Healthy Strategies For The Holidays
Here are some healthy strategies for the holidays so you can get through them with ease. It’s a special time of year to celebrate with family and friends, but unfortunately, it can also become a time of high stress, over-eating, and weight gain.
This doesn’t have to be the case, so this year focus on a healthy balance of food, fun, and activities.
- Make Exercise A Priority – Making a conscious effort of actually scheduling your workouts in your calendar on a regular basis. This will help decrease stress, give you more energy, and make maintaining your weight an easier task. This doesn’t mean it’s a free ride to eat whatever you want all month long, but a moderate exercise program can help partially offset increased occasional holiday eating.
- Workout Ideas – Join us at one of my fitness groups (5 different times to choose from) or exercise with a friend. If you don’t have time for a full workout all at one time, break it up by doing a few 10-15-minute spurts of exercise throughout the day. Try fitting in a workout before you go to a party as you’ll be too tired from the celebration afterwards. If the party lasts all day long, ask some of the other guests to join you on a brisk walk or play a ball game outside, the kids especially love this. If the party is located where there is snow on ground, go with the kids outside to play in the snow.
- Stay Hydrated – When it gets cooler outside, you may find that you drink less water throughout the day. Try using a water bottle that has the amount of fluids you’re drinking on the side so you’ll know exactly where you’re at with the amount. You should be drinking, at a minimum, half of your body weight in ounces per day. If you’ll be drinking a cocktail at a party, be sure to drink water in between, as this will help in your recovery the next day.
- Do Fun, Non-Food Activities Together – It doesn’t always have to be about eating food. Plan group activities with family and friends by creating projects together like making wreaths and Christmas decorations. Sign up to volunteer at a local community shelter serving a meal, playing board or card games with a friend in a nursing home, or walk through the neighborhood looking at decorated homes.
- Don’t Skip A Meal So You Can Overeat Later – It’s better to eat healthy like you usually would during the day so you’ll feel better and stay in control over your food choices at the party.
- Make Fun, Healthy Food Art – Like the healthy veggie Christmas tree pictured along with this article, you could make this for the holiday party or have your kids make healthy food and snacks in your favorite holiday shapes. See Google images for hundreds of ideas.
- Smart Choices At The Party – Volunteer to bring a healthy side dish, so you’ll at least have one item that will be a smart choice. Choose your favorite items in smaller portions, and eat slowly to savor every bite. Try to eat a variety of vegetables, lean protein, and keep your serving size reasonable. If there is a buffet food table at the party, move away from that area so you won’t be tempted to ‘graze’ on more while you talk.
- What If You Overeat? – If you overeat at one meal, consume less calories on the next one. Research shows that it takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. While it is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie, if you choose to do this over and over again, this is where you’ll start gaining weight. The next day, get right back on track with your workout routine and healthy eating.
- Stash Healthy Foods In Your Desk At Work – If you have healthy snacks readily available to you at your desk, you won’t be as tempted by the unhealthy holiday treats at the office.
- Stock The Freezer Now With Healthy Meals – Everyone is over scheduled during the holidays with seeing friends and family, shows, parties, decorating, and shopping. This usually leaves less time for cooking healthy meals, and choosing fast, unhealthy options. Plan ahead now by making up some healthy dishes that you can freeze and have a few to choose from when you need to stick one in the oven later for a quick meal.
- Get Plenty Of Sleep – If you’re tired, you’re more likely to have less energy to workout, you’ll make poor food choices, and it will be hard to stay on track.
Hopefully some of these healthy strategies for the holidays will help you have a more enjoyable holiday season. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you. If you need help getting started with a healthy workout or healthy nutrition, click on the Time For Change Personal Training Services tab for info on how I can help you with your fitness and weight loss goals.