Updated: Mar 18
For many folks the holiday season can present a variety of healthy living challenges. A fun and festive time where you might also find yourself susceptible to putting on a few extra pounds.
A few missed workouts here, a few extra servings there, not enough sleep and spread thin running to every social invitation... before you know it the wheels fall off and you're walking into the New Year feeling mentally and physically exhausted, struggling to hit the reset button.
But what if it didn't have to be such a struggle this year?
You CAN avoid some of these all too common holiday pitfalls and walk into January feeling healthier, happier and ahead of the game not five steps behind.
Here are 7 ways to make healthy happen this holiday season!
Enjoy Planned Indulgences
Staying fit over the holiday season doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some "planned indulgences" and partake in a few festive treats too. Don’t beat yourself up for getting into the holiday spirit and partaking a little, just be mindful of mindless munching that can often lead to overindulging or eating when you're not really hungry. When you keep it healthy 80% of the time, you've got plenty of room for those planned indulgences, so just decide when you will splurge and what on.
This is especially important during the holiday season when temptations, social pressure, and stress can make you susceptible self sabotage and lead to a host of unhealthy choices. Take a few moments to tune into what you really need should you find yourself with sudden cravings, in slippery situations, or an uncomfortable environment. Then determine how you can best soothe that need without turning to food. This will empower you to navigate between severe restriction and punishment vs. over indulging and going down the rabbit hole of self sabotage.
Make Healthier Versions Of Traditional Treats
Looking for a guilt free way to treat yourself at holiday parties without throwing all your hard work out of the window? Try making healthier versions of your favorite holiday treats and taking them with you to holiday events. Instead of feeling anxious or stressed, you'll feel empowered and satiated!
Need some healthy inspiration?
Make healthy brownies without all the added sugars and fat with a few simple swaps of bananas, nut butter, cocoa powder and honey or maple syrup
Create healthy snack platters with fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, low fat cheeses and dips
Use seasonal spices to add sweet and/or spicey flavor without the added calories
How about a healthier version of mulled wine - this mulled beetroot and orange juice is delish!
There are all sorts of ways to make healthier versions of traditional festive treats you love, without compromising on taste. And when you share them at holiday events, you’ll probably find your friends and family love them too and won’t even notice that they’re healthy! Visit the Healthy Eating section of our blog for inspiration, it's loaded with fun and simple holiday recipes that you would never guess are healthy too!
Drink Plenty Of Water
The adult human body is nearly 60 % water. And during a hectic holiday season, it is especially important to keep hydrated, especially if indulging in alcoholic drinks. Did you know that the body can sometimes signal hunger when it is actually thirsty? Next time you find yourself craving endless snacks, try downing a big glass of water. You may just be dehydrated. Drinking a big glass of water at holiday meals will also help you feel full, satiated, and reduce belly bloat from consuming foods higher in salt.
Knock Out Your Workout Early
Got some busy days and evenings lined up over the holidays? It’s easy for fitness to slide off your to-do list when you have a full plate. A simple trick to set yourself up for success is to knock out that workout earlier in the day. This way not only are you ensured to make exercise happen, but you will move through your day feeling great about following through on a healthy habit commitment, and we know one healthy habit often inspires another, so you'll be that much more likely to make other healthy choices too! Now that is what I call winning.
Do What You Can
If you’re super busy, you might find yourself shorter on both time and motivation for your usual workouts. Doing something is always better than doing nothing, and it will help you feel great mind, body, and spirit. So instead of skipping the whole thing, do what you can. Especially busy days are great for HIIT workouts which are typically shorter, lasting about 30 minutes (compared to that of a traditional hour long workout.) Or try breaking up exercise into 10 or 15 minute increments throughout the day - such as 15 minutes while getting ready in the morning, 15 minutes on your lunch break, and 10 minutes after work. At the end of the day you'll feel great knowing you made something happen.
Take Movement Breaks
Chances are you probably spend a lot of time sitting over the holidays. From driving here and there, and longer days at work, to wining and dining with family and friends, and watching holiday movies and shows, there’s a lot of potential for less movement, which can leave you feeling sluggish, lazy, and uninspired... leading to added pounds. And we know sitting for long periods is not good for your mind or spirit either. Try to get up to get in some movement every couple hours for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Tricks like standing to sip water, walking to the furthest bathroom, stretching at your desk, inviting a friend to walk to coffee, or a colleague to join you for a walking meeting are all great ways to keep yourself moving this season.
Get Active Whenever You Can
You don't have to workout to stay active during the holiday season. Look for opportunities to get moving more without having to throw on gym clothes and work up a sweat. From winter walks to look at lights, to outdoor games, to walking the mall, and fun dance offs … anything goes! You can easily fit in more steps each day by parking further from the store, taking the stairs, or taking your furry friend out for an extra walk each day. It all adds up!
Are you are a woman who is ready to live healthier and happier, ditch the diet, and discover small steps that make a big impact so you can live a life you love in a body you are proud of? Come join me inside my women’s-only Facebook Group - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where busy women go for tips, tools and support so they can eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!