Perhaps even more challenging than finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list is avoiding the creeping addition of a few pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. We tapped fitness expert Stephanie Mansour for her top tips to help you stay fit and confident, without having to pass up the cheese tray.
1. Eat protein every few hours. It will keep your blood-sugar levels stabilized and keep you from craving fattening foods at holiday parties!
2. Enjoy tasting your favorite foods instead of gorging on them. Sample things and don’t feel restricted. Enjoy the foods that you look forward to in moderation.
3. Plan gift-wrapping and shopping ahead of time. Put this in your calendar and give yourself enough padding time for long lines, traffic, etc.
4. Stick to clear liquors. Stay away from creamy drinks or beverages with artificial sweeteners; and use water, soda water, juice, or fresh limes and lemons as mixers.
5. Take a look at your calendar at the beginning of each week and pencil in your workouts. Research shows that just five minutes of exercise boosts your body image and self-esteem, so this is an essential part of your holiday season. Just like a doctor’s appointment, you’ll have to actively cancel or delete this from your schedule, so if you choose to skip it, it’ll make you think twice.
6. Schedule in some “me” time. A massage, a relaxing yoga class, or a pedicure as a gift to yourself over the holidays reminds yourself that you’re important and a priority will make you feel good!
7. Load up on protein, fruits, and veggies. It will to curb your sweet tooth when it comes to desserts at holiday parties. Remember, if you are hungry, your body physically craves sugars and carbs for energy. Avoid this by hitting the veggie tray and protein-filled appetizers first.
8. Remember that a 30-minute workout at a high intensity is better than doing 60 minutes of cardio. Combine strength training with cardio and do exercises back to back to get the biggest bang for your minute! It’s easier to schedule in and it will pay off!
Stephanie Mansour is a health and fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women. She regularly shares her knowledge on NBC Chicago and has appeared on Dr. Oz and CNN. Join her free Challenges and get more information at stepitupwithsteph.com.