12 Tips to a Happy & Healthy Holiday

1. Embrace your inner dasher
Tis the season for intervals! I’m adamant about getting my clients to change up their cardio workouts when the 1-hour elliptical stroll has gotten all too comfortable. Not only are intervals efficient of your time, but they’re also the best for fat burn. Set aside 21 minutes. Alternate a 1-minute high intensity sprint to 2 minutes of a low intensity recovery period. Work your way to 1:1 intervals. Thank me later when you have the extra 39 minutes to squeeze in some gift-wrapping.

2. Grub with a game plan
It’s the day of your much anticipated holiday party! Get your workout in that morning. You won’t feel as guilty in indulging. Avoid skipping meals or you may end up overeating later. Don’t arrive to the party hungry. Eat a healthy high fiber snack a few hours beforehand. Be picky. Choose your favorites and assess what looks extra delicious. Sit your butt down and acknowledge that you’re eating a meal. Drink a good glass of wine with your food to increase satiety. Once you’ve eaten, be done with the food. Avoid picking at the cold stuffed mushrooms that have been sitting there for three hours.

3. Fitness can be family time
When my siblings and I are all back in town, we love working out together. It’s motivating, a bit competitive, and always a good time. Try out a new fitness class with your sister. Take your niece and nephew ice-skating. Say yes to a walk with your parents. It will maximize your time spent together while minimizing your waistline.

4. Drink water
Hydration is the secret to glowing skin and burning extra calories. If you drink a 16oz glass of water when you first wake up, your metabolism increases. Why not take advantage of something this easy?

5. Cool it Clark Griswold
We tend to want to do it all– hang the lights, deck the halls, bake 8 kinds of cookies, and buy the best gifts. Where does this leave you? Exhausted, broke, and a Santa gut. The stress hormone cortisol skyrockets when we take on more than we can handle. Cortisol is shown to cause weight gain. Stress less this year by prioritizing what you absolutely need to do.

6. Be realistic with your goals
I recommend keeping a workout calendar on your fridge. Make a goal of just 3 quick workouts per week. This isn’t the time of year that you’re likely to shed off that last 5 pounds. I believe it’s a feat in itself just maintaining through the holidays.

7. Carbs are naughty and protein is nice
At the party, choose the shrimp cocktail, the homemade meatballs (ditch the bun), and a deviled egg or two. These foods are likely to fill you up. Steer clear of the never-ending pile of garlic bread next to the spinach and artichoke dip. Being reckless with carbs can lead to a few days of water retention. I mean, who wants to look like frosty the snowman for the family photo?

8. Keep the visions of sugarplums to one
Everyone has that coworker that brings cookies and candy to the office. This is exponential this time of year. Make a rule to allow yourself one sweet per day. If you had the peanut butter cookie at work, then you must say no to Pennsylvania homemade pumpkin pie later. Choose wisely!

9. Master the quick workout
Time is of the essence during the holidays. Do quick workouts like resistance training circuits that burn max calories for hours post-workout. Try my annual 12 Days of Fitness Challenge beginning December 14th. Follow me on my website www.figofresh.com and @figopeanut on social media for details!

10. No one likes a Grinch or Scrooge.
Another reason to get your sweat sesh in is to promote the release of endorphins, your euphoric feel good neurotransmitters. Endorphins reduce the prevalence of cortisol, in turn decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety. Lend an ear and be of good cheer!

11. Choose fresh
When green bean and sweet potato casseroles, mashed potatoes and stuffing take center stage, avoid the cans and boxes. Many pre-packaged foods contain extra salt leading to bloat. You may also be missing out on the vitamins and minerals fresh produce provides. Shop fresh a day or two before you cook.

12. Remember the reason for the season
Whatever you celebrate, keep in mind why you’re practicing these traditions. Being in touch with our spiritual side decreases depression and give us feelings of purpose and self-worth. Feeling worthy of thyself is a sign of good cheer.

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