How to stay in shape during the holidays

This is the time of the year, when it’s easier to forget about our goals and let ourselves loose considering our lifestyle. The weather is getting colder and colder which gives way to the ‘oh what I would do for a cup of hot chocolate or that warm slice of pie’ kind of thoughts – and also makes it so much harder to get up early in the morning for a run or workout. And if the cold weather wouldn’t be enough, the holidays are coming up too, which means festive desserts, Christmas cookies and chocolate everywhere. And who can say no to them, when this is the only time in the year when we can eat them?! However, with proper preparation (including our mentality) we can conquer these obstacles and stay in shape during this season without having to suffer through it!

First and foremost, what you have to pay attention to is food. As we mentioned, it’s easy to yield to the temptation of warming comfort food and festive sweets but trust me: there is a way to enjoy the festivities without putting on kilograms after kilograms. The key is balance and moderation. The most important thing is to make sure you are consuming healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. Don’t skip breakfast and at least for the main meals of the day try to choose healthy options made of whole foods. Eat your greens, choose healthy grains and opt for lean kinds of meat – not deep fried if possible.

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Another useful tip is to always keep some healthy snacks in your bag when you’re on the go: a banana is easy to throw in your bag, or you can chop some fruits and put them into a small food container that fits in your bag easily. My favorite on-the-go healthy snacks are definitely the PROBAR products though: the protein bars are perfect after a run or workout, but I also often reach for the meal replacement bars when I am busy all day and cannot get a proper lunch by the time I get hungry. If you have these on hand, there is a much smaller chance that you will indulge in some pastries from the bakery, or a sugary chocolate or candy bar. As long as you’re prepared, the sudden hunger and urge to munch on unhealthy snacks won’t be a problem anymore. And honestly, considering how delicious these healthy options are, personally I don’t miss those naughty treats at all anymore.

And if you keep these tips, eat mostly healthy overall, then you also don’t have to feel guilty for eating a Christmas treat or two. As long as you do it with moderation, you don’t have to completely deprive yourself of your favorite Christmas treats.

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The second important aspect is staying active. If you usually workout or run in the morning before school or work, but find it hard to get up thinking about the cold outside, try to set a new alarm tone. Set a song that is energetic and cheerful, so waking up will already be a happier experience. Furthermore, prepare your clothes the night before, so you can get ready in no time and the outfit will instantly remind you that you have to get this one and will keep you motivated.

Also, if you tend to feel cold, it might be a good idea to invest in some seasonal workout gear that will help you fight the cold. Most of the bigger brands have thermo lines manufactures with special materials that keep you warm without feeling too heavy. And if your workout or activity is outdoors, I would recommend putting on layers instead of one heavy and super warm layer, because this way if you get a bit too hot, you can just take one or two pieces off. Gloves, headbands, hat or special scarves are always nice additions to your winter collection.

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Apart from working out there are many other activities that can keep you moving in the winter time. Hiking for example is perfect for winter! You will have to wear proper gear, but you definitely won’t feel like you were melting away as in the summer, and the views are still breathtaking – not to mention that you can even see snow, if you choose a taller mountain to conquer. Ice skating is another great seasonal idea – even though in Taiwan there is no chance for outdoor ice skating, Taipei Arena has a really nice ice skating rink if you want to spend some magical winter moments on the ice with your friends, family or significant other.

Whatever activity you choose, just make sure you keep moving and that you eat with balance and moderation and it will be easier than ever to stay fit this holiday season!

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