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Christmas Crunch Time Survival Tips

If you find yourself in a haze after another weekend full of holiday cheer, take comfort knowing you’re definitely not alone. With Christmas only eight days away, the festivities have spun into overdrive. ‘Tis also the time those items on the to-do list grow a little more daunting with each day that passes leading up to the 25th. So, in order to let all you busy elves get back to business, here are a few survival tips to get through the next week while keeping some healthy habits in check:

  1. Drink water: One cannot exist on egg nog (or wine, or bubbly) alone. It’s no secret that boozy libations are high in sugar and calories. Just remember, if you’re reaching for an alternative, stick with water instead of soda or other sugary drinks that can also make you feel sluggish after the initial caffeine or sugar rush wears off. Water is still king when it comes to staying hydrated. In addition to helping us keep our appetite in check, proper hydration also promotes better sleep which is something most of us can use.
  2. Try a Little Culture: I’m talking about the live cultures found in foods like yogurt that can help keep our tummies balanced during a time when we tend to indulge a little more. The majority of our immune system is found in the digestive tract, so it’s an important place to take care of. Think about adding a yogurt to your daily routine this week, or try a food known for beneficial bacteria like miso or kimchi.
  3. Do NOT Skip Breakfast: I was definitely guilty of this bad habit during in my younger years, especially at this time of year filled with so many after-work festivities. Skipping meals may sound like a great way to save calories for the fun night ahead, but all it usually does is open the door for a hangry arrival at a party followed by a fast track to the richest, highest-calorie option on the table. Make sure to have breakfast with some protein. Whether you’re an Isagenix shake lover like me, or just have a hard-boiled egg or a non-fat plain Greek yogurt, getting something in your stomach is important to get the metabolism going. If you don’t want a full lunch, make sure to at least have a few snacks throughout the day – maybe almonds and a green apple or celery sticks and hummus – to stay fueled. And definitely have something at least an hour before the party so you don’t inhale a plate of hors d’oeuvres the minutes you walk in.
  4. Find Creative Ways to Exercise: Is the party taking you away from your normal group exercise class after work? Then maybe try to get up a little earlier and go for a power walk or bang out some Tabatas in your living room. If you drive to work, park farther away from the entrance and take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office. Try and sneak out for 10 minutes at lunchtime for another walk, or if the weather is bad, use the stairs. Remember, 10 minutes of anything is always better than nothing!
  5. Pack Healthy Essentials: Traveling for Christmas? Be sure to pack your sneakers and a couple of sports bras, tees and yoga pants along with the presents. Don’t forget the portable shaker and shake packets for a healthy breakfast or snack option, and don’t be shy about bringing your own raw almonds, KIND bars or other portable snacks so you’re always armed with some healthy options for the time away from home.your normal routine.

As Christmas crunch time winds down, remember this: the key is to do simple things for yourself so you don’t turn into a holiday humbug and stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

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Gobble, Gobble With Less Guilt!

Thanksgiving feastOn this Motivation Monday, I offer a few words of inspiration to get your week started on a strong note: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

I love Thanksgiving. Just like the Fourth of July, it’s a 100% all-American holiday with no gifts required. What makes this day so special is the opportunity to pause and give thanks for the blessings in our lives. What better way to slow down than to sit down and enjoy some quality time with family and friends? Of course, that time ends up being stuffed with food and drink, and maybe a little football, too.

Since this is an abbreviated work week for many of my repeat readers, I wanted to get these annual survival tips posted in time for the calorie-loaded holiday ahead.

  • Get moving: Don’t skimp on getting some activity into your daily routine this week. Ten minutes are always better than nothing, and mentally, you’ll feel good knowing you made an effort prior to the Turkey Day feast. On Thursday, even if you’re hosting the holiday fun and can’t leave the house, you can pop in an exercise DVD or bang out a Tabata first thing in the morning. If you can get some fresh air, take a brisk power walk or abbreviated run. Your gym is open? Great! Try a morning group exercise class or attack some cardio and core work. A few solid planks can make you feel strong before filling belly up with yummy food!
  • Do NOT skip breakfast: Be sure to eat something sensible on Thanksgiving morning to get your metabolism going. If you’re not feasting until late afternoon, make sure to follow breakfast with a small lunch or sensible snack so you don’t go overboard later. Two ideas: non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a serving of almonds mixed in or a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread topped with a sliced hard-boiled egg and salsa. These protein-rich snacks will keep you full longer.
  • Size DOES matter: Use a salad or other small dish for your meal. Start with salad or veggies and then add the turkey. Use the remaining space for the potatoes, stuffing and other starches. There simply won’t be as much room left as you’d have on a regular dinner plate.
  • Savor the flavor: Eat slowly! If you do clean your plate, wait about 10 minutes before going back for round two. This will help you decide if you’re really hungry. If you aren’t, you’ll feel good knowing you had one helping – before moving on to dessert, of course!
  • Mind the libations: This is a good day to follow the every-other-drink-is-alcohol plan. Enjoy a glass of wine, beer or cocktail then have a glass of water of diet soda before moving on to the next cocktail.
  • Give away leftovers: Hosting the holiday feast? Don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.

I close with a heartfelt wish for you to enjoy a Happy and healthy Thanksgiving! On this holiday, I give thanks for so many things including my family, my friends, my health and for the support I receive from my “fitfam,” which includes you loyal readers. Remember, a few extra calories are worth it if it means spending time with the people you love. Laughter, good food and even good wine can be good for the heart and the soul as part of our ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

My (Annual) Christmas Gift to You

Christmas treeIt’s hard to believe this Motivation Monday brings us just two days away from another Christmas! To celebrate, I hope you’ll enjoy my twist on a classic that’s becoming a LauraLovesFitness holiday tradition. I call it  “The 12 Days of Fitness.”

On the first day of fitness, my workout gave to me…a super surge of endorphins.

On the second day of fitness, my workout gave to me…two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the third day of fitness, my workout gave to me…three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the fourth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the fifth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the sixth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the seventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the eighth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the ninth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the tenth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the eleventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…eleven eccentric muscle actions, ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a big rush of endorphins.

On the twelfth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…twelve reps of lunges, eleven eccentric muscle actions, ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

Here’s wishing everyone who celebrates a very Merry Christmas! I’ll be spending time with family and friends and taking a break from blogging til the start of the New Year. Let me use this time to offer a huge thank you to all of my readers for your support during a tumultuous 2013. I’m definitely looking forward to the happy adventures that await in 2014 and continuing the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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