How To Stay on Track Through the Holidays

November 16, 2022

This time of year is easy to overeat and drink, stay up late, carry more stress, and exercise less.  But the holidays only come one time per year, and you’ll get back on track January 1st, right?

WRONG!  Don’t let the hard work you have put in the last 10+ months go to the wayside.  Remember how long it took you to establish habits and this lifestyle that you now enjoy?  Here are some tips and suggestions on how to stay on track AND enjoy your holidays.

  1. Balance out traditional delicious meals (hello turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes) with healthier options (maybe kale harvest salad instead of green bean casserole?) Fill half your plate with the healthier option and enjoy your traditional indulgences in the other half of your plate.  Going somewhere for big holiday meal?  Bring the healthy side as a dish to pass so you know there is something you can bank on to fill half your plate.
  2. Don’t let the holidays follow you home. It’s fine to enjoy that delicious turkey dinner and slice of pumpkin pie, however, politely decline any invitation to take home left overs.  If you host, plan to have disposable containers that you can send leftovers home with family that came to you.  Have a plan for the day after the holiday – a balanced meal plan and ingredients ready to go, or make a quick stop at the grocery store on your way home to set yourself up for success.
  3. Identify where you are most likely so fall off the wagon and plan ahead of time. Likely to overindulge in beer/wine or other holiday beverages?  Ensure you hydrate with plain water throughout the day and find a special beverage you enjoy (tea, flavored tonic water, kombucha?) and can use in social situations as a substitute or to alternate with your alcoholic beverage of choice.  Tend to stay up too late catching up with family members?  Excuse yourself to get good rest at night and invite them to go on a morning walk the next day to continue catching up (see #4 below!).  Focus on 1 or 2 areas so you don’t completely overwhelm yourself and give up all together.
  4. Keep your body moving! Lace up those tennis shoes and get your walk in before Thanksgiving dinner (many of our communities host a turkey trot run/walk of some kind!).  Invite family/friends to join you and maximize your time with others.  Don’t forget about those exercises that may help you manage your back pain or keep your hips moving just because you get busy and distracted.  Prioritizing your movement will allow you to feel your best to get everything else done and enjoy it while doing so.