This post is sponsored by Wellcoin. All opinions are my own.
With fall racing season behind many of us and the arrival of colder, darker mornings, it’s easier to choose to stay in bed rather than get up and run or workout or to choose the couch and covers over a nighttime walk or choose a second serving of cake at the holiday party. For years, I dreaded the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year for these very reasons. They were usually my unhealthiest and by the time the New Year rolled around, I’d often be unhappy with how I felt.
I’ve learned that a realistic and manageable approach to exercise, eating and routine can result in a much happier holiday season (for me, it has very little to do with the number on the scale – especially since we don’t have a scale in our house and more to do with how I feel).
Below are a handful of things I focus on as the holidays approach.
- Be Realistic: Instead of completely avoiding my favorite foods during the holiday season (my mom’s cheesecake, seven layer cookies and mozzarella-packed Italian stuffing), I am more realistic when I show up to the holiday gatherings. Nothing is off limits, but I first on healthy food (veggies, turkey, sweet potatoes) and then allow myself a serving of cake, cookies or whatever else I want.
- Short, Hard Workouts: If you can’t run or make it to the gym for your workout one day, try adding on a few extra miles/minutes the day before. Or if you know you will be pressed for time, substitute a short, hard run in lieu of your planned longer run. I used to be of the mindset that it was a waste to do a shorter workout than the one I had originally planned, but the reality is a 20 minute run will always be better than no run.
- Go Early: It may not be easy to wake up early, but it will be over before you know it and you won’t have it hanging over your head for the rest of the day before you attend the parties, dinners or gatherings.
- Be Inspired: Wellcoin is one of the best ways to be inspired – whether it’s from someone’s early wakeups to workout, another person’s healthy and delicious lunch or someone else’s good night sleep. Wellcoin provides insight into various aspects of other user’s lives – and allows you to interact with them.
- Planned Rest Days: There are certain days during the holidays where I know a run will be tough to squeeze in – and I’m 100% okay with that. I coordinate my training plan for the week around the days I would prefer to sleep in or spend entirely with my family.
- Make it a Family Affair: There are tons of local turkey trots and other holiday races this time of year. You don’t have to be in “racing” shape to sign up. Get some friends and family to make a morning out of it. Push the stroller, run with your kids or just walk as a family.
- Track Your Activity: I started wearing an activity tracker (Garmin Vivofit 2) last year and it was the best way for me to learn about my activity tendencies. When I’m running high mileage and training, my step count is secondary – the steps will obviously come when I’m running 60+ mpw. But during the holiday season when I’m often not training or running high mileage and taking more rest days, it’s easy to go from being really active to completely sedentary (especially now that I work at a desk all day!). It makes me mindful of long periods where I haven’t moved while also providing some insight in to how much I am really moving throughout the day.
- Walk more: Go for a short walk with your family after dinner. There’s nothing as refreshing as a cold winter walk after a big holiday meal. And not only will the exercise be beneficial, but the fresh air will feel great as well.
- Drink Water: Holiday parties and family gatherings typically go hand in hand with alcoholic beverages and salty or high-fat foods. These have the tendency to make me feel bloated for days after. Rather than not allowing myself to enjoy it all, I focus on ways to minimize the effects. The easiest is by drinking more water. Not only does water keep you fuller, but it also will help prevent the bloating from overly salty food and alcohol.
- Be Easy On Yourself: It’s okay to indulge a bit during the holidays, sleep in when you didn’t plan on it and skip the workout altogether. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go as planned. Just be sure not to let that one missed workout cause a snowball effect for the rest of the holidays.
- Accountability and Support: There are tons of ways you can hold yourself accountable – friends/family, social media or “healthy” apps, such as Wellcoin.
I’ve been using Wellcoin since the summer – and love the accountability, support and rewards! it provides. If you are interested in learning more, you can read about my experience with Wellcoin as well as some of the rewards I received.
If you still haven’t signed up for Wellcoin yet, use the code “NYCRUNNINGMAMA” (case sensitive) when you first sign up – you will receive a bonus 500 Wellcoins! Click here to head over to Wellcoin’s page.
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