcuts to achieving your health and fitness goals. Everyone comes across those days where finding the motivation to head out to the gym can be difficult, especially for those of us who live in the Midwest or Northeast where it means shoveling snow out from under the car. I recommend writing your goals down on a piece of paper where you see it throughout the day. My go to reminder is taking my wife’s 2-year-old lipstick that she doesn’t use (very important disclaimer) and writing my goal for the week on my bathroom mirror. This could be a health and fitness goal such as going to all 3 group fitness classes or totaling 20 miles on the bike path for the week.

Holidays are hard for everyone when it comes to staying on track. That means, right now is the best time to get help so you have some accountability during the roughest time of the year! Sign up for a FREE no obligation training consultation to learn how we can help you reach your goals healthfully, no gimmicks, no fads. Just follow the link.

Sean Vander Veer, RD

Sean Vander Veer, RD, LD, ACE-CPT


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