Did you know the holidays is also one of the most stressful times of the year? Yep! Neck and neck with tax season. (I know, right?!) Are you thinking? “But all the joy, the merriment, the family?” Who are we kidding, right? Probably right behind that thought is the laundry list of things to do. The list of presents to buy, the date of the kids holiday performances, not to mention making the costumes, decorating the house, trimming the tree, the office party, all the extra cooking, teacher gifts before winter break, who is coming in to town, and who in the family no longer speaks to the other (that always makes for an interesting dinner), where will all the money needed for this come from…the list seems never ending. We won’t even broach the subject of waiting in a million lines… EVERY WHERE.
Between the seemingly Santa sized list of to-do’s, must have’s, and not to be forgotten, it is incredibly easily to lose complete sight of your goals you set back in September. Did you know on average people gain between 10-15 lbs. over the holiday season? 10-15 LBS!!!! That’s a staggering amount especially when you have been working so hard to get it off. Stress, less time to exercise, and more time eating and drinking the worst of the worst, all that holiday merriment quickly gets out of hand and January presents itself to you no longer fitting in to your skinny jeans that you just got back into months ago.
Luckily, with some pre-planning, it doesn’t have to be this way! You have probably heard of the Elf on the Shelf or maybe even use it with your kids. The Elf keeps a watchful eye on the kids, reports back to Santa nightly and returns every morning in a different “sneaky” place. If you are like most of us, we use this “toy” to keep our kids behaving in the month of December. Man, it works like a charm too…the horrifying thought of “Santa” finding out they fought with their siblings or did something they weren’t supposed to…(like maybe steal a cookie from the cookie jar)… Well, maybe adults need an elf of the shelf as extra “eyes” to when they are being naughty as well. Someone watching when you are pouring that extra glass of egg nog to help deal with your in-laws. Here’s a start… don’t buy the eggnog. Around the holidays, extra junk inevitably finds its way in to our houses, pantries and even our work place. Yes, it is going to take some serious will power, but you can say no. Make sure you are bringing your snacks and lunch to the office so when the breakroom is full of calorie filled temptation, you can easily escape.
Don’t let yourself get hungry. If you get busy without preplanning your next snack/meal you are that much more apt to grab the first thing you can get your hands on, which will almost guaranteed be clean eating sabotage. Snack on vegetables galore and drink your water. Get enough protein daily which will lead to feeling less of a need to snack.
Don’t skip workouts. I realize time is of the essence and during this season there is never seemingly enough of it. Workouts easily get placed on the back burner, but they are IMPERATIVE for staying on track, not to mention mentally it’s the best combatant you have against all the stress that comes along with the season. An extra bonus, you aren’t just boosting good endorphins, but also your immune system to fight away the gift of the common cold that often shows it’s face around this time.
Choose your calories wisely! Imagine you are at an event, family gathering, office party, holiday get together and you are staring at a table of temptation and don’t want to seem bah humbug or anti-social. Suddenly the room seems smaller and panic mode sets in. Relax! If this is a pot luck event, you can start by making something clean eating YOU can eat and like. It might possibly even turn others on to a new recipe or even a whole new outlook on healthy living. If the food is provided, usually, there is healthier options. Almost every party these days offers a veggie and fruit platter, even meats and cheese (don’t go crazy on the cheese).
Let’s talk Liquor! With all the extra merriment of the season also comes extra drinking. When trying to cut weight, alcohol of any kind is not your friend, but if you are going to let your hair down and do some celebrating, certain options are better choices than others. Wine, red or white, you are looking at about 120 calories a glass (that’s in an exact 5 oz pour, which I can guarantee you are pouring possibly even twice that. Beer is loaded with empty calories, and leads to belly bloat. Mixed drinks of any kind are loaded with excess calories and sugars, easily racking up over 1000 calories if you aren’t careful. If you are choosing to drink, straight liquor in a shot or on the rocks, is really the way to go, when it comes to getting the most alcohol with the fewest calories. Keep in mind, the sweeter the taste of the liquor usually the more calories as well, so steer towards the “original” versus the flavored.
At the end of the day, the holidays, although packed with a ton of extra stress and things to do, can also be quite nice and a celebration of the year’s end. For some, a time to celebrate an amazing year with family and friends, for others a time to say good riddance and on to a better new year, but regardless a time of celebration. Life is absolutely for living in the moment and should be enjoyed, or else, what are you doing all this hard work for any way? Life truly is too short, but do not let all the hard work you have already done go by the wayside and derail you from the fast track to reaching your goals.
Who knows, maybe that Elf on the Shelf is making a pit stop at Wicked and letting us know what you have been up to. We do have connections at the North Pole.