The year 2017 is ready to make its debut, and you may be ready for that "new year, new you" resolution. However, since the holidays come only once a year, a more manageable and realistic goal would be to indulge—in moderation, of course. So pass the eggnog and attend those holiday parties with a stress-free RSVP, because these easy tips are guaranteed to make 2016's final month a December to remember.
1. Work Hard, Party Hard
Despite your worst fears, the average person gains only a couple of pounds (if any at all) over the holidays. So while it may be tempting to sweat over your diet during this most joyous time of the year, a stronger solution is to just actually sweat. Schedule your workouts in advance, and hit up some HIIT training. Short for “high-intensity interval training,” this approach to sweat is all the craze simply because not only does it rev up your metabolism but, if done correctly, it can also cut your workouts in half. That’s right—less time and more results.
2. Give Yourself the Gift of Rest
While the holidays are the most joyful time of the year, they can also be the most stressful time of the year. So give yourself the gift of rest this season. It not only will boost your mood but also will help keep your cravings in check. For instance, studies show that the hormonal activity related to quality sleep has a tremendous effect on your appetite.
When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of a hormone known as leptin can decrease, and when these levels are low, you don’t feel as satisfied after eating. In addition, levels of another hormone, ghrelin, can increase when you have too little sleep, and this increase can also enhance your appetite. The result: Low leptin plus high ghrelin equals constant unsatisfied hunger. Definitely not the place you want to be when you’re hopping around to all those holiday parties.
3. Cheat in Moderation
With festivities around every corner, "cheat days" are inevitable. However, if you're not careful, this occasional experience can easily start making regular appearances. So don't let those “cheat days” turn into a “cheat month” this holiday season. Keep things in check Monday through Friday; that way, come the weekend, you can partake without completely falling off.
And if you do fall off, don't beat yourself up. Wake up the next day with a fresh start and a fresh plan. Constantly checking in with yourself is what will keep you consistent not only this month but well into the new year, too.
4. Party With a Purpose
Before you step out in your sequins and satin, be sure to load up—on good nutrients, that is. Famished party starters tend to eat more and are less likely to enjoy the other non-food-related elements of a party. So do yourself a solid and have a solid snack or small meal before you step out.
Also, don’t forget to check in with your thirst, too. Drinking too much alcohol during a night out is usually linked to prior dehydration, so stash a bottle of water in your purse or man bag and finish it off on your way to the party. Then, once you get the party started, refill it and down it every other cocktail. These hydration intervals and pregame practices will keep you satisfied during the night and less likely to be hung over the next day.
5. Re-Create the Season’s Flavors
Eggnog and peppermint are just too good to pass up. So don't. Instead, just indulge in a healthy remake of the season’s favorite flavors. Protein shakes using Vega’s clean and plant-based products are perfect for treats that feel like cheats. The Gingersnap Cookie Smoothie tastes as if it came out of the oven, not a blender; the Spiced Cranberry Apple Smoothie is pure, sweet goodness in a glass; and both the Candy Cane Smoothie and the Holiday Orange Smoothie are excellent options for a health-conscious holiday party. So enjoy these healthy and tasty seasonal sips sans the guilt.
May you have a fun, sweaty and healthy holiday season!