The holiday season is a time for celebration and time spent with loved ones. But for many people, the holiday season also means falling off the health and fitness wagon.
Don’t let the holidays knock you off track this year. Arm yourself with these simple and practical tips to stay on track with your health and fitness goals this holiday season.
Make time for exercise. As your holiday schedule fills up, save time in your calendar for exercise, even if it is just 10 minutes here and there. Aim to get a total of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day. Not only will exercise help prevent holiday weight gain, but physical activity will also help relieve the stress that often accompanies the holidays.
Don’t go hungry. Don’t skip meals to “make room” for a big holiday dinner. You’re more likely to overeat if you are hungry when the party begins. Eat a high-protein breakfast and plenty of fruits and veggies during the day of your holiday gathering so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
Take a healthy dish. If you’re attending a potluck party, plan to bring a healthy dish so you know there will be at least one kind of food you can enjoy that won’t throw off your diet.
Have a game plan. Before heading out to a holiday gathering, establish a plan and know exactly what you will and won’t eat before you arrive at the party. When possible, don’t attend a holiday party alone. Instead, take a friend or family member with you who can help hold you accountable to make healthy choices and help relieve some of the awkward tension that can accompany holiday parties and family gatherings.
Eat only the foods you love. Holiday parties are known to be a buffet of sweets and fatty foods. Rather than trying some of everything, pick and choose only the foods you love. Another trick is to use a small plate and fill it up with healthy foods so you’ll have little room left for the unhealthy options.
Hydrate. Drink plenty of water (at least 64 ounces a day) to help keep your stomach full. Eggnog, holiday cocktails and cider are tasty treats, but they also contain empty calories, so stick to water and other calorie-free drinks. Drinking plenty of water will also help reduce your cravings for foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories.
Enjoy yourself. Don’t focus on restricting your diet so much as simply enjoying holiday treats in moderation. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy the holidays and make it your goal to maintain your current weight, rather than trying to lose weight during the holiday season.
The holidays can easily be the unhealthiest time of the year, but they don't have to be. With these tips, you can stay on track with your health and fitness goals and avoid the guilt and regret that comes with weight gain.
If you have more questions about maintaining good nutrition during the holiday season, contact Goshen Health's team of nutrition experts.