Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN)–The festive season can bring a lot of joy and happiness, but at the same time it can be a tough time to stay healthy and fit.
Between the added stress of social events and the chances of overeating, it’s all too easy to give in to pleasures and resolve to get back on track in the new year.
With the right mindset, you can enjoy the festive season without ruining your well-being.
To help you protect your fitness while on vacation, here’s the advice of an expert, celebrity trainer Don Saladino, who works with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and American actress Anne Hathaway.
And whether you’re famous or not, we all need to focus on smart strategies to keep holiday stress from pushing us over the edge.
Here are some tips you can implement right now.
1. Maintain a healthy mindset
According to Saladin, “Your goal should be to appreciate the holiday season effectively, while being in complete control of your choices.”
This time of year is meant to be enjoyed, but many of us forget it and spend a lot of time blaming ourselves for the celebration. It’s okay to enjoy seasonal food, so let go of the guilt.
Remind yourself that you have control; You can eat one or two cookies without eating dozens. And remember to feel happy and not guilty about making decisions.
2. Do the calculations
Saladino said a lot of people who are in shape spend time needlessly thinking about the small percentage of the delicious meals they eat during the holidays.
Saladino urges them to “do the math.”
From mid-November to January 1, there are about 45 days, and if you eat an average of three meals a day, that’s 135.
Eating a few brunches and many delicious dinners over that time won’t hamper your fitness if your other meals remain healthy, and assuming you ate dozens of famous hearty meals this holiday season, that’s still less than 9% of your total meals.
3. Don’t punish yourself with exercise
This advice goes along with maintaining a healthy mindset, as exercise should not be used to overcome “bad” behavior while on vacation.
Saladino said he reduces the amount of training his clients have during the holidays to help reduce the demand on their schedules, noting that keeping them in the “right frame of mind is most important,” so he urges them to keep workouts under 40 minutes with the intent to warm up and help them manage stress.
4. Stay full
Another tip Saladino said he gives all of his customers is to stay full so they don’t get energized during events, where there are limited healthy food options.
And if possible, eat a healthy meal, or at least a snack that makes you feel full, such as nuts or yogurt, before heading to the spells.
5. Stay hydrated
Maintaining moisture also makes you feel full and prevents you from reaching for food when you are already thirsty.
The biggest stress dehydration puts on your body isn’t just fluid loss, but a significant loss of electrolytes along with it.
And electrolytes are essential minerals responsible for the electrical energy that goes into bodily functions, such as muscle contractions, including heart activity, and nerve impulses.
The loss of electrolytes due to dehydration will leave you feeling tired.
With cold weather, dry indoor air, and an increased likelihood of festive alcohol consumption, it’s easy to get dehydrated more quickly, so try to get a bottle of electrolyte-rich water or other readily available non-sugar beverage.
6. Consume alcohol strategically
Speaking of alcohol, Saladino gives unfamiliar but effective advice: “Instead of focusing on the calories in a drink, choose heavier drinks that you can sip on and make you feel full, so you end up drinking less overall.”
According to Saladino, the biggest problem with drinking alcohol is not so much the amount of calories as the total amount, which leads to gaps in self-control that can lead to poor dietary and lifestyle choices.
7. Keep stress under control
Whether it’s the effects of darker days, increased schedule demands, or family-related anxiety, vacations can have a negative impact.
Additional stress can lead to poor decision-making, stressful eating, and physical stress, which is why it’s important to practice self-care proactively.
Take a few minutes each day to practice meditation, breathing or gratitude. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness for five minutes a day reduces stress and anxiety.
8. Keep your workout going
During this busy time of year, experts recommend training smarter, not harder.
This means choosing consistency over quantity by exercising every day, where it makes sense in your lifestyle and schedule.
One of the most effective ways to combine exercise is to stack it with another daily habit.
9. Don’t wait until the start of the new year
With all the opportunities to overeat, you may find yourself overeating at a party and giving up your self-control at that moment.
It’s easy to get caught up in the thought of “New year, I’m new,” but Saladino says we get a fresh start every day, not every year. “Don’t give up,” he adds. “Get back on track the next day.”
10. Get enough sleep
Oftentimes during the holidays, we find it difficult to keep up with the responsibilities of work and daily life while also meeting the demands of the season.
It is essential that you give your body and mind the time and rest it needs to recover each night.
Sleep is a key factor in your metabolic and immune system function; As such, not getting seven hours of sleep each night can lead to weight gain, disease, and other negative health effects.
To appropriately handle holiday meals and avoid getting seasonal illness, you need to prioritize rest.
Remember that being healthy is a lifestyle, not a decision. By following the above tips, you can enjoy the holidays without compromising your health and wellness.