Healthy Holidays are Possible
Stay fit, happy and full of energy with these simple tips
The holiday season is here and with it comes an abundance of food, family and fun that leaves little time for good nutrition, fitness and self-care. Add in the demands of school, work, kids’ activities and other commitments it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself.
When the calendar starts to fill with parties, work deadlines and school functions,
Keep these tips in mind for staying healthy and reducing stress during the holiday season:
1. EAT. Food is fuel so eat to power yourself through these busy days. You may be busy but don’t go all day without eating. Listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry and choose clean foods like whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies and high-quality protein. Don’t eat less than 1200 calories each day and aim for at least 25 grams of fiber and less than 2300 mg of sodium. Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods and take out.
2. DRINK. Water, that is! Ditch the soda and other sweetened drinks (even the diet ones) for good old-fashioned water. Infuse with citrus and mint for flavor but try to drink half your body weight in ounces. Avoid the holiday drinks at your favorite coffee shop. They pack a calorie and sugar punch, and moderate how much alcohol you consume – it’s empty calories.
3. MOVE. Make time for movement. 30 minutes is all you need. Shoot for 5 days a week but know that even 3 or 4 days is beneficial. When possible incorporate both cardio and strength and make time for stretching. Try workouts like bootcamps, kickboxing and hot yoga that will get your heart rate up but also strengthen your muscles.
4. REST/RECOVER. No one is their best self when they are exhausted. To get through the busy holiday season, you need to slow down to speed up. If you burn the candle at both ends, every day, your body will fight back by slowing metabolism, making you irritable and interfering with your ability to think and cope. Rest and recovery are critical. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night and try to find time to quiet your mind in your waking hours. Meditate for as little as 5 minutes a day with no distractions to ease a stressful mind and calm your body.
5. SET BOUNDARIES. The amount of holiday activities scheduled from Halloween to New Years can be overwhelming if you let them take over your schedule and life. Choose what you say yes to, carefully. Create “filters” for responding to requests and invitation. For example, “does this event allow me to spend time with my family?” or “is this a cause that is important to me?” If it doesn’t pass your filter test, politely decline to protect your time for what really matters.
Maintaining healthy habits through the holidays doesn’t just happens. You must put thoughtful effort into it and be steadfast in your boundaries. While these tips may seem obvious or simple, they are rarely easy to do. The key is to make a plan and start early so you’ll be prepared when the holiday season is in full swing.