Many of you may be hitting the road over the next few days to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s with family or friends.
Travel can be one of the hardest times for people to maintain their health and wellness. Throw in holiday stress, and many give up all together.
Instead, you may fall into the pies, cookies, and other holiday treats, resolving to lose weight come January 2.
But how’s that worked out for you in the past?
Chances are you started out strong enough. You may have joined a gym or begun an exercise program. Maybe you beat the odds and kept it going for a month or two—or even met your weight-loss goal.
But then the weight crept back on and here you are at the holidays resolving to lose weight—again.
What if you could make some simple changes now that would improve your chances of successfully losing the weight—and keeping it off—in the New Year?
- It’s easier than you currently believe?
- You can still eat everything you really want?
- The confidence you generate now will help fuel your success come January 2?
Many people are so focused on the time that they don’t have that they miss all the small opportunities they do have to work physical and emotional wellness into their day.
Here are some practical tips that will help you maintain your wellness while traveling—or while dealing with holiday stress—and give you a head-start on getting the body you want come January.
Eat Only What You Love
Let’s face it. Not everything is calorie worthy.
If it’s not curl your toes and satisfy your soul delicious—don’t eat it.
Be discerning about what you are going to indulge in.
You may feel like its “polite” to eat some of everything, but all that’s doing is keeping you from truly enjoying the foods that you love—and potentially packing on pounds. Most people aren’t paying that much attention to what you are putting on your plate, so pick the one or two items that you truly love and would feel deprived if you weren’t eating.
Then really savor them. You’ll discover that it’s the first few bites that are packed with the most flavor. When you truly focus on and enjoy those first bites you are more satisfied and can keep your portions small.
And if Aunt Matilda complains that you aren’t eating her casserole, tell her you really want to savor it and pack up a serving to eat later–or not!
This is your body! You are empowered to choose what you put into it.
Scope Out Restaurants
More and more families are heading out for holiday meals. Whether you lean towards big chains, or like to sample the local cuisine, the Internet is a great resource.
If you can, check out the on-line menu before you head to dinner so you have planned what you’re going to order. This way, you’ll be less swayed by passing entrees, delicious smells, the bread basket, and a growling tummy to order something less healthy when the waiter finally arrives.
And don’t be afraid to ask for dishes to be prepared in a way that meets your needs. You are paying for the meal, and this is your body. Ask for what you need.
Also, decide how much you are going to eat beforehand. Then ask for a box at the start of the meal to put away the extras, so you can then focus on enjoying the meal and company without eating more than you intended.
Prepare for a Snack Attack
Chances are you will not make a great choice if you reach for a snack at one of the gas stations your stopped at on your trip. And one of the worst things you can do is not eat all day in preparation for a big meal. You are guaranteed that you will overeat and physically pay the price later.
Instead, plan ahead and bring some snacks from home.
These could include:
- A baggie of various nuts and dried fruit for a quick and easy trail mix.
- A stash of protein bars or home-made healthy treats.
- If you have access to a refrigerator, bring along some pre-sliced fruit and vegetables, fat-free Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, and anything else that you might want that needs refrigeration. Often hotels can put a mini-fridge into your room. Remember to ask for what you need.
Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day will keep your energy level high and hunger at bay without ruining your appetite for the main event.
Drink Lots of Water
You need a lot of extra water while traveling. Bringing a refillable bottle is an easy solution. If you don’t like the taste of the tap water, buy bottled water.
If you forget your reusable bottle, just buy a bottle of water and refill it.
And skip–or if that will make you feel deprived–go easy on the alcohol, which just dehydrates you further and will result in a wicked hangover the next day.
Pack Your Walking Shoes
You don’t have to get in a full-blown workout to get the benefits of moving your body. Even 10 minutes can boost energy, and make it easier to tolerate Uncle Oliver telling that same story for the billionth time.
- Strap on your trainers and walk or run around the block. Feel awkward? Volunteer to walk the dog. (This is a particularly good idea when you start to feel the stress of family dynamics.)
- Pack your iPod and dance for 10 to 20 minutes in your room.
- Bringing your computer? Pack a workout DVD that can work out to in the privacy of your room.
- Do weight bearing exercises, such as push-ups and burpees to get your body moving and the blood circulating.
Bonus! Most of these workouts can be done in your pajamas if your workout clothes didn’t make it in the bag.
Getting in some kind of physical activity is particularly important if you are going to be spending a lot of time sitting in planes, trains, or automobiles.
Catch Your Zs
One of the keys for making sure you rapidly rebound after your trip is to get adequate rest, which can be a challenge in a strange bed hearing noises that you’re not used to, or if you have bright lights peaking through your curtains.
Prepare for these problems by packing an eye pillow or mask, ear plugs, and downloading an app on your cell phone that plays ambient noise, like a fan or rainfall.
You know what adequate rest means for you, so do your best to go to bed at a time that will enable you to get the sleep you need.
And if you do find that you ate more than you planned, heeded the call of a holiday treat, or needed the sleep more than moving your body, don’t beat yourself up.
To make your New Year’s resolution a reality this year, you only need to be consistent, not perfect.
Together we can do it!