The holiday season means a lot of things for a lot of people. There’s plenty of family get togethers, catching up with old friends, and exchanging gifts, but there’s also temptations. We’re talking potlucks. Luncheons. Happy hours. Family dinners. Baked goods. You name it.
For those of us who are fitness-minded and trying to stay in shape, the holidays can throw a lot of curveballs our way, making it tough to stick to our regular routines and regimens. Of course, it’s important not to stress out and feel guilty if you indulge a little here and there. After all, it’s the holidays – don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself!
That said, we’ve put together 5 tips to help you navigate the holidays at the office and stay a little fitter and healthier throughout. Don’t worry: no one is talking about fasting here, or denying yourself every slice of that lemon loaf the coworkers bring in. However, keeping even just a few tabs on yourself can ensure you make it through the holidays feeling a little “health neutral” – and that in itself can be a big win!
1) Find the Salad, eat the salad
It’s pretty common around the holidays for coworkers to want to indulge a little at lunchtime or after work. Where you might find more healthy options during the rest of the year, not so much when the holidays roll in. Potlucks tend to be loaded with sweets and everyone always wants to go out for comfort food all of a sudden.
Wherever you find yourself, our secret is to always find the salad. If there’s a salad bar, top off your plate with those greens and dig in. Once you have a nice base layer going, it won’t be so bad if someone wants you to try a bit of their casserole or queso – just pop a scoop on top and it’ll still be a “salad”.
If you find yourself some place without a salad bar or a good option on the menu, see if you can stick to veggies and proteins. If it comes with a mystery sauce or gravy, avoid it or serve yourself so it doesn’t arrive drenched.
Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that salads have the potential to be just as calorie-heavy (if not more) than some meals, but at the end of the day a plate full of lettuce will be better than one filled with bread rolls, fried food, and treats galore.
2) Say “yes”, but only once
It seems like everyone busts out their best baking recipes around this time of year. Whether it’s apple crumble or cookies, there’s gonna be sweets at your office – guaranteed.
Telling yourself and others that you won’t eat anything (especially if you normally do) is gonna be tough and maybe even a little miserable when you see everyone else enjoying those treats. So, to make the best of it, don’t be afraid to say “yes” to the offer, but stick to just one piece (and hopefully a small one at that).
If you end up with a bigger piece than expected, don’t be afraid to just have a bite and then bring it back to your desk. Save it for later when you’re really hungry or have it with your apple or other healthy snacks you’d normally have.
3) Pick one meal and give yourself a free pass
Some people promise themselves they’ll stick to healthy food all holiday season. Most of them don’t make it through. While noble, it’s just about impossible to make it through December without indulging yourself just a little bit.
In the same way we encourage you to enjoy holiday snacks in moderation, give yourself a free pass to really dive into one holiday meal. It could be that potluck or family dinner or work party or whatever. Eat whatever you like and enjoy it while you’re there – but just that once! The rest of the time, try to stick to the salad and keep moderation as your rule of thumb.
If you can manage this, you’ll come out of the holidays better off than if you dove into every opportunity to feast. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy a little feasting without feeling the effects of a week-long binge.
4) Stay on top of those Office WODS
Our best advice here is that if the WODs are part of your routine, keep that routine going. Don’t cut them out, don’t slow them down, just keep them steady and consistent.
If you can manage to keep giving yourself micro bursts of fitness through the holidays, you’ll be able to get back into your regular routine and form quicker in the new year. There’s nothing worse than starting off the new year feeling sluggish and lethargic!
5) Stay hyper hydrated
Staying hydrated during the holidays is just as important if not more so than around the rest of the year. Water still has the benefit of clearing your head and keeping you focused, but it can also help wash away or stave off the sugar cravings you get after that first bite of something sweet – helping you stick to just one treat at a time.
Drinking lots of water can also help with the inevitable social drinking that happens around this time of year. In fact, it doesn’t have to be just water: a great way to mitigate some of the heaviness of alcohol is to alternate every beverage between an alcoholic one and a non-alcoholic one. Switch from that gin and tonic to a club soda or an ice tea.
Give yourself bonus points if you try to go undercover all night by sneaking a lime wedge onto the side of your non-alcoholic beverage (Protip: ask for a small glass). You might be surprised at how long you can go before your cover gets blown!
Yours in wellness,
The FC Squad