Staying healthy over the holidays takes some planning and commitment, so Regional One Health Post-Rehab Wellness Manager Kenneth Robinson is sharing his strategies for staying on track during this season of indulgence.
He says by planning ahead for healthy meals and scheduling exercise into your day, you can stave off weight gain and avoid fitness losses.
And if you do slip up, don’t let it get you down – just get back to action as quickly as possible to avoid falling deeper into bad habits!
The holidays don’t have to derail your healthy lifestyle: if you commit to smart food choices and exercise, you can avoid weight gain and loss of fitness.
Certified Personal Trainer Kenneth Robinson helps patients at Regional One Health meet fitness goals safely through a unique Post-Rehab Wellness Program. His advice? “Enjoy the holiday season, just don’t overdo it and lose self-control. Remember the goals you’ve set. You can stay on mission and still enjoy yourself.”
Start by maintaining a balanced diet including vegetables, lean meat and whole grains, and drink plenty of water to ward off hunger and promote digestion.
Robinson said for most people, the biggest temptation around the holidays is sweets and foods with a lot of simple carbs and sugars, so do some advance planning. Look for recipes with healthier sweeteners like honey, peanut butter, or bananas, mixed berries or other fruits. Using these ingredients can reduce or eliminate added sugar.
You don’t have to sacrifice your favorites, he stressed. If you love chocolate, sprinkle a small piece with raisins or nuts. You can also commit to a workout to compensate for indulging.
Exercise is one of Robinson’s top suggestions for avoiding holiday weight gain. “After a meal, grab a family member or friend and go for a brisk walk, even if it’s just 15 or 20 minutes. If you consumed sweets, it helps bring your blood sugar down. It also helps with digestion, burns calories and gets your metabolism going.”
Again, planning ahead is key to sticking to a healthy plan. Cold weather, busy schedules and holiday gym closures can make it hard to exercise, but it’s not impossible.
Robinson suggests exercising in the morning to avoid getting sidetracked and to boost your metabolism for the entire day.
When the weather allows, walking is one of the easiest ways to burn calories: “You may have to put your sweats and jacket on, but you can still get busy and get moving,” Robinson said.
If it’s too cold to get out and the gym is closed, turn your home into a workout facility.
For cardio, climb the stairs, do step-ups on a single stair, do jumping jacks or burpees, or walk laps around the house. For strength training, pushups, sit-ups, squats, planks and other classics are easy to do anywhere. Robinson suggested making it a circuit – do five minutes of cardio then five minutes of strength training and switch back and forth for as long as you can.
While it is possible to stay healthy and fit over the holidays, Robinson urges people not to get down if they slip up. If you do gain weight or lose fitness, be proactive about restarting: “I encourage people to get back to eating healthy and get moving as soon as possible,” he said. “The longer you procrastinate and wallow in guilt, the harder it is to get back to good habits.”