7 Simple Habits to Adopt for the Holiday Season to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Staying healthy for the holidays

Well it's that time of year again! The days are getting shorter, the weather is turning cooler and you soon will have big feasts & holiday festivities. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be more challenging as more delicious food and temptations are present in your day to day.  Feeling healthy and confident during this season is SO important.  The more confidence you can have in yourself and how to  maintain your healthy lifestyle during family get-togethers and festivities will help you be all the more successful in the endeavor. It doesn't need to be hard; there are plenty of simple ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season. 

Our seven habits to adopt for the holiday season are: 

  1. Realistic Goal settingHoliday dinners should be a time for celebrating and catching up with friends. You don’t want to feel bad about the food choices you make during this season, so start by setting realistic goals that will help maintain your weight long-term!  For example: if it is not possible right now to totally say no to all carbs, but somewhere down the line in December or January when everyone has more room (and less stress!) then maybe try cutting out those fried foods from meal planning altogether for a few weeks; and instead eat healthy snacks like veggies dipped in hummus topped off with pita bread, sandwich style—yummm!! Also set 1 small goal each week for yourself that you can look back on and be proud. For example, aim to drink 8 cups of water daily for a week.
  2. Intuitive Eating: What does 'intuitive eating’' mean? It simply means recognizing when you feel hungry rather than relying heavily upon calorie counting or other diet hacks. If you listen to your body it will tell you when it is time to eat and when it is time to stop. The trick here is to make sure you are really listening and giving your body the respect it deserves to voice it’s opinion. Taking smaller bites and chewing slower will also give your body time to let you know if it is time to step away from the food. Learn more on how to become an intuitive eater here.
  3. Practice Proper Portion Control: There are many ways to cut down on your food intake without feeling hungry. One way is to use smaller plates with your meals so that you don't overeat. Or order appetizers instead of a full meal.  Another is choosing an hour at night to stop any eating or snacking due to lack of self-control. Not eating while watching TV will also cut down on empty calories. Finally make sure there’s enough time set aside before bed for digestion (which can take up an hour). If you combine visually limiting your portions with intuitive eating you will have a winning combo!
  4. Staying Hydrated: A great way of ensuring everyone in your family has enough water on hand throughout this time of year may simply come down to what you serve them at breakfast each morning - try putting out some water instead of juice or milk. And if one person tends towards afternoon naps, place a glass of water at their nightstand so they can reach for it right away after waking up. Finally, drinking a large glass of water before the start of any meal (and in between contemplating going back for seconds on that meal) will help your body to realize if it is actually hungry or thirsty. A rule of thumb for how much you need (Take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2, this gives you your weight in kilograms, then take that number by 25-30, this gives you a range in mL. Take that number and divide by 250mL to get how many cups per day you should be drinking.) If you can find a nice water flask (we carry them in our stores) that you can carry with you , often you will find it easier to drink your daily fluid needs.
  5. Give Yourself Permission to Treat Yourself in Moderation: You know that feeling when you're out with friends and all of a sudden it feels like everyone is ordering a decadent dessert and tempting you with ordering it as well? Thankfully, there are ways to to prepare yourself for success. The first is your mindset. If you decide ahead of time the amount of a treat you will enjoy you can better consume it in moderation with out depriving yourself. Often if we try to deny ourself special holiday treats we end up over consuming those foods. When you choose the important moments during the holidays to enjoy those special treats you are setting yourself up to win! This mentality will not only help you to say “no” to the treats that didn’t matter to you as much, but it will also reward you for when the time comes with that treat you have been thinking about and longing for.
  6. Bringing Healthy Alternatives to Parties: Holiday parties can be the hardest of them all to attend especially if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle. So why not bring some wonderful healthy alternatives to the party that not only support your lifestyle but encourage others to join you! If your company or the guests at the party don't want to eat healthier foods, that’s ok! Support their decision the way you hope they will support you. And know that by choosing the food you are, you will be feeling so much better in the morning! Lastly, go into your gathering with a moderate plan in mind that honors your health but also your  yearning for special occasion foods. Having a plan in mind can make all the difference.
  7. Exercising: Finally, exercise is a great way to keep your mind and body healthy during the holidays. It has so many benefits, like improving our mood, decreasing our stress levels and giving us a sense of accomplishment. When we can see progress on our goals or journey it can feel very rewarding and encourage us to want to make wholesome healthy choices even more. In fact, a new study commissioned by Nike suggests people are looking for ways not only to spend less money but also be healthier while celebrating their families over the Holidays. They want something fun instead of watching TV all evening long (you know who you are). So why not make exercising a family fun night? Go outside and throw the football around, or take a long walk together. Or if it is too cold outside, turn your living room into a dance party! Make this a new tradition after heavy holiday meals that can create wonderful habits and memories not only for you, but also for your family.

We hope these seven holiday tips make your season brighter and help you to remember that being healthy doesn't have to be boring. These seven simple habits for the holiday season to maintain a healthy lifestyle should give you a better idea of what may work well for you. If it's not possible for you to commit fully this year to all seven of these tips, try incorporating one or two new habits into your daily routine and see how they can improve your health as we wrap up 2021! 

What do you think? Which tip will you commit to this holiday season? 

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