By Gina Aliotti
The holidays are right around the corner, but you don’t have to say good-bye to your fitness goals until January 1. This is such a joyous time of year, full of family, friends and, of course, yummy food. As much fun as it is, however, it can also be challenging to stay motivated and on track with your fitness efforts.
I call it maintenance season. This is not the time to go crazy and try to get chiseled but, rather, a time to keep yourself in a great place and avoid the holiday gain. You don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite treats, but you have to be smart. Otherwise all your hard work will go to waste and you’ll leave yourself with too far to go when the new year arrives.
The smart approach means keeping it real, with some realistic steps you can take to stay in maintenance mode while celebrating with your friends and family.
1) Move Your Body!
This is so important! Don’t stop exercising just because it is cold outside or you are feeling the “holiday fever.” No matter how slow you go or how short your workout, commit yourself to moving your body every day. Staying active through the holidays will help keep your weight in check and your overall health on point.
You will never regret a workout. Exercise releases endorphins, so you have no excuse but to smile. It helps ease the natural stressors that may come about doings during the holidays. Movement will keep you merry this season, promise!
2) Get Your Rest!
There are so many parties and obligations to keep you busy this time of year that you may find yourself hitting the pillow later than usual. Enjoy late nights, but be smart—late nights inevitably lead to poor food choices and cancelled workouts. When you are tired, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin and not as much leptin, a bad combo that causes you to want to eat more, often more of the not-so-good stuff. That can lead to unwanted holiday weight gain—just from late-night snacking! The best thing you can do is commit to getting six to seven hours of sleep daily.
3) Say Hello to Devotion!
There was a time when I would indulge in all the holiday treats, regretfully, but now I turn to Devotion Nutrition to satisfy my sweet cravings. Devotion protein and Flex Flavors keep those cravings at bay with all the flavor and zero guilt! Sugar is the one thing that I always recommend limiting—even during the holidays—so having on hand products that feed your sugar craving without the negative effects is key to keeping you on track. Find ways to kick the sugar, whenever possible, and you will avoid holiday weight gain.
4) Drink Your Water!
Water is going to be your best friend this season! Did you know that often when you feel hungry, you actually may be dehydrated? Staying hydrated will save you from taking in unnecessary calories, eliminate toxins, keep your energy up, and do so much more. I suggest you get in at least 3/4 of a gallon of water a day. My trick is to carry around a cute water bottle wherever I go. I know how many times I need to fill the bottle, and I make it a game to be sure I get them all in.
5) Have a New Year’s Plan!
The best thing you can do for yourself is not wait until 2019 to come up with a plan for how you are going to reach your goals in the new year. Start thinking now about your S.M.A.R.T goals (Smart, Specific, Attainable, Measurable and Timely) and the steps you are going to take to reach them. Once you have a set plan of attack and your support surrounding you, you have what it takes to tackle your goals, reach them, and maintain them. The sky is the limit! Start gathering your thoughts about what you want to accomplish and how you are going to go about it. Your planning starts now, not January 1st.
Gina Aliotti is a renowned fitness and lifestyle expert whose mission is to inspire and teach others how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in a realistic way. A native Californian, she received a B.S. in foods and nutrition from San Diego State University and was a top figure star, earning her IFBB pro card in 2005. Aliotti won many titles, including Ms. Figure International at the Arnold Sports Festival, and runner-up at the Figure Olympia three years in a row. Now a full-time working mom, Aliotti is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified CrossFit Instructor, Certified Yoga Instructor, Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, and a marathon runner. Find information on her personal coaching programs and online fitness plans at www.GinaAliotti.com. Aliotti is also the co-founder, with Dana Kaye, of Devotion Nutrition, offering high-quality products that cut sugar while adding flavor to clean foods (www.devotionnutrition.com). She lives in Carlsbad with her husband and two children.