Healthy holiday season doesn’t seem realistic, but it can be. Try these simple strategies to navigate the holiday season with health and ease.
The holiday season is just around the corner. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, you may gain between 1 and 2 pounds. Yikes! Over a course of 5 years, that is 5-10 of unwanted weight. No one wants that weight gain. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can still enjoy the weeks of the holidays and still remaining healthy without weight gain.
7 Simple Strategies for a Healthy Holiday Season
1. Decide What Your Priorities Are
As you look ahead, what are your priorities for the holiday season? Do you want to remain healthy? Do you want to gain weight? Do you want to have fun? Can you remain healthy and still enjoy yourself? Do you want to spend time with those you love?
Decide that you do want to keep your health during the holidays. Commit to having a memorable season while keeping your health a priority. When you do this, it becomes easier to make decisions to keep your health and weight. Write down your commitment and keep it in a visible place.
2. Eat Whole Foods & Enjoy Processed, Sugar Foods Sparingly
Start telling yourself that you can enjoy all the festivities without all the sugar and processed foods. Always start with the most simple, whole foods. Fill your plate with those foods including fruits and vegetables, and then enjoy one sugary food per celebration or gathering. Depriving yourself is not the answer. Instead allow yourself your favorite sugar food in a small quantity and enjoy.
Get more tips - 15 Tips to Thriving at Christmas Parties
3. Say No
We all have a tendency to overbook ourselves, to commit to things that we know aren’t in our best interest.
Asked to a join a cookie exchange, say no…knowing you will be making healthy energy bites this year instead.
Asked to head an event that is going to take too much time, say no…find your own way of giving back that doesn’t take so much time, like donating to your favorite charity or volunteering at a food bank one time.
Asked to go to a gathering where you know it will be impossible to eat well, avoid unhealthy drinks, and it will go too late, say no…use that time instead to catch up on your to-do list, practice some self-care, wrap presents while listening to soothing music, and drinking a cup of herbal tea. Go to bed early.
You don’t have to attend all activities. Find joy and gratitude in a quieter activity from time to time. You may find that you enjoy the holiday season even more.
4. Plan Downtime
As you start to fill in your holiday schedule, make sure you block out time for you, for your own self-care. When you fill your schedule to overflowing, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and tired. When you remember to take care of you, you will have the strength to make healthy choices.
Remember to include time for you to recharge. Whether that is meditating, taking a bath, reading a holiday book, or whatever refreshes you, spend time in slowing down. You will enjoy the festivities with more energy and vitality. Check out my Self-care Pinterest Board for ideas.
Find out why you need Self Care for Optimal Health
5. Prioritize Your Sleep
Your to-do list is pages long. There are parties and gatherings to attend. Work is crazy before year-end. Sleep seems like a luxury, but it isn’t. Commit today to getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Occasionally, a gathering may go late, but at least 6 days out of the week, get to bed by 10 and asleep by 10:30. Your healthy will benefit.
Sleep is crucial to keeping your hormone levels balanced for a healthy holiday season. When you don’t sleep enough, your hunger and feel full hormones, ghrelin and leptin, go out of whack, causing chemicals in your body to crave sweets and junk food. Getting enough sleep will help your body help you make healthy decisions.
6. Get Moving
Yes, you are busy, but your body needs to move. Movement and exercise helps your lymphatic system function to clean toxins out of your body. When you don’t clear out the toxins, you feel less energetic and therefore, crave the quick hit of sugar.
Exercising can help clear your mind and organize your priorities better. It doesn’t have to be hours at the gym. A brisk walk, yoga poses, 15 minute high intensity interval training, or a nature outing can all keep your body moving and feeling at its best.
7. Gather Healthy Holiday Recipes Now
When you get swamped, it is easy to make that familiar sugar and dairy laden food to take to your next gathering. Take time now to create a short list of healthy foods you can take to a gathering. When you take something healthy, you know there will be at least one healthy item you can fill up on. You may become the one who brings the healthy, but delicious food and start a trend of healthy eats during the holidays.
Check out my Healthy Eats and Energy Bites Pinterest Boards for ideas and download 10 Healthy Holiday Recipes and Holiday Survival Tips.
Take a few minutes right now to prioritize these strategies to have a healthy holiday season. You can feel your best, keep your weight stable, and enjoy the season to the fullest.
This post was featured at A Fresh Start on a Budget’s Motivational Monday. Go check out her website and link up.