When you’re in your routine and the days blur together, it’s easy to stay healthy and fit. You meal prep, you work, you go to the gym — boom. But, when it’s this time of year, it can be a lot harder to squeeze in gym time and say no to the extra sweets around the house. With the holidays in full-swing, keep these helpful tips in mind for staying fit, but also enjoying time with friends and family. It’s essential to not lose sight of your healthy lifestyle and goals during the holidays, but it’s also important to live life to the fullest, which sometimes means indulging in a Christmas cookie or two. Let’s get started!
1. Eat when you’re hungry not just because there is food in front of you.
This a tip that can be applied all year round. Do you know how often we eat because we are bored? Or Auntie Anne’s just smells too good? Or there’s a plate of appetizers right in front of us? All the time! So this holiday season, I challenge you to eat only when you’re hungry. And only eat what you really want. You want a cookie, great! Eat it! You’re craving some brocolinni? Awesome! There’s cranberry sauce, and it’s such a holiday food but your plate is full? Skip it. You don’t need it. Or go back for it later if you still want it after a full plate of food. Don’t over stock your plate just because that’s what you’re “supposed to do” during the holidays.
2. Make family time, active time.
Invite your mom out for a leisurely walk (if you’re lucky like me, you live by a beach and can go whenever you want, even in December), suggest to your brother that you guys jump around for an hour at the trampoline park, ask dad to play a game of catch in the backyard. It’s easy over the holidays to indulge in some quality couch time and forget that spending time with family can also include some of your favorite activities like hiking, biking, and jumping. You’ll make memories while also getting some steps in.
3. Bake and give the sweet treats away as presents.
I always get the urge to bake around the holidays. How could you not? I absolutely love gingerbread cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, and salted caramel brownies, but my waistline definitely does not. That’s why I always give away my baked goods! Not only does it save me from eating them all myself while I binge watch “Game of Thrones,” but they also serve as mini-presents for loved ones and coworkers.
4. Don’t punish yourself for indulging.
I want you to really listen when I say this — It’s okay to have a few treats every once in awhile. I think this is incredibly important to remember over the holidays, as well as on a daily basis. One cookie (or two) is not going to make you lose all the progress you have made in your journey — it’s actually probably what your body wants, and you should always listen to that. And when you do indulge, please don’t “punish” yourself by promising to “run it off” or “have an extra long workout tomorrow.” Just enjoy it.
5. Offer to cook some of your favorite dishes while home for the holidays.
Who says being home means you can’t cook? Mom will definitely thank you for taking over one of her duties. And who knows? The family may end up loving it and adding the new dish to the menu every year. There is always room for a healthy side dish or new tradition during the holidays. Or if your hosting, throw in some healthy alternatives. See if anyone notices the Christmas Eve dinner is low-carb or the dessert is made with a sugar substitute.
Staying healthy during the holidays shouldn’t be a chore, and it shouldn’t mean missing out on quality time with loved ones. Fitness is a journey, and sometimes the journey requires peanut butter M&Ms and salty ham. Just because you indulge in some holiday treats, or trade in your running shoes for a walk through the neighborhood with Mom, doesn’t mean your journey has been derailed, it just means your taking a much needed detour.
*All stock photos from pexels.com