Possibly my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving is great for a little time off from school to relax with my family. Oh, and also to eat my weight in food.
Thanks to the fitness therapy that is writing this blog, I’ve decided to take a different approach to this years’ holiday season. Usually I approach holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas with the mindset of the foods I crave: pumpkin pie, anything with sweet potatoes in it, eggnog, peppermint hot chocolate, stuffing, etc. You see where I am going here.
This year promises to be a different one because regardless of what I’ve said every year as a joke, calories DO count on Thanksgiving. Fitness goals can be set back by forgetting to portion food properly. I’m not saying that you cannot have the mashed potatoes or the cranberry sauce, just remember that just because your eyes and brain tell you to eat all of it, does not mean that you can or should.
Some Ohio University students weighed in on their holiday struggles.
“I always eat with my eyes before my stomach during the holiday season,” Brett Carrol, OU senior said. “It’s just so easy to get caught up in all the food.”
“My family just makes so much of it (food),” Erika Martinez, OU senior said. “I don’t want to insult my family by not eating a little bit of everything because they worked so hard to prepare it.”
“I think the reason we all eat so much is because we don’t have access to home-cooked food here on campus,” Regina Donizetti, OU junior said. “Then when we go home, it’s like we’ve never seen so much food before.”
To give you a better idea of what you are dealing with during Thanksgiving, I’ve created a chart of my favorite Thanksgiving foods telling how many calories are in one serving.
Another great way to stay in shape during the holidays is to sneak in small workouts. I, like many of my fellow OU students, will not have a gym around during break so I need to find a way to stay in shape in order to pick up where I left off next semester.
Fortunately, active.com has a great seven ways to sneak in a holiday workout page. They are as follows:
1. Do a “condensed but intense” workout: This is a great tip. Instead of spending hours at the gym, combine cardio and body-weight training into 30 minute sessions to get your heart rate going and give your muscles a wake up call.
2. Rehearse your routine: Stick with the exercises you have chosen.
3. Bring Tubes, Bands and more: Resistance bands can often pump up an otherwise boring workout and make it easier for you to stay interested.
4. Get active in airports: I will not be flying this holiday season but there is nothing wrong with taking the longer walk through the terminal if you have a long layover.
5. Get a jump rope: This is probably the most simple and effective exercise to do. Time yourself for minute sessions while jumping as much rope as you can. The best part: you don’t have to go anywhere to do this!
6. Plan to relax: Don’t overdo the workouts. The whole reason for the holiday season is to relax and see your loved ones. If you must workout, plan some of them as yoga or low-key sessions.
7. Ease back into your routine: A few weeks before returning to school, try using lighter weights and shorter distances to ease yourself back into your more intense routine so that going back to the gym doesn’t shock your body.
So don’t let the holidays be an excuse to forget your health. There are ways to enjoy and relax without putting yourself at risk of giving up your fitness goals.
For more inspiration, check out my post on Storify for some holiday workouts.
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