Holiday Survival Guide

Santa-girl makign shhh - Christmastime 03The holiday season is upon us once again. It’s that time of year when it seems as though there is a social gathering every other night. That time of year when we become seemingly less conscious about our health, fitness and maintain a paradoxical outlook on weight loss.

It might surprise you but I always recommend to my clients to not worry or stress about their fitness and nutrition too much during the holidays. I believe that our relationships with family and friends are so intrinsically important to our overall well being that they should be our primary focus throughout the holiday season. None the less it only makes sense as one of Red Deer’s fitness experts I give you my tips and thoughts on fitness for the holidays.

1)     Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Not just a famous book series but words to live by. Even worse than over indulging during the holidays is stressing about it. Physiologically increased physical and emotional stress for any length of time are more potentially damaging to your health than two weeks of bad habits ever could be.

2)     If You’ve Been Doing Your Homework You Have Nothing to Worry About – Truth is if you’ve been exercising regularly and eating well for at least 6 weeks prior to the holidays than nothing you can do during this time will be a major setback. Solid, regular lifestyle habits do not deteriorate with a brief interruption; though you might see the scale and your energy levels fluctuate they will quickly return once you resume your exercise program at the conclusion of the holiday season.

3)     Unfortunately Alcohol is Always the Biggest Problem – Many people are seemingly confused about a few social beverages. Numerous times I’ve had someone try to explain to me that by eliminating the calories in the mix they are going to coast through unscathed. As bad as sugar is this logic is very flawed. 1-2 ounces of alcohol is all that is needed to suppress hormonal function (significantly impairing the metabolism) for a period of 72 hours or longer. The more you drink the longer you remain impaired, no pun intended. (Ok maybe a little.)

4)     Water it Down – No not your favourite beverage, but by that I mean you. Consume even more water if possible, ideally 4 litres or more per day. By consuming significantly more water than usual you will not only minimize your tendency or desire to over eat but also help your body shed excess toxins from processed food and alcohol faster. This is a great way to further insulate your metabolism during periods where you know your habits will be less than ideal. Yes you may wind up in the bathroom more but even that will subside with consistency for 72 hours or longer.

5)     Gaze Down the Highway – Set your goals for the New Year now. Don’t wait until after the holidays and the rush of resolusionists to set your fitness and weight loss goals. By setting your goals now before the holidays you are programming your subconscious to turn on course to reach them. It sounds silly but this little exercise will give you the will to ensure your holiday deviation from the beaten path doesn’t leave you lost in the woods.

However you choose to enjoy the holidays I hope they are joyous and merry. Spend time with loved ones; take much deserved time for yourself. Look at the year ahead and know great things will come if you wish them to.