How to Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday!

How to Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday!


It’s that time of year again. The winter holidays. You know what that means: Time for parties, shopping, vacations, celebrations, family, friends, good tidings to all….and goodbye health and fitness lifestyle. The winter holidays are the hardest time of year to maintain your fitness. Between all of the cookies, the pumpkin pie, the turkey, the eggnog (or whatever drink you’ve selected to be your holiday choice this year), not only do we find it hard to make time for the gym, but we also have a plethora of delicious unhealthy options to eat. Fear not friends, for I have a solution. A way you can maintain your gains during the remaining December days: Sleep till January.
Okay, I’m kidding. Below however are some real tips that you can use to stay strong and not ruin 11 1/2 months of hard work in 2 weeks. Behold the Catalyst Health How to Have a Happy Healthy Here we go.

Step 1 : Don’t Avoid Meals 
One thing people try to do is pack all their calories into one meal. The old ‘I’m gonna save all my calories until dinner’ strategy is not a good one. It can lead to binge eating and may make you take in more calories then you normally would. Eat as regularly as possible throughout the day. Having frequent small meals before dinner is always a better option when it comes to holiday eating. It’s the healthiest way to train yourself to eat the right portions when dinner comes around.

Step 2: Drink Lots of Water! 
Regular rule of thumb: Drink one glass of water right when you wake up. Holiday rule of thumb: Drink a full glass of water before every meal. Our bodies have a hard time differentiating between hunger and thirst. That is amplified even more when your diet consists of high fat and high sugar foods, which is basically what we are fed throughout the holidays. The goal should be to stay consistently well hydrated, with non sugary beverages. Try your best to curb your hunger by quenching your thirst. 

Step 3: Don’t Forget to Work Out! 
A lot of families have holiday traditions: Christmas movie watching, singing Christmas carols, the annual Yeboah family dance off (it’s a real thing) etc. One thing most families don’t have: Holiday gym session. Because of all that is going this time of year, our workout schedule gets messed up and we tend to sacrifice our fitness for our fun. I’m here to let you know you can have both! Make your holiday workouts a priority! If time is an issue, shorten your workouts, but don’t skip them. Change it from one hour of weights to 30 minutes of HIIT work. Shorter workouts will help you stay consistent and keep you in track. Also, find a holiday workout friend. Having someone join you over the next few weeks is a great way to be held accountable and can be the most fun way to burn fat during the holidays. 

Step 4:  Eat Holiday Treats! 
It’s almost inevitable that we’ll be eating some type of holiday desert this month. Totally cool. I get it. I do it (lots), BUT if your goal is to keep the holiday pounds down, try limiting yourself to only seasonal treats. Eat the things that you only have during the holiday season, instead of things you can get all the time. Christmas treats, Hanukkah eats, or Kwanza snacks get a big YES from me. Regular chocolate bars or candies you can get all year: NO. Also, try to just have a little bit. A good way to do that is to eat a holiday treat only after having had a full (healthy) meal. 

Step 5: Don’t Stress
As busy and fun a time of year it is, it can also be a more stressful time for some. Stress leads to raised levels of the hormone cortisol, which has been shown to increase your appetite, and make you crave foods with more sugar and fat. Everyone deals with stress differently, but seeking out ‘comfort food’ is a definite deterrent to sticking with those holiday health and fitness goals. Instead of seeking comfort in food, do things or be with people that help put you at ease. Take a nice walk outside in the daytime. Make a schedule for your activities and stick to it. Leave the party early. Prioritize sleep (it’s important). Do things that make you laugh uncontrollably. Go phone free for a few hours one day. Listen to your favourite holiday music. Think positive and know that everything doesn’t have to be perfect for it to turn out perfectly. :D

Written by: Kevin Yeboah, Strength & Conditioning Specialist
Instagram: @theyeboah

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