The holiday season is officially upon us. And with it comes family time, Christmas music, last minute shopping, and of course the greatest tradition of them all: binge eating and the ensuing guilt.
While the holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, they can be stressful for those with specific fitness goals or nutritional routines they’ve been trying to follow with fidelity. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time to share some tips for avoiding the common health pitfalls the holidays bring.
1. Be forgiving with yourself.
“What the heck? Isn’t this supposed to be tips for staying healthy over the holidays?” Before you click out of the article, hear me out. Keeping a focus on your health is important. Avoiding stuffing your face with nutritionally void junk food is important. But enjoying time with your friends and family is important as well. So, the first tip is to understand and be alright with the fact that you might not eat perfectly and maintain your exact workout schedule over the holidays. And that’s alright. Just do your best to be conscious of your choices, and don’t beat yourself up for having a slice of Pumpkin Pie.
2. Plan Ahead
Planning meals and workouts is of the utmost importance for accomplishing health goals. It becomes even more important if your normal routine is thrown off. The holidays usually bring travel and abnormal schedules. Sit down at the start of each week, take a look at what you have planned, and then fill in times to get your workouts in. You will be much more likely to stay consistent over the holidays if you take time to fit it around your events and activities, as opposed to just saying “I will work out when I have some down time”.
3. Stay Hydrated!
I am part of the gallon-a-day club. Each morning I fill up my trusty jug, and swig from it on a routine basis until it is gone. Staying hydrated is one of those universal health hacks that you simply can’t afford to ignore. However, it is easy to slip up a bit with this habit during the holidays. Like everything else, it’s easier for the routine to be disrupted when you aren’t in your normal element.
While drinking enough water has an untold amount of health benefits, there is one in particular that helps during feast season – it fills you up! Simply consuming adequate water before a large meal greatly reduces the chances of overeating, as it helps you feel more satiated faster. So make sure eggnog isn’t the only thing you’re chugging this year!
4. Plan out your plate
There’s no two ways about it – Thanksgiving food is good. Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, and all those deserts! And you want to sample them all, and that’s fine. But the key word is sample. The goal doesn’t need to be avoiding these delectable foods completely, but rather having some degree of moderation.
Start by filling your plate with some healthier, more nutritious items such as vegetables, turkey, and salad. Once you have taken up a decent portion of your plate, sprinkle some of the additional goodies on. That way, you can still enjoy everything, but you will have put emphasis on filling your plate with mostly healthy items to start.
5. Don’t forget to sleep
Most people view the holidays as a time to relax and catch up on sleep. No work, no school – time to sleep in. Ironically, we can sometimes get less sleep over the holidays than normal. People tend to stay up later, go out with friends, and put less emphasis on their sleep because they don’t have to be “up and at ‘em” for work. Obviously, enjoy your time off. Have fun with your friends. But sleep! The more quality sleep you get, the more controlled your blood sugar is. This enables you to curb your appetite and avoid over eating.
Follow these 5 tips, enjoy your holidays, and always keep an eye out for Shredded Santa busting through a chimney near you December 24.