The holidays can be a busy time of the year filled with cocktail parties, nights out with friends, and family gatherings. Just because your schedule seems a little more “full” than usual doesn’t mean you have to kiss your healthy lifestyle goodbye! In this post, I’m going to show you how to stay healthy by exercising, making smart food choices and focusing on emotional wellbeing through the holidays.
This post was originally posted in November 2015.
Is it just me or does this fall season seem to be flying by? I think I’m still in a little bit of denial that Thanksgiving is next week, since I’m still in shorts and a t-shirt trying to stay as cool as possible here in Florida. It’s always a gamble as to whether I’ll be wearing shorts and flip flops or my beloved jeans and boots on Thanksgiving Day.
Another reason I attribute time traveling at warp speed is because of my crazy busy schedule. I don’t know about you, but every year around the holidays my calendar seems to double in size. Whether it’s picking up an extra shift at work, spending time with friends and family, or gearing up for that holiday work party, there’s always something going on!
With so much to do (not to mention all of the sweets and treats that we are surrounded by), it can be easy to let our healthy habits slip. I know I often let other commitments take over my time to exercise, or I’m too easily tempted by that sweet treat calling my name.
The reality is, maintaining healthy habits through the holidays is doable (with a little flexibility) and ultimately, it comes down to making a choice. Sure, I would thoroughly enjoy that third or fourth cookie, but do I really need it? Or, “I stayed out too late last night, so I’ll just go ahead and skip my morning workout.”
Below, I’ll show you how you can stay healthy through the holidays, while still enjoying all that this season has to offer!
Do something every day to just move. Trying to adhere to a strict workout regime can be difficult for some through the busyness of the holidays. Instead of trying to get to the gym five days a week, focus on doing at least one thing every day to get you moving. This could be going on a walk with family or trying out a new and fun fitness class with a friend (hello, holiday specials!). Going shopping? I challenge you to do five squats every time you try on a new clothing item!
Get your family and friends involved. The holidays are a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. Going to the mountains for the holidays? Go for a family hike! Hanging out around the house? Gather everyone to go for a bike ride or walk around the neighborhood. Or do something fun like participating in a turkey trot 5K/fun run in your area on Thanksgiving morning!
Think short and make it count. With limited time through the holiday season, I like to keep my workouts short and sweet. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are a great way to get your heart pumping, your brow sweating and calories burned in 30 minutes or less. Looking for a workout to try at home? Check out my “Workouts” Pinterest Board, here!
Focusing on Nutrition
Quality over quantity. Have you ever eaten so much that you make yourself feel sick? Sound like Thanksgiving Day to anyone? Friends and family know that I love to eat, and I often feast with my eyes before my food even touches my mouth. The problem with this is that my eyes are often times bigger than my stomach as I’m loading up my plate, and I end up stuffing myself full.
Instead of seeing just how high you can stack your plate with yummy goodness, take a look at the holiday spread and decide on a select few items that you want to try, first. You can always go back for more, but chances are, you will be satisfied with the foods you chose!
Savor your foods. We’ve all heard of mindful eating, right? Time to put it into practice this holiday season by engaging all five senses when eating that delicious slice of pumpkin pie or forkful of green bean casserole. Being mindful of what we are eating forces us to slow down, allowing our body to process and digest our foods better. Listen to your body when it tells you it’s satisfied instead of reaching for just one more cookie or bite!
Eat before you go. Go to that holiday party, that is. Having a healthy snack before heading out the door to get to the next holiday festivity can help prevent overeating once you’re there. Have you ever gone to a party ravenously hungry and end up stuffing your face with cheesy dip, holiday chex mix and cookies wondering why you’re just not feeling full? Well, because those things aren’t as nutritionally satisfying as that apple and peanut butter or turkey sandwich you could have had before you left.
Practice gratitude. It’s the season of thankfulness and what better time to remind yourself of what you are grateful for in your life! Spending five minutes each morning to practice gratitude can help set a positive and uplifting tone for the day. You can learn more about practicing gratitude here.
Focus on friends and family. The holidays are meant to be a time to sit back and relax with friends and family. Be mindful not to let your ever-growing to do list or work commitment get in the way of spending quality time with your loved ones. I’ve found that as life gets busier and I have more responsibilities, it’s easy to miss out on these moments with those that I care about most.
Give yourself some grace! While the holidays are not an excuse to go haywire on your healthy habits, it is okay to give yourself a break from time to time. So you overindulged at the holiday party last night or you didn’t make it to the gym to workout today. That’s okay! Do the best you can with the circumstances you’re in and don’t beat yourself up if you “messed up”.
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