The holiday season is one in which our willpower seems to go out the window. We overindulge in seasonal treats and underperform in physical fitness. If like us, you struggle to stay on track from the moment the Halloween candy hits store shelves until the moment you are guilted into making a New Year’s resolution, keep reading. Local fitness and nutrition experts share their golden rules for staying on track and healthy, even during the holiday season!
The 10 Golden Rules for Healthy Holidays
Anna Tefel’s Golden Rule: Keep working out!
“My one rule for the holidays is to keep working out! With the busyness of the season, it’s easy to just not workout as much. The excuses become easier to make and justify during the busy holiday season … but just stay committed and fit it in where you can! You’ll feel better physically and mentally, and it won’t be so daunting to start back after the new year.” — Anna Tefel of Studio Novo
Nikki Manscill’s Golden Rule: Stick to a schedule.
“Holidays are a tricky time of year due in part to extra food being so readily available. Even friends who do not normally cook, cook during the holidays — so foods that aren’t usually found in the fridge are plentiful. My main rule for staying healthy is to stick to a schedule. If I stick to my schedule of eating smaller portions more often and my workout schedule is on track, I have a good shot at not adding too many pounds when the dressing has the perfect amount of sage and the sugar cookies become plentiful. This year, Sumits Yoga Nashville will hold 20, 30 and 40-day challenges starting November 20 and running through December 30. Commit to the taking 20-40 classes (and complete the challenge). At the end, there will be drawings for prizes and/or free yoga! This is to help keep folks stay committed to their routines. It takes some love and kindness to and for ourselves during the holidays to continue to take care of our bodies.” — Nikki Manscill of Sumits Yoga Nashville
Lady Fury’s Golden Rule: Eat breakfast.
“Eat breakfast everyday — especially on days you have a big meal ahead. And of course, stay active. During the holidays, it’s even more important to stick to your routine. Plan a Thanksgiving Day workout before your meal to jump start that metabolism, and preplan your day-after workout (Orangetheory folks, pre-register for class!). This way, you can keep your body in overdrive with afterburn.” — Lady Fury of Orangetheory Fitness
Laura Lea Goldberg’s Golden Rule: Remember that the holidays are a handful of days, not an entire season.
“My one rule for staying healthy over the holidays is to remember that the holidays are a handful of days, not an entire season. Many people give themselves license to overindulge from mid-November through January 1, as if every day in between were celebratory. They write off the entire three months, and, as a result, they find themselves way behind their health goals as the ‘season’ wraps up. Instead, focus on the holi-days themselves. Relax, savor your favorite casseroles and pies, enjoy good wine and relish the company of loved ones. Then get back to your routine, as if it were any other time of the year.” — Laura Lea Goldberg of LL Balanced
Laura Lea Gilliland’s Golden Rule: Balance is key.
“Our one rule for staying healthy over the holidays is to not use the holiday season as an excuse to go off the deep end with your diet — as always, have a balance! You shouldn’t be so restrictive that the holidays aren’t enjoyable. Save some room on your plate for a dessert, and enjoy a cocktail at the Christmas party, but make sure lean meats (turkey!) and veggies are taking up the majority of your plate. Also, when you’re not at a holiday party or having a big holiday meal with friends and family, make sure you’re not straying from your normal routine: keep exercising consistently and stick to your regular, clean diet!” — Laura Lea Gilliland of Iron Tribe Fitness
Carrie Ward’s Golden Rule: Keep moving.
“Holiday season means holiday food. While being mindful of your portions is always a must, it is crucial to keep moving. Take a walk after Thanksgiving Dinner, swim at the indoor pool with your kids, try a new and different exercise class (like Bar Method!) with a visiting family member, or rake leaves into piles for your kids to jump into. Be creative, move in new and different ways.” — Carrie Ward of The Bar Method Nashville
Susannah Herring’s Golden Rule(s): Indulge, then get back to your normal habit and exercise with friends and family.
“You should indulge over the holidays — but one bad meal or snack or dessert doesn’t mean your entire day is shot! Don’t decide to go crazy just because you blew it on one meal. Enjoy the indulgence and get back to your normal habits for the rest of the day.
“Exercising with your friends and family is a great way to catch up and spend time with each other over the holidays. Hit a yoga or spinning class, or go for a walk together — make it a family affair. One of my favorite memories of all time was when I rounded up all four of my sisters and my parents to do a hot yoga class together (all seven of us)! Hot Yoga Plus, and many other studios and facilities, usually have at least one class on holidays. Since the schedule is so limited, these classes are usually packed and super fun.” — Susannah Herring of AVO and Hot Yoga Plus
Anissa Pollard’s Golden Rule: Amp up the cardio!
“Don’t overindulge! And if you do, amp up the cardio and burn it off!” — Anissa Pollard of Marathon Pilates
Bird Thompson’s Golden Rule: Practice moderation.
“Moderation is one rule for getting through the holidays without falling off the ledge. Not eating any of the good stuff or having some holiday treats is not reality … but having moderation can be. Here are a couple tips:
- Have a healthy snack and drink a glass of water before big holiday meals. This will help us eat all the delicious stuff in moderation and assist with the overindulgence as our bodies can only handle about 750 calories per meal (an average holiday meal has over 1,500 calories easily).
- Limit yourself to one full plate and no second helpings.
- Have a couple small bites of various desserts to satisfy that sweet tooth instead of one big piece.
- Drink water during your meal so alcohol stays in moderation.
“Some of the above ideas will help you get through the holiday and still enjoy yourself … the key to maintaining is that moderation.” — Bird Thompson of Orangetheory Fitness
Stephanie Waring’s Golden Rule: Take the stress off.
“Enjoy your time with friends and family. It’s okay to have that piece of sweet potato pie — just eat half. And, be sure to amp up the fresh, cold-pressed juice, smoothies and raw fruits and vegetables.” — Stephanie Waring of juice. Nashville
Stay happy and healthy this holiday season!
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