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Holiday Survival 101: Maintaining Willpower

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With the holidays on the way and the cold months just starting to kick-in, it’s as important as ever to keep your fitness and nutrition goals in mind. The Holiday Survival 101 series is designed to help keep you confident, focused, and motivated to bust through even the smallest final fitness plateau.


Picture the perfect storm. A cold day, a movie marathon and a friend or two that don’t want to do anything alongside of you. It’s beyond easy to just give in and abandon your diet to a plateful of gingerbread men.

Resist the urge — it’s much less painful to keep your diet clean and push yourself during your workouts around the holidays than to start over on January 1st. Setting goals and dedicating yourself to maintain those goals are what I want you to challenge yourself to do. It’s not easy. It’s so easy just to say ‘it’s the holidays…I just want to take a break.’

Whether you’ve been working hard or are just starting to start now, there is no reason to quit just because of cold days and dessert-filled parties. Here are 5 effective ways that can help you avoid the couch, egg nog, and a big bag of holiday themed Hershey’s Kisses.


1. Leave the Cookies for Santa

What I always do before I eat anything I might have second thoughts about is imagine myself eating it in my swimsuit. Doesn’t sound so appetizing anymore, does it? I know that can sound a little harsh, but it makes you want to pick up an apple rather than a piece of pie…right?


2. Eat Before a Holiday Party

Have a high-protein snack before you head out the door. This way, you haven’t waited until you get there to fill up on all the goodies they have waiting for you to munch on. If your friends are anything like mine, they love sugary stuff. I’m not saying not to indulge a little bit, but don’t make it the main course.


3. Don’t Use Large Gatherings As An Excuse

Holidays are not a reason to say ‘I’m going to eat until I can’t eat anymore.’ Enjoy your food, slow down and relax…your food isn’t going anywhere. The purpose of these meals is to bring people together and enjoy the social aspect of them. Try and enjoy that aspect first and take your time.


4. Watch Out For Alcoholic Holiday Drinks

There is absolutely no issue in looking at the nutritional value of your favorite drink before you go somewhere. Egg nog, hot chocolate and other beverages can be loaded with sugars, carbohydrates and calories that quickly add up and pack on the pounds. Liquid calories don’t control appetite or reduce hunger like whole food, so try to keep them to a minimum.

If you are going to drink these beverages, always balance out with water and stay well hydrated.


5. Be Your Own Monitor

I keep a note in the back of my phone case, while some are able to do it mentally. Don’t be afraid to be the healthy person in your group of friends…there isn’t anything wrong with that. Ask yourself, do I REALLY need that? Am I REALLY hungry or am I just eating to eat? It’s simple, small choices that can make the BIGGEST difference during the holidays!


The next post in the Holiday Survival 101 series will focus on indoor workouts for freezing cold days that you can do right from your bedroom, as well as tips to get you motivated when you don’t even feel like getting out of bed. Stay jolly, get on the nice list, and Lean It UP!

Follow Julie @sweatyandstrong and Lean It UP on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for real-time fitness/nutrition tips, advice, info and updates.


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