The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t achieve your health goals in the process. Here are 5 surprisingly easy ways you can stay healthy during the holidays.
The holiday season is a time for joy and happiness, but can be a stressful time for many trying to achieve certain health goals. While there may be a never ending supply of delicious foods and treats this time of year, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them and reach your goals too. Here are some easy ways you can keep on track, while still making the most of this joyous time.
One habit that can kickstart your day on a healthy note, is to have a glass of water as soon as you wake up. If you think about it, your body just went about 8 hours without having any water, and starting your day off with some can help to rehydrate, and reach your daily hydration goals easier.
Hydration is key for so many functions in our bodies, and is something we don’t think as much of once the weather gets cooler. Hydration needs vary depending on age, sex, and activity levels, but according to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, adult men need around 15-16 cups of water a day, while women need 11-12 cups a day.
Pro Tip: While your coffee/tea is brewing, drink a 16 ounce glass of water. Keep a water bottle or glass of water/herbal tea by you during the day as a gentle reminder to stay hydrated.
Don’t Skip Meals
It’s not uncommon for many of us to “save up” for a big holiday meal by skipping breakfast or lunch, but this can actually backfire when trying to reach your goals. When we are ravenously hungry, we tend to be less mindful of what and how much we are eating, which makes it much easier to eat past fullness.
Instead of skipping meals, eat something balanced beforehand. Include a source of lean protein, healthy fats, and some fruit or veggies to get a good balance of nutrients. This way, when it comes time for the holiday meal, you can enjoy all of your favorites without overdoing it.
Pro Tip: Don’t want to fill up too much before a holiday meal? Go for a nutrient-rich snack like a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts, cut up veggies and hummus, or a piece of whole grain toast with sliced avocado.
The amounts of indulgent dishes and holiday desserts available during this time can be overwhelming at times. Instead of having an all or nothing mindset around these foods, be picky about what you want.
Think about which food you truly couldn’t think about the holiday season without. Maybe it’s your grandma’s homemade fudge, or baking sugar cookies with your kids. Whatever that is for you, focus on fully enjoying that treat this time of year, and focus less on the foods that you have just because they are there. Go into the holidays looking forward to having your special treat. This can make the temptation of all of the other foods less daunting.
Pro Tip: Be intentional about what you enjoy. Instead of enjoying it while watching TV or on your phone, give enjoying your special treat your full attention to truly enjoy and savor the moment.
As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, getting and staying active gets harder as the winter goes on. Instead of abandoning exercise altogether, find a type of daily movement you truly enjoy doing. Staying active is not only helpful for reaching your goals, but is also important for heart health, stress reduction, and overall well-being.
Winter activity may look a little different than the warmer months, but there are still plenty of ways you can stay active and enjoy it this time of year. This can be doing a home workout video, yoga, bundling up for a walk around the neighborhood, or even dancing around your living room. Whatever joyful movement looks like to you, do it!
Pro Tip: Put a reminder on your phone or calendar to be intentional about getting in some movement. It can be a great way to break up your day, and give you a boost of energy.
Last but maybe most importantly is to enjoy the holidays. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in stress and worry during this season, but take a second to remember what this time of year is really about. Be easy on yourself during these times, and remember what is truly important to you. It only comes once a year, so enjoy it.
Pro Tip: Focus on the small, too-easy-not-to-do-it goals you can set for yourself daily. When it comes to achieving and sticking to your health goals, it is the daily habits that make the big difference, rather than the once a year events.
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