You asked! How can I be more consistent with healthy habits during the holidays? — Terry in Washington, DC
A: There are so many aspects to the holidays that can throw us off our usually healthy routine. While the basics, like not skipping meals and bringing healthy dishes to holiday parties, are important, there are four tips that apply specifically to this holiday time. Here they are:
Observe holiDAYS, not holiWEEKS: The store decorations might tell you differently, but Thanksgiving didn’t start in mid-October and winter holidays don’t need daily celebrations from October through February. Look at the number of holidays you have coming up and decide on what day you’ll treat yourself to a little extra indulging. That means that maybe the last night of Hanukkah, when your extended family is in town, you top fried latkes with sour cream and have a pumpkin rugelach for dessert, but the nights before you opt for salad, chicken, and a small bowl of soup. If Christmas Eve dinner is the special one for you, have prime rib and a slice of pie with dinner, but stick to lighter options at affairs leading up to Christmas Eve, and the days following.
Learn to say no: This one’s tough but really important. In order to stay consistent with your workouts, do regular grocery shopping, and get enough sleep – you need to have time in your schedule to accomplish these things. Over-scheduling yourself during holidays can happen in a flash, as parties and events pop up quickly. Practice saying no to the events that aren’t your favorite and keep your schedule from becoming too overwhelming.
Combine being social with being healthy: Meet up with a group of friends for tea, or arrange for an after work workout and healthy dinner with a pal. With the holidays being focused on connecting with the people you care about, combine that connection with healthy choices. If you think you’ll have a tough time convincing your cousin and aunt to go for a workout, you might be surprised — so many people are trying to be consistent during the holidays just like you!
Skip the sweats: Wearing fitted clothing during the holidays acts as a good barometer of weight. So many of us gravitate towards baggier, bulkier clothing during the holidays because the weather is colder and it feels cozier. Instead, wear fitted attire as a reminder that your goal is to feel great, not overly stuffed, or nursing a sugar or alcohol hangover.
What are your top tips for sticking with healthy habits over the holidays?