Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Physical, emotional and mental well-being are all inextricably linked. It’s important to treat your body as well as you can if you want to be happy, focused and successful when it comes to life, love or anything for that matter!

That’s not saying you have to be a six foot tall model or super svelte ski bunny. The key to an overall sense of peace is that you want to feel like you’re the best you possible – and the series of celebrations between Thanksgiving and the New Year do not have to put you off course.

Celebrate sensibly
While it’s tempting to put off any new regimen until January 1st, by delaying taking care of yourself, you’re not living in the now. And you’re also very likely giving yourself license to take poor care of yourself for the entire month of December – which is silly if you think about it. Celebration is about feeling good in the moment after all. And who can feel good when they’re completely crammed with excess calories and barely able to move by the end of a sit down dinner?

Now are we saying deprive yourself of the holiday favorites you know and love? Of course not! Indulgence is part of the fun of the festivities. But try to temper it. Pick and choose when you will and won’t indulge. Just because you’ve got a party to attend on Friday doesn’t mean you have to give into those cookies in the office break room every day of the week. And while you’re at it, stay on your exercise regime… and if you’re not on one, try to add a little activity to your routine three to four days a week. Even if it’s just a half an hour on a treadmill or an exercise tape in your living room, you’ll temper the effects of when you do decide to indulge and you’ll give off a little natural holiday glow!

Focus on maintenance
Let’s face it: December is not the time to start a diet any more than it’s a license to throw all caution to the wind. But if you are trying to lose weight, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. It would be almost impossible to avoid indulging at least a little at this time of year, and if you expect that, you’re more than likely to let yourself down. Accept that this month is a safe stop on your way to a slimmer you and try to maintain for the month. Unrealistic goals just set you up for a let down – and that’s not what you want. Instead, claim the prize of not gaining any weight this season and know your progress will continue until you reach your goal!

Eat a healthy snack before a party
This can be your biggest savior all season. When you starve yourself in anticipation of a party you set yourself up to overindulge. But if you’re not absolutely famished when you arrive at the festivities, you’re less likely to spend your time grazing and more likely to mingle. A few tasty treats will do you absolutely no harm. But an entire plate of hors d’oeuvres washed down with six drinks, two cookies and a brownie will not only leave you feeling sick, but sick of yourself!

When cooking, opt for reduced fat options
You may be saying “what’s the point?” but with today’s healthy food options, there is no reason to go full fat when you’re in the kitchen. Who can tell the difference between whole and 2% milk in mashed potatoes or egg substitutes and whole eggs in a cake. And if they can tell the difference, does it mean the lighter option isn’t still really good? Of course not!

Keep in mind, you don’t have to choose the fat free option to make a difference in what you’re eating. A reduced fat or calorie option will cut your intake without cutting taste. Just remember that using lighter ingredients is not license to eat three times the food. Keep your portion sizes small and you’ll really benefit from the difference.

Maintain your perspective!
Just because you overdo it for a day, doesn’t mean you’ve ruined your overall plan/regiment/diet. Allow yourself the simple truth that it’s okay to eat too much once in a while. The important part is not to let it get you down or start you on a trajectory of going overboard at the table (or throughout the day)! Try to keep in mind that while food is a big part of the season, it doesn’t need to be your focus. The holidays are about enjoying the people who mean something to you and celebrating life, along with whatever it is you believe in.

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