As a coach, I see quite a few clients fall off their training schedule in December. Whether it's work events and parties, prior engagements, last-minute nights out, or colder weather and snow storms, there's always an excuse to put your health on the back burner.

Here are a few helpful hints to put your health first during the holidays:

1. Avoid Over Indulging

Portions during parties!

Snacks: There are some easy ways to snack smart when out.

  • Always eat a full, protein-filled dinner an hour before going out. This will keep you feeling full and less likely to over indulge.
  • Go NUTS! Raw or roasted nuts are a great snack because these high fatty, delicious treats will help keep you fuller, faster.
  • Stick to small appetizers and avoid the large entrees.

Treats: Holiday treats and delectable chocolates are always floating around the office, so be wise with your choices:

  • Earn your calories with exercise.
  • Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
  • Stay away from over processed treats and candies.
  • A handful is plenty for the night.
  • Only one holiday drink from Starbucks a week.

Indulge for a night, not an entire season.

2. Invest In Your Immune system

Your body requires down time!

Winter wake ups consist of brisk mornings, cloudy afternoons and chilly evenings. These fluctuating temperatures leave your body susceptible to colds, flus and body aches. If you are feeling under the weather, there is no harm in taking a recovery day.

When you’re resting, you’re recovering, by allowing your muscles to repair, your cognitive support to rebuild, and your energy to rebalance.

A few quick tips to battling the flu season:

  • Vitamins & Probiotics: Stick to brands you trust. I use Four Pillars Complete Daily Nutritional Supplement. It contains a Multivitamin, Omega-3, and Pre- & Probiotic for proper gut and cognitive health.
  • Vitamin D: Canadians don’t see enough sun! A simple way is taking a daily supplement of vitamin D, which helps with bone health, supports the immune system and is easy on the gut!

3. Winter Workouts

Find a fitness class that keeps you committed, entertained and ensures progress.

Find fun ways to stay active and get your sweat on!

  • Bootcamps and Classes: Find a class that keeps you committed, entertained and ensures progress. Many communities have bootcamps, yoga, boxing, spin classes and more – these are all great ways to stay in shape, and signing up in advance helps you stay committed when other things come up.
  • Winter Sports:Get involved with an outdoor winter sport, and you might actually find yourself enjoying the cold weather! You could try skating, snowboarding, skiing or even bundling up for a winter walk.

Goal Plan: Always set your fitness goals from the beginning:

  • Start small (2 classes a week, only 1 night out).
  • Weekdays are for working and fitness, weekends are for celebrations
  • Work has weekday parties? See section above for avoiding over indulgences.
  • Sweat once a day.

4. Plan Your Party

Moderation is your motivation!

Work Parties & Celebrations: ‘Tis the season for family gatherings, celebrating engagements, and holiday parties. But everything can be managed in moderation:

  • Try to plan only 1-2 outings per week.
  • Prioritize the celebratory events in your life & the ones that you can afford to indulge in some sweets and treats.
  • Work out on the days you go out. The body works in a simple way: We gain weight when we consume more calories than we burn. If you are planning a big night out with friends or have a big holiday work party coming up, make sure to hit the gym that day. Earn your calories.
  • Stay away from sugary drinks, energy drinks, soda pops, and high calorie beverages. Alternate with water between every drink.

5. Health & Happiness

With moderation comes maintenance!

  • Don’t Stress: The more you stress the more cortisol in your system increases, which in return stores fat. Focus on your goals, follow a fitness routine, take a bath and relax, enjoy your nights off. More calm means less cortisol. Don’t feel bad if you can’t make time for everything and everyone this season.
  • Healthy Habits: Try to cultivate a system where one unhealthy habit equals two healthy habits. Ate a couple extra slices of pizza at the Christmas party? Sign up for two fitness classes that week. Stayed out till four AM one night? Go to bed before 10pm twice that week. Simple changes make sustainable behaviours.
  • Sleep: Take advantage of sleeping in, enjoy those weekend mornings to lay around on the couch and watch movies. Enjoy your ‘me time’.
  • Support System: Have people who surround you hold you accountable for your lifestyle choices. When your support system cares about what they eat, how many workouts they’ve accomplished that week, and their heart health, then your healthy lifestyle will have no limits!

Taking care of your health is important. Help protect your lifestyle and income with health insurance. Speak to an RBC Insurance advisor at 1-866-262-7920.

 

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.