Now that Thanksgiving leftovers are all gone and the hectic, crazy holiday season is upon us, it’s a good time to commit to keeping your holidays healthy. It’s easy to let good habits slip this time of year, but for starters, here are two pitfalls to be aware of, and two easy solutions to help stay on track. Stay tuned for our follow-up post with Tips #3 and #4! Cheers to enjoying the season, with a little strategic damage control.
Pitfall #1: All-or-nothing thinking
You decide to splurge on your favorite holiday foods, but find yourself going overboard with everything else too! “What the heck, I’ve already blown it, so I’ll just enjoy everything now and get back on track after the New Year,” you say to yourself.
Strategy: If you accidentally overpaid your electricity bill, you don’t think “what the heck” and start tacking on $20 to all the other checks you write that month, so why apply the same logic to your food intake? Splurge on the foods that are special and important to you, then keep up with your normally healthy choices at all the other meals. Assuming you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, there will be 93 meals for the month of December. Make 90% of them lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and let the others slide a little bit. (That allows for 8 indulgent meals for the math-challenged folks out there.)
Pitfall #2: Elusive exercise
You’re so busy that you skip your normal workout routine. What with all the shopping, wrapping, holiday parties and such — there’s no time to get to the gym!
Strategy: Keep yourself accountable by creating a challenge with your extended family over social media or make a date to walk and talk with a friend. When you keep your body moving, you improve your sleep habits, manage stress better and generally make better food choices. If you truly don’t have time for your full routine, try the “something is better than nothing” route and get out there for 10-20 minutes. Just like a bookmark keeps your place in a novel, an exercise “bookmark” will help you get back to your routine when the holidays end without starting over from the beginning.
Part 1 of our 2 Part Guide to a Healthier Holiday Season. Read Part 2.
Amy is a registered dietitian with Roper St. Francis Healthcare specializing in nutrition counseling for cardiovascular disease risk factors. Her favorite holiday indulgence is a few homemade butter cookies made from her grandmother’s recipe.