By Lynde Weatherford; Director of Personal Training Services, Performance Health & Fitness

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season is approaching fast and the comment that I get all the time from clients is, “I’m going to start taking care of myself and being healthy AFTER the holidays.” In my head I always think, why do you have to wait?

My approach to living a healthy lifestyle is the opposite of what most think. I know that living a healthy lifestyle is far more achievable when people learn the tools on how to integrate the “bad habits” with the “good habits” so that you can continue to ENJOY what life has to offer. This may be harsh to say, but it’s the truth; having the “all or nothing” attitude is short lived and will not work long term. You will end up burning out from being “good” all the time. You will come to resent the process and you won’t achieve your health goals. It’s the ugly truth about long-lasting results but it is the truth, nonetheless.

With that said, I want you to continue working towards your goals, but I also want you to enjoy life this holiday season. Don’t be hard on yourself if you grab another piece of pumpkin pie or have a couple drinks with loved ones. You can still lead a healthy lifestyle that helps you work towards your goals without the guilt because you will have balance. Doing the extreme is short lived. By having the mentality of balancing the good with a little of the “so called” bad, you will put less pressure on yourself so that you can enjoy this time with family.

Here are some tips to help you balance the indulgences of the holiday season:

  1. Incorporate some daily movement for 30 minutes

This can be done by going on a family walk, going on a walk by yourself before anyone wakes up, completing a workout from our On-Demand Video Series, doing a YouTube Yoga video or playing Twister with the fam bam. Workouts don’t have to be just at the gym during the holidays so if you don’t have access to one or, you don’t want to take the time away from family time, then incorporate some of the aforementioned ideas or get creative to help you get that heart rate up a bit. Also, don’t feel like just because you don’t get a workout in that you are hindering your goals. Remember that it’s 80/20. If you take a few days off, it’s not going to kill your achievements.

  1. Stay hydrated

The rule is, for every 1 standard alcoholic beverage, drink 16 oz of water to make sure your body doesn’t become dehydrated. Pay attention to your urine color as you are spending time with family. If it starts to become dark, it’s time to drink some water. Remember that 20% of your hydration needs come from food so it’s not just about drinking water to make sure your body gets what it needs. You must eat too 🙂

  1. Get enough sleep

If you wake up every day feeling rested and ready to conquer the day with family without caffeine, you are doing great! But, if you notice that you are staying up a little longer to soak in those family moments, you may end up sleep deprived. Getting good quality sleep allows your body to regenerate and recover from the day’s activities. Try to stick to your sleep schedule. If you don’t get enough sleep one night because you want to stay up to watch a movie with the family or play game, go for it!

  1. Manage your Stress

If it’s your turn to host this year, don’t stress about making it perfect all by yourself. Family and friends can chip in to help with a dish or use a caterer so you don’t have to cook at all. Recruit others to bring a game or anything else that you may need. Ask for help to take the stress off yourself! There are always going to be things you are going to forget or a dish will get burned or someone may not be coming this year. Everything is going to be great! Enjoy the little things and remember, there is always next year!

  1. 80/20

Holiday meals include lots of healthy dishes….

  • Turkey and ham are great protein sources
  • Potatoes are a healthy complex carbohydrate that helps to give you energy for a longer time period.
  • Green beans and cranberry sauce are healthy carbs that provide essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • Stuffing provides prebiotics with the onions, whole grains with the bread, collagen from the broth and essential nutrients with the celery

The list can go on and on and on. Holiday meals aren’t “bad” for you if the quality of the ingredients is good. Of course, loading up the dishes with lots of butter and cream is going to add up, but you’re not going to be eating that much of it. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full to avoid packing on any body fat during the holidays, just like any other meal. Balance your plate to include fruits, veggies, protein and a complex carb to make sure you get in all the essential macronutrients that you need.

Don’t stress about ruining your “diet” or packing on the pounds because you aren’t in your normal routine. There are lots of ways to continue your healthy lifestyle during the holiday season. We tend to put more pressure on ourselves this time of year. The more that you incorporate healthy choices with an integration of some not so healthy choices, you will be more likely to stay on track and keep of the holiday pounds.

Happy Holidays to everyone and keep being consistent. Consistency = Results!