Holidays can be a busy time of year. Between shopping, travelling and social gatherings with friends and family to celebrate and rejoice, our healthy lifestyle habits can take a back seat. Instead of sticking to our diet plans we reach for second helpings, and instead of going to the gym we head to the mall for those last minute deals. But it doesn’t need to be this way; with a little advanced planning you can make this holiday season the healthiest one yet.
1 – Keep to a Work Out Routine
No matter if you’re traveling this holiday season or plan on staying in Dubai, there is no reason to not still workout. Schedule your workouts around your celebrations.
Workouts burn off those extra calories you ate and will help you maintain your body even when your diet is not on point. If you’re travelling bring workout clothes with you and check out the local gym. Many gyms will offer special holiday rates for workouts. Not near a gym? Take your workout outside, or use light bands to perform a hotel workout.
2 – Indulge Strategically
To avoid complete diet meltdown during the holiday season, plan your indulgences ahead of time. If you know you will be going to a few holiday dinners, simply stick to your diet until party day. This way you won’t feel so bad when you sneak in a few extra calories.
Consider this a strategically planned ‘cheat day’. After your planned ‘cheat day’ get right back on your diet the next day and make sure you go to the gym, or at least go for a walk to work off those extra calories!
3 – Fill Up on the Good Stuff
When you attend a party, try to avoid filling up on the bad stuff and instead reach for more of the healthy items. Instead of reaching for handfuls of chips or pieces of high fat cheese reach for the veggie sticks. Vegetables are full of fiber and water which can help keep you feeling full without the added calories.
During dinner, fill at least half your plate with vegetables and salad, then split the remaining half for proteins like turkey, and a bit of starchy carbs like sweet potatoes, squashes, brown rice or even stuffing.
4 – Limit Sweet Treats
Instead of indulging in every dessert you lay your eyes on, limit your sweet treats to just a few of your favorite items, or try sharing. Eating foods that are high in sugar causes a rise in feel good hormones, along with an increase in blood sugar, which subsequently results in insulin release and clearing the blood of sugar.
When this occurs, blood sugar levels drop, energy crashes, along with those good feeling endorphins you just got from that sugar high! This can cause you to feel even hungrier, and have you reaching for more sweet treats to satisfy your craving. Choose your favorites and limit your dessert to one or two times in a given week.
5 – If You Slip Up, Don't Give Up
No matter what happens this holiday season, skip over the feelings of guilt you may have for how much you ate or how little you worked out and get back on track and into a routine pronto.
Schedule sessions with a personal trainer or try a new class to re-gain your workout motivation; consider using a meal plan like Kcal Extra to help get your nutrition under control. If you have been traveling during the holidays, set a date for when you arrive back in Dubai to get your healthy lifestyle back on track.
Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director
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