How many of you look at the holidays as a time where no progress is going to be made in terms of your health or your fitness goals?
Well, we've got some good news: it doesn't have to be like that.
There are healthy ways to deal with holiday stress and still work towards your goals—you just can't have an all-or-nothing mentality.
What you need to realize is that the holiday food is really just two big dinners over the span of two months. It's really no different from indulging in a three-course restaurant meal or going to a party. But due to everything that can pile up at home or at work (leftovers, office parties, treats), so many people fall into the trap of thinking, "I just can't be healthy at all."
With that in mind, here are three things we want you to try, to help you deal with stress during the holiday season in a healthy and productive way:
1. Have A Quick Morning Routine
A quick morning routine will set the right tone for your entire day. This could be something as simple as drinking a full glass of water right when you wake up, setting an intention, going for a morning walk, or writing down three goals that you want to achieve by the end of the day.
These small actions can be done at home, on vacation, or during the holiday break. Whatever you decide to make a priority, just make sure you're doing it every day so you can start each day off on the right foot.
2. Aim For One Healthy Meal A Day
Yes, this includes on Thanksgiving and Christmas—or any other day where you know you'll be eating a big holiday meal.
The goal should never be to starve yourself all day so you can eat as much as you want at dinner.
On days you do have a big holiday lunch or dinner, try to have at least a healthy, wholesome breakfast, and then get right back on track the following day with three healthy meals. No "making up for" any overeating.
On normal days when you're just going to work and not participating in any of the festivities of the holiday season, aim for three healthy, wholesome meals per day. A wholesome meal is one that has a source of protein, a source of healthy fat, and a source of fiber (ideally from non-starchy vegetables).
If you follow that equation, you will have a filling meal that won't cause any sugar crashes or make you hungry shortly after eating it.
3. Schedule In Activity
Our final tip is to schedule in activity as if it were an appointment you cannot miss. We don't mean scheduling in the gym (but that's awesome if you do!). We recommend scheduling in walks with family members or friends, or joining a holiday-themed 5K race. You may also want to participate in a group fitness class, or do a home workout with your family while everyone is home for the holidays.
Any kind of activity you can fit into your schedule, even if it's just an evening walk by yourself, will help you de-stress. Try to write these down in your planner or add it to your Google Calendar, or whatever else you use to organize your day. This will ensure you've set aside time for the activity, so you're less likely to miss it.
These three tips will help you deal with stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season. Try your best to follow them so you can ditch the guilt!
Everyone should be able to enjoy the holidays without worrying about the scale or how their clothes will fit. If you don't stress about it, or have an all-or-nothing mentality, and you stay on track on the days that you can, you will be fine. That is the #1 thing to remember!
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Note: Individuals should always speak to their physician before making any significant dietary or lifestyle changes.
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