The holidays make you think about minutes in a whole different way. It’s a time when you eat more, drink more, spend more money and sleep less. You feel time-crunched. You do your last-minute shopping. And as fast as you create the holidays, they disappear.
Many of us let the holidays leave us feeling overtired, overworked and overweight. OK, so losing weight over the holidays isn’t usually in the cards, but certainly we can come out with an even-score. Instead of feeling like you are starting over your fitness routine on Jan. 1, let’s just not fall behind!
This year, let’s make a choice. Don’t eat your way through the parties and ditch the exercise for shopping and baking. All we need to do is get creative with how we use our minutes.
7 tips to manage your holiday minutes
Here are a few tips for how to use your holiday minutes wisely. Wait … you don’t believe that a few minutes make a difference? Well, in less than one minute you can consume 100 calories at a holiday party. In 10 minutes, you can work them off! Therefore, if you manage your minutes smartly, you can start the New Year feeling good, not guilty.
1. Shop online: Don’t get me wrong. I’m a retail lover — just not at the holidays. Nothing gets my cortisol (the stress hormone that may lead to weight gain) flowing faster than long lines and crowds at the stores. If you get started now, free gift wrap and shipping are available from most retailers. It will come as no surprise to you that I send my family fresh fruit baskets for Christmas. (They would expect nothing less from me.)
2. Stop, drop and roll: Instead of burning the candle into the wee hours every night, just STOP what you’re doing, DROP into bed, and ROLL over! Nothing horrible will happen if you let some decorating wait till tomorrow — and your body will thank you! Plus, studies have shown that lack of sleep causes weight gain. (I had to do it last night. I just dropped everything and went to bed. I woke up this morning refreshed!)
3. Get moving: Try finding exercise minutes each day and get the heart pumping. I said minutes not hours. Ten minutes is better than nothing. In fact, you can burn off a few appetizers, a glass of wine or just simply release some stress. Especially when you are ingesting more calories, a brisk walk on the treadmill or elliptical can keep your jeans from feeling tight! It’s all about calories in versus calories out! Ten minutes in the morning is often best during the holidays since our days get busy with extra to-dos and social events throughout the day.
4. Don’t forget your strength training: Maintain your muscle mass by doing a few minutes a day. Try a few tricep dips while watching TV. Do some walking lunges as you talk on the phone to your relatives. Pump out a few push ups before you get in the shower. Better yet, try a few multi-joint movements to save time. Do lunges with overhead shoulder presses. Do squats with bicep curls. Throw in a few core body crunches.
5. Stick with the five-a-day plan: Keep eating healthy, and get your five fruits and vegetables each day. Often we end up eating poorly through the holidays, and in order to save calories, we forgo the food that nourishes us. The excess sugar gives us a high and then an energy low. Fill up on healthy food — eat your servings of fruits and vegetables every day before you allow yourself to snack on holiday treats!
6. Control the risk for temptation: Avoid constantly putting yourself in situations that tempt you. For example, walking through the break room at work 10 times a day when you know it’s filled with treats and candies probably isn’t a good idea. Don’t place treats on your kitchen counter to stare you in the face. Don’t take four desserts off the buffet, vowing to take only one bite of each.
7. Be careful of liquid calories: Holidays are notorious for tempting us with drinks we wouldn’t normally consume. Alcohol offers no nutrients — just empty calories — and we often forget to count them. Eggnog coffee drinks with whipped cream, hot toddies, spiced rum — these drinks can have as many calories as a personal pan pizza!
Just give it two weeks! Check out my new book 2-Week Total Body Turnaround.