The holidays are in full swing, and I am completely loving the change in seasons and holiday feel that surrounds us. With all the joy also comes the struggle with how to stay in shape during this time when food and treats are everywhere!
I like to call this time of year “maintenance season.” It isn’t a time to go crazy and try to get ripped and chiseled, but rather a time to keep yourself in a great place and avoid the holiday gain. I wouldn’t suggest depriving yourself from your favorite treats or desserts, but rather to enjoy the holiday season while being SMART about those choices. I believe in balance, and balance means enjoying this time with your loved ones and giving yourself permission to take a “break.”
Here are some realistic tips to keep you on track and avoiding the holiday weight gain while enjoying your friends, family and holiday fun!
1. Move Your Body
This is so important! Don’t stop just because it is cold outside or you are feeling the “Holiday Fever.” No matter how slow you go or how short your workout, just commit yourself to moving your body daily! Staying active throughout the holidays will not only help keep your weight in check, but also your mind in the game. Exercise releases endorphins, so you have no excuse but to smile. Not to mention, it helps ease stress from the natural stressors that may come about during this holiday time. Do whatever it takes to get something in. Remember, it doesn’t matter how slow you go— just GO!
2. Get Your Test
There are so many parties and obligations this time of year, so it is only normal you may be hitting the pillow later than normal. Enjoy late nights, but be smart because it is only inevitable that late nights can lead to poor food choices and cancelled workouts. When you are tired, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin and not as much leptin. This is not a good combo, often causing you to want to eat more of the not-so-good stuff. This can cause unwanted holiday weight gain just from late-night snacking! Do your best to get as much rest as possible! Sleep will save you pounds!
3. Make Your Own Holiday Creations
This is the time of year people give into cravings they typically may avoid during the rest of the year. It is so easy to give in because we naturally get into this “holiday mode” where we dig in and tell ourselves we will get back on track come the new year. The best thing you can do is indulge, but in moderation. Make smart choices and better yet, create your own healthy versions of holiday treats so you are still enjoying the season but without packing on the pounds. Making your own version of your favorite holiday treat can save you tons of calories, fat and sugar, which can save you pounds!
This time of year, I crave everything pumpkin and cinnamon. Check out these killer Cinnamon Holiday bars that that will satisfy your holiday cravings and keep you feeling and looking amazing this holiday season!
CINNAMON HOLIDAY BARS
2 scoops Vanilla Protein (I used Devotion Nutrition Angel Food Cake)
4 packets Monkey Bread Flex Flavors
2 cups ground oat flour
3 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp Vanilla extract
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup nut butter
¼ cup sliced almonds or crushed walnuts
dash of cinnamon
¼ cup chocolate chips (I used Lily’s Stevia Chocolate Chips)
How To Prepare
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray baking dish (8×8) with non-stick spray and set aside. Mix all wet ingredients in food processor. Add dry ingredients, except almonds and chocolate chips, and continuing mixing until fully combined. Pour into baking dish and top off with almonds, chocolate chips and touch of cinnamon. Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cut into bars and enjoy!
Makes 10 bars
(per serving, 1 bar)
Yields: 10 bars
4. Drink Your Water
Water is going to be your best friend this season! Staying hydrated is key! Did you know that often when you feel hungry, you could be simply dehydrated? Staying hydrated will save unnecessary calories, eliminate toxins, keep your energy up and do so much more. I suggest you get in at least 3/4 of a gallon of water a day. What helps me is carrying around a cute water bottle wherever I go. I know how many times I need to fill the bottle and make it a game to be sure I get it all in.
5. Have a New Year’s Plan
The best thing you can do for yourself is not wait until 2017 to come up with a plan of how you are going to reach your new year’s goals. Start thinking NOW about your S.M.A.R.T Goals and the steps you are going to take to reach them. Once you have a set plan of attack and the support surrounding you, the sky is the limit and you have what it takes to tackle your goals, reach them AND maintain them!!
I hope this helps you enjoy this holiday season! Enjoy your time with family, friends and loved ones!!