Did you go overboard on the pumpkin pie? We all have good intentions for healthy holidays, but sometimes they get wrecked! Maybe it starts with a cookie because Aunt Barb made them, and it would hurt her feelings if you turned down one of her famous cookies. Then dinner comes, and you can’t resist the rolls… or the potatoes… or the dessert that’s been passed down from your great-great-grandmother. Before you know it, you’re feeling like a stuffed turkey. That doesn’t stop you, though! You go for seconds on the pie… all three kinds! After all this, how do you get your health back on track for the holidays?
Staying on track with your healthy lifestyle during the holidays might seem impossible. Maybe you made it through Thanksgiving successfully, but it wasn’t easy. But then there’s Christmas… and New Year’s Eve. Don’t dread the guilt of the holidays or think of your healthy lifestyle as holding you back. Instead, be prepared. The best way to maintain your healthy lifestyle is to prepare for the health and emotional obstacles that the holidays can bring. There are plenty.
Christmas and all its get-togethers and events are amazing. Hey, it’s the best time of year! But you don’t have to go down the slippery slope of cheats and treats. Go into it prepared for the temptations. You can live a healthy lifestyle throughout the year and create healthy traditions for every season. Here are some tips to help keep (or get) your health on track as you start to build your own healthy traditions.
8 Tips to Get Your Health Back on Track for the Holidays
1) Don’t Give Up Because of One Choice
Don’t give up because of one poor choice or one bad day. It can be tempting, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. A healthy lifestyle is full of choices. Just because you goofed up doesn’t mean you have to fall even further behind. Move forward with healthy choices. Don’t think of it as taking a break from your diet. Your body wants to be healthy, and when you make choices that stress the body, you move it away from health. So, if you made a bad choice, don’t beat yourself up. Just make a better one next time.
2) Find Healthy Treat Swaps
There will be plates of cookies and holiday advertising tempting you to indulge. It’s the season of treats full of sugar, inflammatory foods, and common allergens. There are few places that are safe from these indulgences. What treats will most tempt you this holiday season? Will you miss sitting by the fire drinking hot cocoa or filling the house with the smells of baked goods? Find swaps that will make it easier for you when you get tempted. Try some of our favorite dessert recipes, like the sugar cookies or peppermint chocolate bark.
3) Plan Ahead
Planning ahead will make it easier to stay on course. Make some freezer meals so that when the holidays get busy, you have an easy meal that’s not fast food. When your body is craving food, it’s craving nutrients, not just sugar and carbs. If you’re going to spend the holidays with friends and family, offer to bring a dish. Your friends and family won’t even realize they are eating healthy with some of our favorite recipes. Check out some of our recipes and our healthy holiday swaps.
4) Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water to make sure you’re staying hydrated. You might be surprised to find out you weren’t hungry after all. You were just thirsty. Speaking of hydration – Let’s talk about alcoholic beverages. Depending on where you are on your health journey, you might have the occasional drink. But don’t go overboard! Alcoholic beverages can be full of hidden calories, and overdrinking can lead to overeating. Check out some of our cleaner alcohol suggestions.
5) Get Plenty of Sleep
There is so much excitement and so much to do around the holidays that it’s easy to skimp on sleep. Don’t stay up all night playing Santa because it can damage your health. Your body heals when you sleep, so it’s important to get rest and practice better sleep habits. Research has also shown that lack of sleep may lead to an unhealthy diet and overeating. Not getting enough rest can lead to hormonal imbalance and stress, making it harder to eat healthy.
6) Stay Active
Don’t just go from the table to the couch. Get moving to help with digestion, detoxify, and stay active throughout the holiday season. Take a walk, play football, or find a sledding hill. Make a plan for ways you can incorporate a little exercise into your day every day. That means even on the holidays. Short on time? Try mini-workouts or making exercise the first thing you do every morning. Getting active will help you feel better about yourself while building your best, healthy life.
7) Reduce Stress and Remember Your Priorities
The busy holidays bring lots of emotions and stress, which can lead to unhealthy stress eating. Take care of yourself and find ways to reduce stress. Unhealthy eats aren’t the only way to treat yourself this holiday season. Find time for a peppermint massage or relaxing bath. There will be lots on your to-do list and many holiday commitments but focus on your priorities. You cannot say yes to everything, and if it doesn’t support your priorities, why are you doing it?
8) Focus on the Cheer
Keep your mind on positive things, and the spirit of the season, like spending time with those you love and building new memories. Don’t think about what you cannot have so much that you miss the twinkle of Christmas lights or the opportunity to catch a kiss under the mistletoe.
Be Healthy and Be Merry
Between now and the end of the holiday season, you have a number of opportunities to choose health. Every meal and activity either builds your healthy lifestyle or chips away at it. It might seem difficult to be healthy during the holidays, but if you come prepared, it’s much easier. So, get your health back on track over the holidays and keep it on track. It’s much easier to be merry if you’re also healthy!