I’m a firm believer that the holidays truly are, “the most wonderful time of the year.” Quality time with loved ones, reflecting on all we have to be grateful for, and delicious food. As lovely as the holidays are, it can be difficult to maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle when sweet treats abound. Here are some tips on how to maintain a healthy balance, as well as embrace this special time of year:
1) Eat well. For me, knowing there are going to be well-worth-it #treatyoself moments at upcoming gatherings, helps me resist treat temptation during other times (aka just hanging out at home). My husband always says, “dessert was meant for celebrations, not every night occasions.” If you focus on eating healthy, nutrient-dense, balanced meals at all times outside of these special gatherings, then we’re really only splurging on a few meals. That’s not enough to derail progress. Eat until your satiated, not stuffed. Fill your plate with lean protein and greens before sweets. At the end of the day, the holidays are a time to embrace what’s most important – the people we love. Don’t stress so much over baking cookies with mom or enjoying pie with relatives. This is life. These are special moments and memories to be made. Enjoy them, and then get right back on track.
2) Stay active. Schedule your workouts each week and stick to ‘em. Starting my day with a workout motivates me to continue making healthy choices throughout the rest of it. It’s also a great stress-reliever. Incorporate physical activity into your holiday festivities. My husband and I do a “Turkey Day 5k” every year to kick off our Thanksgiving celebration. It’s now a healthy tradition we look forward to each year! You could also go for a family walk after your meal.
3) Manage stress. The holidays are a busy time of year filled with places to be, people to see, and gifts to give. Make sure to schedule time to recharge. Making poor health choices is a lot more tempting when you’re burned out. Some of my favorite (important that these are non food-related) stress-relievers include: devotional time (reading the Bible, journaling, and praying), getting outside and walking the dog, spending time with loved ones (sometimes even just a phone call will do), lighting a candle, diffusing essential oils, reading a book, taking a nap, going for a run, catching up on a favorite show, or getting organized (cleaning, setting a budget, meal-prepping).
4) Get enough sleep. This goes hand-in-hand with managing stress. Getting the proper amount of sleep for your body helps regulate hormones, recover from workouts, prevents fatigue, and therefore, helps prevent making unhealthy choices due to lack of mental clarity.
5) Focus on the festivities. Take the focus off food, and place it on the people you’re with. How else can we make these gatherings special and memorable? Play a game, watch a movie, go for a walk, share what your especially grateful for this year, or start a new tradition.