Hi! It’s Heather from Divas Run for Bling and I am so excited to be guest blogging here at Through Heather’s Looking Glass. The holidays are my favorite time of year and I am a sucker for all the presents and decorations this time of year. I am also a fan of the food. I have a serious sweet tooth so this season is perfect for me. It’s just not so perfect for my diet. I will typically gain a few pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas and not all of it comes off when those New Year’s resolutions are made. Since I am not running 10 miles a day to work off all the calories, I have come up with a few tips that will help me stay fit and healthy during the holiday season.
1. Get motivated. I always try to find ways to get motivated to get out the door and run. It’s not easy this time of year with all the stress and busy schedules and cold weather. As with last year, I have signed up for a spring half marathon. This way, I know that I have to get out there and get my runs in or my money will just be wasted if I can’t finish the race. I am also doing the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak in which you run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Even one mile a day can go a long way in staying fit and healthy.
My spring race this year will be the Georgia Publix Half in Atlanta.
2. Make a plan and be consistent. It is important that you have an exercise plan in place to keep you on track. This will help you see what events are happening on a particular day and allow you to adjust your workout schedule accordingly. I have both my training schedule and any events on my calendar so I know when I’ll be able to do those runs and cross training. It also helps me figure out what time of day is best to do those workouts.
This is my training schedule for the winter months. It’s based after the Beginner Half Marathon training plan at digitalrunning.com.
3. Exercise early. Coming from me, this is kinda funny as I will be the first to tell you I love to sleep. A lot. However, working out in the morning has a lot of benefits. For one, it gives your metabolism a boost for the day. Also, getting your work out in early won’t interfere as much with all the parties, dinners and family events. This allows you to stick to the fitness plan you decided on and work off some of the calories that you are putting into your body.
4. Track your calories. This is something that I absolutely HATE to do. It’s time consuming and annoying. But it is also helpful. I find that when I know I have to track my calories, I will make healthier food choices. Just looking at my food journal and seeing that 1 slice of pumpkin pie is 323 calories will make me think twice about going back for a second helping.
I use the food and exercise tracker at myfitnesspal.com. It’s easy and can track my calories, exercise and water intake. There is also an app for it so I can track when I’m away from the computer.
5. Eat smart. I know it is not always possible to stick to a diet during the holiday season. You can be smart and what and when you eat, though. Do not skip meals in order to bank calories for the rest of the day. Especially if this meal is breakfast. This will slow your metabolism and cause you to overeat, adding more calories than if you just ate as normal. Try to eat balanced meals when possible. This will ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Also, it is okay to have a taste of the good stuff (i.e. all those yummy pies and cakes). I try to have a few bites of 2-3 of my favorite desserts so that I can enjoy them without totally going overboard. Be aware of how much you are drinking. Calories from alcohol can add up fast if you are not careful.
6. Drink lots of water. We all know the benefits of water. It helps keep your body working at an optimal level as well as keeps you hydrated and energizes your muscles during the workouts you have planned. Water also will help control your calorie intake. If you are drinking water, you are not drinking other high calorie drinks that are presents during the holidays.
7. Get enough sleep. Not consistently getting enough sleep can have multiple effects on your body. A lack of sleep can slow your metabolism, stimulate your appetite and cause cravings of high carb, high fat foods. Not to mention you’ll be too tired to exercise if you are not well rested.
The most important thing to remember is to stay positive. There is no need to feel guilty if you slip up a bit throughout the season. Just relax and enjoy the time spent with family and friends.
Heather is the creator of Divas Run for Bling, a blog devoted to all things running and fitness. She is a runner, blogger and scrapbooker living in Chattanooga, TN with her husband and 3 fur children (2 cats and a dog). She can be found on twitter @divasrunbling and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/divasrunforbling.