I know I can’t be the only one with the notion that The Holidays are notorious for fatty, delicious, 1-million-calories-per-serving, (not to mention unhealthy) foods & traditions. A little stuffing here, a couple pies there. Suddenly, the season ends — my healthy eating habits are totally out the window for over a MONTH. Not to mention with all the friends, family, traveling & what have you — time to exercise is nearly impossible at some points throughout the season. Leaving me unhappy with the results of the past few months… Resulting in the promise to make up for all the bad eating in the New Year. So typical.
I’m skipping all that internal drama this year… & Here are a few tips I’m using this year:
- Courtesy of a tip I once heard on Oprah, Eat the healthier – nutritious foods on your plate first.. It takes roughly 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that you’re eating and have reached satiety. So, if you consume the healthier foods first, by the time you reach the fatty, butter filled mashed potatoes, and drool-worthy pecan pie, in theory — you’ll feel full (assuming you stop eating upon feeling satisfied)
- NEVER go to parties hungry. Party food is notoriously cheap, quick, high calorie, fatty fried foods. The last thing you want to do while trying not to over indulge is end up at a 4 hour cocktail party starving, with nothing but chips and cupcakes to consume.
- Stay Warm! Part of the problem with the holidays, is they fall in a time when the weather outside is getting hard to even look at… Let alone spend significant time IN. Target and Walmart sell gloves as cheap as $2 a pair. They may not be made of fancy material, or have fancy accessories.. But they definitely keep you warm. (Or you could always go over to my give away to win a FREE pair of Brooks Pulse Lite gloves)
- Make time to work out. No matter what. Even if that means half the amount of time you typically work out, less miles, not as high intensity because of the draining events taking place. Just get it in! Something is always better than nothing!
- Embrace the dark! Whether it’s the crack of dawn, or after the family dinner that dragged on hours longer than you anticipated — the sun is probably long gone by the time you have 30 or more minutes to yourself for a work out. Baltimore in the dark still isn’t the most comfortable place for me, but I’m learning to embrace it. Especially with the new night life gear I’m patiently waiting for the arrival of. When running in the dark I like to make it a fun event. I’ll bring my camera and sneak some gorgeous shots of Owings Mills & Baltimore in the dark. Or, I’ll make a play list specifically for the area I’m running to keep me going through the miles. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that keeps my legs moving. There is a bad connotation with the night. While, I do understand that yes, it is a lot harder to be seen & can sometimes be unsettling, depending on where you run, it really isn’t much to be scared of. 9 times out of 10 if you mind your own no one will bother you. Just remember why you’re doing it, and get out there! Make it an adventure.
- A healthy gift exchange. Do you have a pack of runner friends? A group you meet up with once a week to get a few loops of the trails in with? A local running store you train at? Bring up the idea of a gift exchange! A gift exchange with fellow runners, how could it be better? It Just SOUNDS amazing. No one will understand that deep down, all you want for Christmas is some winter gear, or a sweatband, or (if you’re me) a camelbak, better than a runner! Don’t have many running friends? Don’t even worry about it. Suggest a healthy twist on this year’s exchange with the people you celebrate the holidays with. I bet they’ll be more excited about it than you anticipate
We all know there is also, a LOT of traveling going on during the Holiday season. Some people travel all the way across the country. Others simply to cities near by. But non the less, we all at one point tend to end up in a place we aren’t 100% familiar with (or maybe just aren’t familiar anymore)
- Run with a local. Afraid of getting lost? Bring someone from wherever it is you’re visiting! What a great way to bond with the people you don’t get to see every day.. Not to mention it’s pretty much THE best way to see the city or town. It can also be a lot of fun if the person is a runner. It’s almost like running a mile in someone elses shoes.
- Staying in a hotel? Run in the hotel gym. I know a lot of people dread the treadmill. (i.e. the ever popular twitter & daily mile nickname “the dreadmill”) I find it amusing to check out the variety of equipment in various hotels. Some of the cheapest, low scale hotels have the best gyms! I find this interesting… Of course I’ve seen some state of the art ones in fancy-shmancy hotels too. Such as Orange Lake in Kissimmee, FL (Outside of Disney World) Where there were interactive games in some of the machines. Crazy. But — definitely keeps your mind off the fact that you’re cycling away and helps pass the time you feel you should be spending exploring this new city. But — regardless of whether there is 1 treadmill and a black and white TV, or a state of the art treadmill with Pac Man embedded into it, you’ll feel better after your trip knowing you kept yourself active.
- Run to see the city. As I said before, there is no better way to see a new place than to run it. Driving, taking a train — it is all moving by you so fast that you’re going to miss all the tiny details. Over the summer, some friends and I took a trip to NYC over the weekend. We arrived by train at 445am… Wandering through time square we were astonished at how empty it was. It was almost creepy, but magical at the same time. So, we decided to run. Unless I run the NYC Marathon, this was my only chance to bolt through the sidewalks of Manhattan. So we took off. (Mind you, the term ‘took off’ is used lightly. Time Square at 5am is empty, but empty really just means like any normal city in the afternoon) It was a blast, and so fun. We’ve all been to NYC our fair share of times, but I had never experienced it the way I did that morning at 5am, running — in my flats — through the sidewalks of NY. Bring your camera, go sight seeing, just do it all — by foot (or well maybe not all — some places you travel too are way too far spread out. If so, find a placed to park in the middle of several places to see. By foot, run or even walk as much as you can. Take gorgeous pictures. Pose like tourists even, ebrace it!
Most important of all though… Enjoy the Holidays! Indulge a little, drink one too many glasses of champagne with dinner on New Years, Smile & laugh as much as you can. To the point where your cheeks hurt! We only live once (or so they say) so be thankful for your loved ones. & STAY SAFE!!!!!!
The rest, it will still be there for you in the New Year