5 healthy holiday hacks to jump-start your New Year

Don’t diet this time of year; put a candy cane in your smoothie.

Robbie Ann Darby, The Root | 12/14/2015, 1:45 p.m.
Don’t diet this time of year; put a candy cane in your smoothie.
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2015 flew by, and 2016 will be making its debut very soon. So if you want to make this final month of the year a December to remember, then these holiday hacks are just for you. Get ready to attend every holiday party with a stress-free RSVP, all while jump-starting your New Year’s resolution with these quick and easy tips.

Ditch Your Diet

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Temptations are high, and the holidays only come once a year, so while it may be tempting to jump-start your resolution with a holiday diet, a more manageable and realistic goal would be to indulge without binging. By forbidding all things peppermint, gingerbread, eggnog, etc., you’re actually welcoming more cravings and food fixations. However, by allowing yourself portion-controlled holiday treats, you’ll be giving yourself the gift of self-control, and that’s certainly a gift that keeps on giving. So I suggest having a “Sweet Saturday” or “Flavorful Friday” once a week. In fact, research shows that indulging in reasonably sized treats encourages you to find pleasure in mealtime again—and that pleasure will help ensure that you don’t feel the need to go overboard in the future.

Remake the Flavors

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Speaking of indulging in moderation, one way to enjoy the season’s flavors sans guilt is to blend it in. Literally. I have been putting my Omega blender to some serious work this holiday season, and you can, too. My favorite way to sip the season is to remake my pre- and post-workout protein shakes. For instance, I’ll throw a crushed peppermint candy cane in my strawberry shake for a minty treat, or I’ll substitute a light eggnog for my typical almond milk in my vanilla shake for a festive holiday smoothie. Or, my all-time favorite is bananas, vanilla milk alternative (soy, almond, cashew, etc.) and a scoop of the vanilla chai Vega One Nutritional Shake. This plant-based protein powder is so tasty, you will definitely forget that it’s healthy.

Be Merry and Sweaty

Robbie Ann Darby       
NATASHA NEAL OF LIVE LIFE CANDID

Robbie Ann Darby NATASHA NEAL OF LIVE LIFE CANDID

Well, now that you’re sipping the season, it’s time to keep it merry and sweaty with fun and effective workouts. However, ’tis not the time to be sweating on autopilot. Those low-intensity workouts are not the business this time of year, when you’re trying to maintain and not gain, so do yourself a solid and hit up some HIIT training. Short for “high-intensity interval training,” this approach to sweat is all the craze simply because not only does it rev up your metabolism, if done correctly, but it can also cut your workouts in half. That’s right, less time and more results.

The key, however, is to go hard (think breathless) for short bursts and immediately chase those moments with a short rest. Any split ratio is welcomed, so go all out for, say, 40 seconds and then rest for 20. Repeat this as many times as you can without compromising your form, and the afterburn is guaranteed. Basically, you’ll be burning calories well after you leave the gym. Think to the tune of at least 24 hours after. So yeah, that holiday party Saturday deserves an HIIT session Friday.