Staying Fit Tips from Team PFP: Holiday Edition

Holiday food blog feature. Pittsburgh Fitness Project. It's possible to both stay on track and enjoy your holiday! Here are a few top staying fit tips from the team at Pittsburgh Fitness Project!

The holidays are a festive time full of friends, family, and lots of delicious snacks. With many families finally getting their holiday gatherings back to normal this year, some of us are fearing the excess food and lack of exercise that often occurs this time of year. Did you know that the average American consumes a whopping 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day alone? Despite this statistic, it is absolutely possible to both stay on track and enjoy your holiday gatherings (and favorite treats). Here are a few top staying fit tips from the team at Pittsburgh Fitness Project to help you keep your goals in check.

Wes’s top staying fit tips for holiday nutrition include the following:

1. Give yourself grace. This may seem counterintuitive but don’t be afraid to give yourself some grace. The holidays can be super stressful when it comes to guilt coming from eating food that you deem “unhealthy”.

If you have a bad day it’s not the end of the world! Enjoy the food you ate, don’t beat yourself up and move forward with your normal eating habits the next day.

2. One of my favorite staying fit tips is to backload your calories. If you know you’re going to a holiday party, out to eat or are planning on having a big meal, eat lighter throughout the day. A small snack or two, that are protein-heavy, throughout the morning and early afternoon should hold you over til your event.

Since you’ve eaten less calories throughout the day, you’ll be able to enjoy a bigger meal while still staying reasonably within your daily caloric limit. Even if you eat more calories than you needed to for that day, it’s not the end of the world. Calories matter more on a week to week or month to month basis than daily. Eat a little less the next day your two and everything will even out over time.

Dr. Brian Clista has some great advice:

1. We often feel stressed during the holidays.  Shopping, wrapping presents, decorating, and going to parties are all fun, but they can add to an already busy schedule. Try to keep on track with a regular sleep schedule so that you are rested and ready to tackle the tasks for the day. Schedule time to exercise, too, because it’s a great stress reliever!  And if you feel too overwhelmed by the number of upcoming events, offer a polite “I can’t make it this time” without any guilt.  You can always meet up with family or friends after the holidays when things are less busy.

2. Staying fit tip number 2, choose healthy snacks when you can. We all get lots of goodies over the holidays!  Keep some healthy snacks stocked around the house:  nuts, plain popcorn, or dried fruit, for example.  Put a small handful of snack food in a bowl when you get the urge to munch and save the goodies for parties and family gatherings.  You’ll enjoy the goodies more if you have them just at special events and the healthy snacks will help keep you on track through the holiday season.      

Gina wants you to know it’s okay to change it up:

1. Get right back on track. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying yourself in moderation over the holidays. In fact, overly restricting your food choices isn’t always the best strategy. What can become problematic is when one “off” day spirals into a pattern week after week.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you overindulge a bit during a family get-together. Just get right back on track the following day. One meal or two will not derail your progress.

2. Plan your workouts ahead of time. It can be hard to stick to a fitness routine during the busy holiday season. You are much more likely to follow through with your workouts if you schedule them ahead of time. For example, you can plan to exercise first thing in the morning to free the rest of the day for holiday activities.

If you’re traveling, look ahead and plan out when and where you can fit in a workout. Whether it’s dropping into a local gym or going for a walk outside, there are plenty of ways to squeeze in some physical activity.

Nick says to get creative with your exercise:

1. Find little moments for fitness.  If you’re spending time at your family’s place, you may find that you have some downtime.  In those moments before others wake up in the morning, or, if you’re a night person, in the moments before bed, make a little time–even 10-15 minutes–to go through a couple of bodyweight exercises, or maybe even some stretches.

2. Suggest ideas to others for activities that require some movement.  Maybe it’s sled riding; maybe it’s an exercise class; maybe it’s ice skating, or it could be a simple walk.  Asking a friend can be a fun way to still hang out with others and to get your steps in for the day.  (They don’t have to know it’s about the steps though.)

Enjoy Your Holiday

We hope these staying fit tips and tricks can help alleviate your food-related stress this holiday season. The season is already busy enough, and we hope you can find some comfort, joy and rest over the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving team!

For more holiday tips and advice check out this blog on Healthy Holiday Eating!

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