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Slipstream Holiday Survival Guide

While the holiday season is often associated with joy and peace, we’re all aware of that  it can be a difficult few weeks to focus on your health. With all the parties, treats, traveling, and stress of planning and shopping, it’s no wonder most of us are eager to set health related goals by the time January 1 rolls around. Adding in exercise and clean eating these next few weeks can seem like a little too much for anyone, but by finding a balance we can ensure we don’t slide too far off-track in regards to our health goals while still enjoying the most wonderful time of the year.


FOOD

From pie to chocolates to egg nog and everything in between, it’s pretty hard to go anywhere this time of year without encountering something sweet, which is why our diet is often the first thing that goes out the window during the holidays. However, there are ways we can avoid at least a few of the extra pounds we tend to pack on in December, and these ways don’t have to involve saying no all the time. In fact, when we approach eating with the right mindset, it’s still possible to enjoy the season its food without having to feel guilty.

Related: 3 Key Elements of a Successful Nutrition Plan

The first thing we can do is plan ahead, in both the big and little picture. Luckily, it’s still early enough in the month to make progress before the craziness near the end of the month hits. For now, don’t keep treats in the house. If they’re there, you’ll eat them, even if you know you’ll eat plenty of dessert the next weekend. Speaking of all those holiday parties you have coming up, another way we can plan ahead is to never go to a party hungry. If we’re starving when we head to the party, chances are we’ll overeat. Since the options at the party usually aren’t the healthiest, eating beforehand and then having a small meal at the party is the best bet that we won’t overindulge. Another small tip, eat slow and put down your fork between bites, the longer it takes to eat the less likely you’ll be to go back for seconds.


TRAVEL

Whether it’s to a family member’s house that’s a 30 minute drive away or a four hour flight, most of us will be traveling in some capacity this holiday season. And most of these trips involve at least one thing that can get us in a bit of trouble when it comes to our health; sitting. Besides preventing us from burning off those extra holiday calories that we’ve inevitably consumed, prolonged sitting is detrimental to our health for many reasons. One way we can combat these effects during travel is by walking around the airport while waiting to board instead of sitting. You know you’ll be sitting for the entire flight, so why sit beforehand too? If road-tripping, try your best to sit with proper posture (core engaged, shoulders up, back, and down) and keep some movement in the lower body, like fidgeting, to keep blood flowing. Regardless, we’re going to have to be sitting for a while, so at least make the most of this time by listening to your favorite health-related podcast. That way, you’ll be motivated to get moving once your travels are over.

Related: What is Sitting Really Doing to Me?

The other way travel can seriously stunt health efforts is by taking us out of typical fitness routine. However, a week out of town doesn’t have to mean an entire week off. Bring along any small mobility tools you own like a lacrosse ball, or stretch when you can to take steps towards improved mobility and flexibility. If you do have access to a hotel gym, get creative! Combine 3 or 4 dumbbell and/or bodyweight movements and perform them as a circuit. And remember that wherever you are, chances are there’s a CrossFit box near you that you could drop-in to. This can be a great way to expose yourself to the larger CrossFit community we’re all a part of, or just take a needed break from family.


By following just one or a few of these tips, hopefully we’ll all be able to continue on our journey towards bettering ourselves throughout the holiday season and set ourselves up for even more success in the next year. But overall, my biggest piece of advice in this time of year is to not be too hard on yourself. You don’t have to say no to enjoying this time of year to stay healthy. Progress still occurs when we’re consistent week in and week out and indulge every once in a while – the key here is to keep it as every once in a while. Find your balance and remember that many of the things that the holidays are about – mainly, time with loved ones – are much more important than what the scale says. So if a couple days don’t go as planned, don’t beat yourself up about it too much, just show up ready to work once the holidays pass.

Related: What “Better Than Yesterday” Means to Me

 –Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com