The holiday season is a favorite time of year for many people, but it can be tempting to forgo your usual diet and exercise routine when you're celebrating. This is the time of year to be happy, right? That little voice in your head is probably telling you to kick back and grab a cookie (or three).
Not so fast. Just because you're visiting relatives or housing guests and are surrounded by sweet desserts and being talked into partaking in a little extra champagne doesn't mean you have to surrender to holiday weight gain. There are ways to maintain your weight without putting a damper on the festivities. Try these tips.
Weigh yourself regularly
Studies have shown that people who weigh themselves regularly are better able to maintain their weight. If you weigh yourself once or twice a week, you'll be able to notice as soon as a few pounds start creeping up on you, and you can make a few changes to get rid of them right away. Try to weigh yourself in the morning after you wake up and before you've eaten breakfast.
Exercise in the morning
Getting your workout routine out of the way in the morning not only clears your schedule for holiday festivities, but it makes you more likely to engage in good behavior for the rest of the day. Studies have shown that morning exercisers are more likely to move more throughout the day and less likely to give in to food cravings.
Lengthen your routine
If you don't want to restrict your holiday eating habits, try working out for longer instead. If you usually do 30 minutes of cardio, increase it to 45 minutes during and after the holidays. When you do weight training, add more reps or choose heavier weights. Or, if you exercise three times a week, increase it to five. This should help you burn off those extra calories.
Change your workout
If you're not thrilled about exercising during the festivities, try switching up your routine. Taking a fun class, doing workouts with a friend or relative or finding a new walking route can make you look forward to exercising. It can also force your body to use new muscles, which can improve your results.
Sneak in exercise
You don't necessarily have to hit up the gym to get a workout in when you're away for the holidays or playing host. Go for a walk with your family members after dinner, engage in some hardcore housecleaning, have a dance party or play some touch football in the backyard. While it may not feel like you're working out, your body will still get results from these calorie-burning activities.