Should you Diet During the Holidays?
by Evelyn Valdez·
When you’re an active person, what should be a wonderful season to enjoy with your loved ones can end up being a dreadful time. Between scheduling your workouts and making sure you stay on track with your dieting plan, things can get somewhat stressful during the holidays – but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Just because you have personal fitness goals that you want to achieve doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself from time to time, especially when it comes to the holiday season. With the right plan, you can make sure you’re staying on the healthier side of things without missing out on the fun.
So, is it actually a good idea to diet during the holidays? And if so, how can you make it work without it getting in the way of your enjoyment? We’ll help you decide what’s better for you during this time of year as well as give you a few smart dieting tips for the holidays, so keep reading!
Should you go on a diet during the holiday season?
Dieting can be as healthy as it can be unhealthy, depending on the approach that you use. Ultimately, you decide whether you want to go on a diet and for what purpose, but when it comes to the holiday season, staying flexible is the best way to make it work!
For example, a healthy and realistic goal to have during the holidays is maintaining your weight or muscle mass instead of trying to lose weight or get leaner. This isn’t to say that doing it is impossible, but it can be a lot harder during the holiday season, especially with the free time and all the food and drinks going around.
If you want to diet during the holidays and stick to your fitness goals, try to keep a healthy mindset about it, and don’t be overly restrictive. Understand that some days might not go as planned and that’s okay! As long as you focus on eating nutritious foods most of the time, you’ll be perfectly fine.
How to stay on track during the holiday season
Sticking to a healthy diet can be hard enough throughout the year, but when the holidays arrive, the challenge truly begins!
To help you succeed and get to the end of the season feeling accomplished, we have a few tips to make dieting during the holidays easier and more convenient for you.
Try healthy food swaps
Whether you’re trying new recipes or you want to stick to your favorite holiday meals this season, making a few food swaps is a good way to keep things on the healthy side!
If you’re baking, you can switch your regular white flour with 100% whole wheat flour, or change canola oil for avocado or olive oil in your cooking recipes. This way, you’ll make sure that you’re still getting a delicious final product with healthier ingredients.
And instead of just ingredients, you can swap actual foods! For example, try snacking on fruit bowls or veggies with hummus instead of simply grabbing a candy bar or a bag of chips. It might not sound as fun, but it can be equally delicious and it will help you stick to your holiday goals!
Bring healthy snacks with you
You’re moving around a lot during the holidays, between all the gatherings and the gift shopping, or maybe you’re going on a trip to visit friends or family. Whatever it is, bringing healthy snacks will help you a ton!
Having your own snacks will prevent you from stopping at the next gas station to buy something to snack on when you’re craving something. You could pack some trail mix or your favorite protein bars and keep them on you at all times, whether it’s in your bag or in the car, to help fight sudden cravings while staying on track with your diet goals.
Nothing pairs better with a healthy diet than having a consistent workout routine! Indulging a little in your favorite foods shouldn’t be off-limits during the holidays (or ever!) but, if you’re worried about it, doing some physical activity will help you counterattack those extra calories that are coming in.
Scheduling your workouts can be difficult around the holidays, but keep in mind that staying active doesn’t mean keeping your usual 6-day workout routine at all costs. Some weeks might be busier than others, and working out 1-2 times a week is still working out. Just do what works better for you!
Is your family planning a big dinner with the neighbors? Or maybe you’re meeting up with your friends for some drinks? Planning ahead will help you stay on track during these events so you can enjoy yourself without throwing the diet through the window.
If you know you’re going to a holiday party where there’s going to be food, eat before leaving the house! Having plenty of protein and fiber before going out will keep you satiated for longer so you can avoid overindulging at the party.
You can also bring a healthy recipe with you! Whether it’s something to snack on or a full dish for everyone to have a bite, this way you can contribute to the party and have fun without ditching your diet for the day.
Take it easy!
Last but not least, be flexible with your dieting, and don’t let it ruin your holiday fun. Remember, being overly restrictive won’t lead anywhere good!
Make sure to adjust your expectations for what the holiday season will be. Chances are you’ll indulge in your favorite foods and drinks here and there, but the key is maintaining a good balance! Enjoy yourself, and the rest of the time you can spend it eating nutritious foods, drinking water, and moving around.
When the holiday season is over, you can go right back to your usual killer routine. But for now, let your guard down and just try to do what you can – don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself!
Do what works best for you
Some people choose to fight through it and stick to their healthy eating habits during the holidays while others prefer to take a break for a while. Both options are perfectly fine as long as you leave guilt to the side!
The bottom line is: you don’t have to diet during the holidays, but if you want to do it, you 100% can! And the best part about it is that you don’t have to sacrifice your fun – you can do it all by finding the right balance and focusing on eating mostly nutritious foods whenever you can. Enjoy your holidays!
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