With the holidays in full swing, it's finally time for delicious feasts and celebrations with family, friends, and loved ones.
It's also the time of year that we tend to indulge a bit more than usual in festive favorites like eggnog, honey ham, cookies, cakes, cocktails, and more
For those of us striving to improve our health and decrease inflammation in the body, some of these sugary, creamy, and fried treats can leave us feeling pretty awful once the holiday season is over. Even worse, some of these traditions can inevitably lead to the unwanted weight gain that we all dread this time of year.
If you're able to build a strong foundation between yourself and your healthy habits, you're giving yourself the gift of trust. You want to get to the point where you trust yourself not to overindulge and potentially fall off track of your long-term health goals.
Sometimes all it takes is that one bad habit to resurface (such as overeating or skipping daily movement) in order to throw your body and mind completely off track.
So how can we find a balance between not missing out on the holiday celebrations and staying on track with our healthy habits?
There are actually a lot of small things you can do in order to keep yourself feeling healthy and motivated through your holiday activities. These are things that you might keep in mind any other day of the week, but are harder to remember when holiday cheer takes over.
Remember your healthy lifestyle through the holiday party at work, when you're out to dinner with friends, or pulling honey-baked ham out of the oven for your family. Holiday parties are fun, but feeling like you let yourself down isn't.
Let's get into it then!
HERE ARE 8 EASY WAYS TO KEEP YOUR HEALTH HABITS ON TRACK THIS HOLIDAY SEASON...1. DRINK AS MUCH WATER AS POSSIBLE
Sipping on plenty of water throughout the day, especially before a big meal, will help you feel fuller for longer and decrease unhealthy cravings. Even better, adding health-boosting supplements into your water, like collagen peptides or green powder, can supercharge your hydration and help deliver vital nutrition to aid recovery after the holidays.
Weight loss isn't the end goal of overall wellness, but it is a perk. Staying hydrated is one of those healthy choices that keep the rest of your goals in sync. When you're not hydrated it's harder to stay active, stress-free, and eat healthily.2. EAT IN ADVANCE
Preparing some healthy snacks and eating some nutritious greens, fiber, and healthy fats before a big holiday meal will allow you to eat less and make smarter portion and food choices while celebrating. Healthy eating is obviously very important to your health goals. Keeping your body full of nutritious foods is the first step in maintaining healthy habits.
Like staying hydrated, your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to feel its best. If you can keep your healthy eating habits strong by following your plan at home as much as possible, you may decrease the desire to overindulge and fall off track.
Another helpful way to avoid overeating is to bring your own healthy dish to incorporate into your holiday spread. Even if you're the only one who eats it, it's there for you to stay on track.3. BEWARE OF BOOZE
Holiday celebrating often means lots and lots of booze. But drink in moderation, as intoxication can lead to poorer health choices. When your inhibitions are lower, you might find yourself eating poorly, forgetting your supplements, or too sluggish to do any physical activity.
One or two drinks are a good limit to put into place. One alcoholic drink can help you relax and feel like you're not missing out on quality hangouts. Having a glass of water between drinks can help keep you from overdoing it and will help you stay hydrated so you're not feeling off the next morning.
4. MAKE TIME TO DE-STRESS
We all know what stress can do to your body, mind, and soul. Even if meal prep is done, presents are wrapped, and travel plans are in place, the holidays can still be a stressful time. Especially if you're trying really hard to stay healthy in situations that make it hard to follow your regular routine.
It's important to make time for yourself, even when family is around. If you're feeling like you're slipping away from your long-term goals and your stress is the culprit, take 5 minutes to sit and breathe in a silent space.
When we feel stress coming on it's best to try and manage it right away. The holidays should be relaxing after all!5. GIVE INTO CRAVINGS IN MODERATION
When you completely restrict yourself and feel like you're missing out on all the holiday fun, you're more likely to give in and binge on unhealthy foods. By choosing your splurges mindfully, you can enjoy your favorite foods in moderation.
Moderation is one of the biggest challenges we face during times of celebration. It's also one of the most important aspects of creating a healthy holiday season for yourself.6. RECRUIT A LOVED ONE TO HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE
It's always helpful to have someone you can rely on to keep you in check. Friends and family are great resources for holding you to what you want to achieve. And at the holidays they are by your side!
If your goal is to reach a certain weight, ask your sibling to help you see if you're about to overindulge. If your goal is to run a 5k, ask a friend to train with you through the holidays. Whatever it is you want to do for your health, there's bound to be someone who will be there for you to help you get where you want - especially when it gets tough.7. GET MOVING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
We inevitably move less as the weather gets colder. Finding opportunities to hit the gym or put on a Youtube workout can be fewer and farther between during the holiday season.
Stay healthy this holiday by moving as much as possible. Help out in the kitchen, go for a walk, stretch for 10 minutes each day, etc. Anything you can do to get your blood flowing will help your motivation to stay on track with the rest of your health goals.8. SET REALISTIC GOALS & REMIND YOURSELF WHY
Most of us are way too hard on ourselves, especially when it comes to our health goals. Give yourself some room to enjoy celebrations with family and friends.
When you set realistic goals, all of these tips listed should be second nature. It makes reaching milestones more accessible, and then you get little short-term rewards on your way to your long-term goals.
Reminding yourself why you want to stay healthy through the holidays with your long-term goals in mind will make it easier for you to stay on track.
Remember the SMART way to set goals. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. It's ok if they change along the way, and it's always ok to go back and look at your goals and remember why you want to achieve them.
Healthy habits are hard to build. They can be challenging to keep up with through the holidays, too. So, if you're on a forward path and feeling like you're making progress in your health goals, then you don't want the holiday season to throw you off track.
Most healthy habits are stackable. Meaning, they can all kind of be correlated together. For example, if you stay hydrated, you're more likely to feel like being physically active. If you're physically active, you're more likely to feed yourself nutritious whole foods.
All of these tips can help you reach your health goals whether it's weight gain, joint discomfort, or boosting your immune system. Not only that, but they will help you stay on track with habits you've already built.