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Why your healthy mindset shouldn’t be pushed back until your New Year’s Resolution: tips for healthy holiday eating.

November through December can be a tough time of year to stick to your health goals. With the holidays in full swing, how are you doing on your health journey? It can be difficult to have a healthy holiday when parties and delicious treats are everywhere.

I know I’m constantly struggling to say no to all the amazing treats available – particularly at the office.

A lot of times people use the holidays as an excuse to eat and drink more and workout less. They do things in excess and veer off their healthy routine, because they will “do better in January.”

I’ve used that excuse before and still struggle to avoid using it every year!

But what if you decided to stick to your health goals now? Before January 1st you could already be accomplishing those health resolutions by practicing healthy holiday eating.

Staying The Course With Healthy Living

It is easy to overeat when you are going to holiday parties, shopping or making hot chocolate as you watch Christmas movies with loved ones. And I get it. Part of the fun is indulging in those treats.

However, think about how you feel after the holidays. When all is said and done, when the cookies are all eaten, the eggnog is gone and the presents opened—will you regret having overindulged? Will you feel guilty for having given up on your health journey just before the end of the year?

man running in snow

If yes, then make a change. Alter your mindset and use your willpower to keep eating healthy during the holidays to have a healthy holiday.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to completely cut out all delicious foods and stop going to those parties. But it means being aware of your consumption. For me, the most difficult part is having the willpower not to overeat. Once I try a delicious treat, I want more. Mindful eating and moderation is key when it comes to the holidays.

Over the next week, you will be tested. Holidays can be detrimental on your willpower and your mental and physical health. But I am here to help.

Feel Good by Eating Healthy During the Holidays

  • Moderate your food intake. Eat the foods you love in moderation. Try following the “MyPlate” method to keep your meal balanced with the right amount of protein, veggies, fruit, grains and fats. This will keep you on track, while allowing you to enjoy some of your favorite holiday meals.
  • Go for long walks. This time of year can be pretty cold. But that’s what makes these brisk walks feel so great. Get out and walk the neighborhood for some fresh air. If you have a dog, take them as your companion, or get a friend to join you.
  • Eat slowly, chew your food, take drinks of water between bites. The brain takes about 20 minutes to recognize that you are full. If you eat too much too fast you will feel awful. Eating slowly will also help you enjoy and take part in the conversation around you.
  • Get your friends and family involved. Challenge your loved ones to make and eat healthy dishes with you. If you go to a holiday party, make sure to have a partner in crime. Keep each other accountable as you make your way through the buffet or check out the dessert table.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does water keep you hydrated and feeling great, but it will also fill you up. This will also help you avoid overeating. Staying hydrated during the holidays is key. When people are busy, and let’s face it the holidays are busy, they forget to drink water. Make sure to bring a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. The holidays can be pretty difficult when it comes to limiting alcohol, From friend gatherings to work parties, the social commitments make way for a lot of drinking. With wine, beer and cocktails at most events, make sure to be cognizant of how much you are drinking. Start with one glass and sip slowly. Drink water throughout the night. If you do drink at a holiday event, make sure to get a ride from a sober friend or Uber or Lyft home. It is also okay to skip the alcohol altogether. Don’t feel pressured to drink or over-consume.
  • Schedule out your workouts. Exercise is key during the holidays. If you have a routine throughout December, then you are more likely to stick with it through your resolution. Also, the holidays are busy. Make sure to schedule when you will workout, sign up for a class or plan a specific time you will go for that run or workout at home. By following a plan, you are more likely to stick to it and get your exercise in.
  • Prep your meals for the week or order through a meal delivery service. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to following a healthy diet, is staying the course. Especially when it is on you to find or cook the proper food. Meal prepping for the week is a great way to stay on track. And if you don’t have the time or don’t like to cook, then sign up for a meal delivery program. It is a great way to try new foods and eat within your specified diet.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand. Having snacks with you at all times is key when it comes to sticking to your healthy eating goals. When you are out shopping and you hit a wall of hunger, don’t head straight for the food court or vending machines, have a healthy snack on hand and ready to go. Carry a bag of keto beef jerky, sliced veggies, peanuts or string cheese. Holidays parties are also a great place to have a snack with you. If the food is taking a while or if there aren’t a lot of healthy options, a healthy snack will be a great alternative.
  • Don’t focus on your weight, focus on how you feel. Over the holidays, the best way to measure your success is not by weight, but by how you are feeling. Do you feel sluggish, bloated, tired or always full? Or are you energized and feeling good? Your mental and physical well being is important to keep track of throughout the month.
  • Get Plenty of Sleep. With shorter days and busy nights, make sure you are getting enough sleep. During this time of year, you might need more sleep than normal. And that is okay, sleep is vital for your health. A good night’s rest improves your overall mental health, strengthens your immune system, lowers your body fat and increases your lean muscle mass.
  • Don’t over schedule yourself. December seems to fly by every year and there is always something to do. Parties to go to, holiday events to attend, presents to buy.  When there is too much going on, people tend to put their health goals on the back burner. Make sure you are taking time for yourself. If you are feeling overbooked, then take a break. Schedule time to read, meditate or journal. Or just stay in and watch a movie.
  • This time of year it is all about the sweets. Enjoy the desserts, but don’t overdo it. If there are a plethora of options, take a small helping of each or just grab your favorite. Or better yet, learn how to make a healthy alternative to your favorite dessert. There a so many resources and healthy dessert recipes online.

A Healthy Holiday Mindset

The best way to remain steadfast this holiday—remember that it is not all or nothing – whether you are going to a party or curling up on the couch with a movie, keep this mindset: You can indulge, just don’t overdo it.

If you want a cookie, have a cookie, but eat just one. If you can’t workout out as much as you’d like, it is okay, get in movement where and when you can. Don’t let one treat or a missed workout throw off your routine and healthy goal. Stay the course and do what feels best for your mental and physical health.

Stay accountable to yourself this holiday season: commit to eating healthy during the holidays and start the new year off right. Have a happy healthy holiday!

What have you done to stay healthy this holiday season?  I’d love to hear from you and get some ideas for next year.