From holiday happy hours to family get-togethers, the holidays have a way of making healthy living hard. If we’re not being tempted with decadent seasonal treats, then we’re overscheduled and can’t stick with our fitness routines. But staying committed to your healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean experiencing extreme cookie FOMO when a plate of home-baked goodness comes your way. Balance – not deprivation – is the key to staying healthy during the holidays.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “no” to a craving only to end up Hypno-eating my way through a Christmas movie marathon on the couch. Fortunately, I’ve learned from my mistakes and nailed down 5 Tips For A Healthy Holiday Season.
1. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to work out three days a week instead of five, and eat your mom’s famous sugar cookies. A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t feel like a punishment. When it does, we’re bound to rebel.
I try to live by the 80/20 rule: I stick to my routine 80 percent of the time, and allow myself to indulge during the other 20 percent. Sometimes that means hitting “snooze” on a rainy morning, and other times that means tearing into a bowl of Tillamook Monster Cookie Ice Cream. Regardless of how I choose to treat myself, I enjoy whatever I’m doing and move on. I’ve already gifted myself that 20 percent, so there’s nothing to feel badly about!
2. Move your body daily. A body in motion is more likely to stay in motion…even if you don’t have the time or energy to work out the way you’d like to.
The challenge during the holidays is often that we have the intention to move, but lack the follow-through. I like to keep myself accountable by signing up for classes during the holiday season. Not only are they generally less crowded this time of year, but the class fee keeps me from slacking off. It’s a win-win!
3. Load your plate with plants. Whether you’re at a cocktail party or making dinner at home, make sure half your plate is covered with veggies. When you’re full of fiber, you’re less likely to reach for an extra serving of sweets.
This goes for snacks, too! This time of year, I often swap my afternoon apple with nut butter (I’m so basic!) for crudité and hummus or tzatziki. While there’s nothing wrong with eating fruit, there’s just so much sugar going around this time of year that I take every chance I can to eat something green.
4. Pass on passed appetizers. I know. This one kind of sucks. But it’s way too easy to lose track of how much you’re eating when you’re snacking here and there. Also, it’s really hard to eat, talk, and sip while holding a purse and not spill food down the front of your dry-clean-only dress! (Or maybe that’s just me!)
If you’re planning on drinking and are worried about doing it on an empty stomach, have a snack like trail mix or crackers with hummus right before you head to the party. Or, just don’t drink! Which brings me to my final tip….
5. Remember: drinking is optional. I grew up during the days of DARE, when we’d roleplay saying “no” by pretending a chalkboard eraser was a can of beer. But as idiotic as that seemed back then, peer pressure is real. And in some ways it’s even worse now that we’re adults! Just remember: other people’s thoughts are none of your business. So if people want to judge you for turning down that cocktail, then LET THEM. You’ll forget all about their immature comments tomorrow morning when you’re crushing your run.