How to stay health-motivated during the holidays

How to stay health-motivated during winter

Winter is creeping in—and it’s usually when we indulge more and become less active.

The average American gains between two and eight pounds during this time of year because calories are up and usually the frequency and intensity of our workouts tank.

“During the holidays, everyone is stressed out and they make excuses of reasons why they can't work out,” said Stephanie Knoop, owner and head coach of Burn Boot Camp in Flower Mound.

Well, time to suck it up.

"If you can't make it to the gym, make your home a gym,” offered Knoop, 34, who is also a mom of four.

Use dice or a deck of cards to play active games as a family.

“Like seven jumping jacks, or whatever the suite is, and see if they can get through the whole deck of cards,” Knoop said. “Or roll the dice and say, ‘okay it's a one! One lap to the mailbox and back."

After all that cardio, attack the whole body with some strong sliding planks. No gliders? No problem!

“You can use paper plates or Frisbees -- something like that -- and have fun with it,” Knoop said.

Before hitting the holiday party circuit, get your mind right.

“It’s okay to have a treat, it's okay to have a cookie every once in a while... but it's figuring out how you can get extra vegetables when you have that cookie," Knoop said.

An apple before the party, she said, will help curb your appetite and make you feel full because the fruit is high in fiber and packed with water.

For those who love to indulge in liquid [read: alcoholic] treats, Knoop recommends choosing the right type of drink and mixer.

“Wine has a lot of sugar,” she said. “If you're going to drink, go with a vodka or tequila -- something that doesn't have as many calories.”

She suggests using soda as your mixer.

Really the best advice to navigate the season: surround yourself with supportive friends. Grocery shop together, cook and meal prep together, share recipes, and exercise together early in the morning before the kids are awake and work gets in the way.

Here are six winter workouts from Strength & Performance Training, Inc.:

Enlist a workout partner. NO FLAKING!! Who no-shows on their workout partner? Not many people, and if they do, a good partner won't let them hear the end of it. Set up a schedule - it's likely you will show up for many more sessions with a friend to hold you accountable.

Stay focused on healthy eating. It's easy for one holiday to flow right into the next. There are parties with alcohol and calorie-dense foods, and it may seem never-ending. When you are having fun, it can have a dramatic effect on how you are feeling. The alcohol and unhealthy party foods will wreak havoc with your energy levels immediately, so one of the best ways to stay motivated to get your workouts in is to start with what you are (or rather are not) eating. If you feel good, you'll probably want to keep that going with a workout. If you don't feel good because of all the unhealthy foods, it's likely you'll spiral out of control a bit when it comes to keeping up your exercise routine.

Try something new. The winter is a great time to try out a new class. Gyms are always coming up with something new and different, and this might be just the right time to add in something you've never tried. Trying new activities will help you find ones that you love, and help keep things interesting.

Define (and track) small goals. Whether it is learning to do a certain exercise, getting stronger, or improving your endurance, it's a great idea to write down and track goals. Start with the biggest one and then break it down into weekly and daily tasks that will get you there. Hold yourself accountable, track where you are at with reaching the goal, and give yourself some non-food rewards when you reach milestones.

Have a fallback plan. What is your plan B for when you walk out of your office at the end of the day and it is unforgivably cold and dark? Do you need to call a friend to remind you how much you love working out? Do you have a secondary workout to do in front of the TV at home? Having a plan B is a good idea, because you will automatically revert to it, rather than coming up with an excuse.

Try a virtual coach. A virtual coach will help you reaching your fitness goals all winter long, all from the comfort of your home or office. You won't have to go out in the cold air, rather you can get the motivation and guidance you need in a setting that is comfortable for you, and during a time frame that works best for you.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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