December 2020 Highlights

Navigating Fitness & Food During the Holiday Season

Well, the holiday seasons are upon us. While it’s a welcome respite for many, others dread navigating all that extra food as well as keeping the fitness going strong. All landmines to that carefully crafted nutrition and fitness plan that you’ve been following. However, there’s no need to fret, there are some simple things that can help you through the season without gaining extra weight.

First, figure out what usually causes you to stray away from either your eating plan or your scheduled workouts. Once you know what causes you to miss them, you can plan to avoid that. If you know that holiday lunches are your nemesis, then order soups, drink an extra glass of water and look for lower calorie options on the menu.

Three big ticket items for success are all related to each other. Exercise in the morning if you can, make a dedicated plan for working out and/or eating, and stick to it as much as possible. If you can exercise in the morning, you can avoid a lot of the interruptions that pop up during the day, and if you know what you are going to do, then you can get in an effective workout quicker. Sticking to the plan will probably be the hardest part, so put some motivational pictures and sayings around where you will see them, take a gym bag wherever you go just in case, and lay out clothes the night before. These will all help you get those workouts in and stick to your plan.

Make getting enough sleep a priority. Too often if we have extra alcohol, stay out late with friends, go out shopping and planning parties, sleep gets pushed to the back burner. Not only will lack of sleep slow your metabolism down, you are more apt to make poor choices when you are not in a rested state. Getting enough sleep avoids all of those pitfalls.

A really important aspect to remember is that complete denial of treats and self indulgence at dinners and parties usually ends up in bingeing or overindulgence in compensation. Weight loss and fitness is not a sprint, it’s a long term process. A cheat day or meal is perfectly fine, as long as you have accounted for it in your overall plan. Throw in an extra workout, have tea and avocado toast instead of the loaded omelet, and you can still have the five plate Thanksgiving dinner.

Alcohol and the associated calories are also pitfalls to avoid. A few things you can do are to substitute lower calorie options, such as diet instead of regular soda in mixed drinks, lower calorie beers, and having a glass of water or sparkling water in between drinks can stave off overindulgence (And that headache the next morning!)

The holidays can definitely be a derailment for almost anyone in regards to proper nutrition, getting in workouts, and staying true to the overall goal. However, with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can get through the holiday season without falling apart, and still enjoying the holiday season! Best wishes of the season to you all!

Written by: John Paitel, Storm Self Defense & Tactical Fitness


John Paitel is the founder and principal instructor of Storm Self Defense and Tactical fitness, providing self defense seminars and fitness training for the tactical community. A two-time world champion in Tae Kwon Do, he has over 30 years experience in martial arts and teaching others how to effectively implement safety and self-defense techniques.

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