The holiday season is a time of joy, but it can also be a time of overindulgence and unhealthy habits. With all the tempting treats and busy schedules, it can feel impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, there are realistic and achievable tips to help you stay on track without depriving yourself of the joy and deliciousness of the season. From not skipping meals to practicing mindful eating, these tips will allow you to enjoy the holiday season with as much healthfulness as possible. So, let’s dive in and discover seven can-do tips for a healthier holiday season.
Don’t skip your usual meals.
Eating regularly throughout the day ensures that your metabolism is working and your body gets the necessary fuel. It also helps keep your appetite in check, so your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach at holiday meals or parties. Whether you’re on a Diet-to-Go meal plan or doing it solo, it’s important to enjoy breakfast and lunch as usual before heading out for the big holiday dinner.
Schedule (and prioritize!) your fitness.
Yes, the holiday season is a busy time. And yes, it can be very challenging to squeeze in some exercise. However, treating fitness like you would any other important meeting or gathering is critical. Break down how to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week and pencil it into your schedule. Regular exercise is not only excellent for your mental health but also helps burn those extra calories you’ll likely consume throughout the season.
Indulge — but don’t overindulge.
If you’ve ever tried to be the person at the party waving away delicious sweets or trying to stand as far away from the food spread as possible for fear of giving into temptation, you know how utterly miserable it can be. The simple solution is not to do it. Grab a smaller plate from the buffet line and fill it up instead so you can indulge in the deliciousness without going overboard. Alternatively, choose a few foods ahead of time and enjoy those, rather than trying every little thing set out.
Practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating involves being fully conscious of the size, texture, color, smell, and taste of your food. It’s truly an excellent way to slow down and deliberately enjoy your food in a way you may never have before. Experts say it also can help you feel full quicker, contributing to a healthier weight and, in this case, helping you avoid overeating. So, instead of mindlessly wolfing down your holiday feast, take the time to savor each bite and be aware of how it nourishes your body.
Take laps around the room or stand instead of sit after eating.
A cozy seat on the couch or at the table can be pretty darn appealing when you have a full belly. But here’s the thing: you can get your digestive system going simply by moving after eating. Instead of plopping down, take a few laps around the room or stand up. Not only can this help you avoid eating even more, but it also gets the blood flowing and your metabolism started. So, instead of feeling sluggish after your holiday meal, you’ll feel energized and ready to enjoy the festivities.
Despite all your best efforts, there will inevitably be moments you go overboard during the holiday season. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s important to forgive yourself and not hold onto any guilt or negative feelings. Beating yourself up or feeling guilty about indulging too much gets you nowhere and is likely to end in a cycle of self-deprecation. Instead, take a deep breath, tell yourself that you’ll do better next time, and move on with your day. Remember, the holidays are a time to celebrate, and that includes enjoying delicious food and treats.
Create a concrete plan for the season and beyond.
New Year’s resolutions may be overrated, but they can also be helpful, particularly if you put a plan in place well before the holiday season even starts. Create SMART goals around your holiday parties and get-togethers that allow you to enjoy yourself without going overboard. Maybe your goal is to have a smaller portion of dessert or to fill up on vegetables before indulging in the main course. Whatever it may be, make sure it’s realistic and achievable. Then, carry that momentum into the new year by adapting these goals into a full-blown plan for whatever health goal you want to achieve. Having a solid plan in place can help you stay on track and make healthier choices throughout the holiday season and beyond.
In conclusion, the holiday season should be fun and full of food, family, and friends. By following these easy tips, you can enjoy the festivities without going over the top. Remember to nourish your body by eating regularly, prioritize fitness, indulge in moderation, practice mindful eating, stay active after meals, show yourself self-compassion, and create a concrete plan for the season and beyond. By taking a realistic and balanced approach to your health during the holidays, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and will be glad you did when the new year rolls around!