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Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Healthy Holidays - Nuts & Dried FruitsThe holidays are near, and that means temptations are everywhere – pumpkin pie, eggnog, holiday cookies…oh my! On average, a person will gain around seven pounds during the holidays due to overeating and less exercise. As crazy as it sounds, it is possible be healthy this holiday season, while still indulging in some of your favorite holiday goodies.

Livestrong offers the following tips to enjoy the holidays to the fullest, while not looking your fullest!

  • Maintain Your Routine: Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. Do you normally work out most days of the week? Be sure to fit in your regular work out before heading over to Grandma’s for dinner. Try adding daily exercise on your calendar, just like you would when you are scheduling all of your holiday get-togethers. Do you normally eat healthier meals while at home? If the holiday season brings an unhealthy change to your meal plans, try to eat most of your meals at home and make them healthy ones. 
  • Limit Exposure to Holiday Foods: Holiday food tables are dangerous. Physically stay away from the table to avoid grazing too much of the sweet stuff.  Keep a bottle of water and healthy snack nearby to keep you full between meals. Limit your alcohol consumption as well – there are many extra calories and fat in various alcoholic drinks that are just empty calories.
  • Eat Before Parties: Before heading out the door to your holiday gathering, eat a healthy meal or snack.  A nutritious choice such as fruit or a handful of walnuts may help you eat more responsibly at the party. Drinking water prior to eating may also help you feel fuller, so you’ll indulge less.
  • Choose Your Favorites: Take a good look at your food choices before loading your plate. Fill up your plate with the healthier choices, and eat small portions of your favorite holiday foods so you don’t feel deprived.
  • Set a Good Example: If you make a conscious effort to set a good example to those around you, you can help keep your own eating habits on track. Bring a dish to pass to the holiday party and make it a healthier one, such as fruit salad. You may even suggest a walk around the block after the meal or a game of football to get active after a filling meal!
  • Be Realistic: Nobody is perfect. Indulging in your favorite holiday foods is okay, if eaten in moderation. Relax and enjoy time with family and friends. Keep reasonable expectations for yourself. If you fall off the wagon during the holidays, be sure to get back to a healthy routine as soon as possible. Allow yourself a cheat day on that holiday, but get back on track the very next day.

Faith Technologies coordinates an annual wellness program called Healthy Holidays that runs from Thanksgiving until after the Super Bowl. It is designed to help employees and spouses maintain or lose weight during the course of those tough months by encouraging healthy eating habits and activity levels. Last year 85% of all participants either maintained or lost weight. We had a total of 351 pounds lost among our 85 participants! 

I will admit – it’s not easy to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle during the holidays. Keep your good intentions at the forefront of your mind, and think about the long-term consequences of all those extra helpings or lack of exercise. Those seven pounds (or more) can sneak up quickly, and they aren’t as easy to take off as they were to put on!