The holiday season typically brings a never-ending stream of invites to social gatherings, free-flowing treats, and cold weather that makes you want to curl up indoors. This is without a doubt the hardest time of year to keep your healthy habits in check, so here’s a few tips to avoid undoing the hard work you’ve put in all year.
- Pace yourself this is a marathon, not a sprint. You likely have some sort of social gathering multiple times each week, so remind yourself you have plenty of time to indulge. Although it’s tempting to go all out at each one, limit your splurges at each gathering. A little something special a few nights a week won’t kill you, but stuffing yourself to the brim with excess sugar, salt and fat every night will (at the very least) leave you feeling sluggish the next day.
- Eat what you love are those store-bought cookies really that good? Do you even like eggnog? Sometimes we fall into the trap of eating a ton of seasonal holiday foods just because “it’s the holidays”. If it’s not your preferred treat, why bother? Don’t waste your calories on foods you only moderately enjoy, instead save the opportunity for something you’re really excited about.
- Fill up on greens after an evening of cheese and crackers, it might seem perfectly doable to stuff yourself with a cupcake, but chances are you wouldn’t feel the same if you were stuffing yourself with salad. Focus on getting a good balance of fiber and protein in before the indulgences to ensure you don’t fill up on the bad stuff. If you’re going to a party where you’re sure the options will be limited, eat a small healthy snack beforehand.
- Take days off…from indulgences. Break the cycle of unhealthy eating and too many cocktails by making a conscious effort to have off days. Whenever you don’t have a celebration on the calendar, counteract by focusing on wholesome eating, drinking tons of water, and getting solid sleep. In doing so, you’ll avoid feeling guilty for the nights of extravagance, because life is all about balance.
- Be active the days are short, the temperatures are freezing, and you’re often battling a light hangover, so this time of year is likely to hit your workout routine hard. You don’t have to miss a beat if you prepare in advance and schedule your exercise around holiday get-togethers. Make it a priority to get your movement in whenever you have free time to do so, which may mean it’s finally time to start those early morning workouts!