Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the holiday season has officially begun. As the holiday party invitations arrive in the mail, now is the time to get your plan in place for a healthier holiday season. Don’t fret – it is feasible to enjoy all the festivities and still fit into your slinky black dress for New Year’s! Just follow these tips.
Stay active. Extra plans on the calendar may impact your ability to get to the gym after work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time for your daily 30-60 minutes of exercise. You may not sweat as much, but if you make a few changes to your daily routine you’ll still burn some calories:
- Walk the long way to your office, get off the bus a couple of stops early, or park in the farthest spot from the door at the shopping center.
- Get in a mini workout during commercial breaks or while you’re watching The Mindy Project (or some other light-hearted show). Think about old-school exercises that don’t require any special equipment like jumping jacks, triceps dips, squats, and core work. You can even do some of these when you’re waiting on line to buy holiday gifts!
- Work those arm muscles when cooking by using an old fashioned whisk instead of an electrical mixer and grating by hand instead of using a food processor.
Be choosy. When deciding what party to attend, what to put on your plate at the buffet, or whether to have another glass of wine, consider all your options, weigh the pros and cons, and make mindful choices. Remember, the holiday season lasts a few weeks, so no need to indulge in everything all at once.
Get Enough Zs. Research shows a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. This may be due to a decrease in the regions of the brain that evaluate appetite or maybe it’s as simple as you being too exhausted to think about healthy food choices. Whatever the reason, to make the healthiest decisions, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Make a swap. There are plenty of opportunities to treat yourself over the holidays, so every meal doesn’t have to be the most indulgent. When you don’t have celebration to attend, keep your meals on the lighter side. Instead of a burger and fries for lunch, try a Bacon Cheeseburger Salad with some kale chips. Get your gingerbread latte with skim milk and skip the whipped cream. Try a baked apple for dessert in place of apple pie. With all of these changes you’ll save calories and still enjoy the flavors of the season.
Don’t fall down the rabbit hole. If you do slip up and overdo it at one holiday event remember not all is lost. Get back on track later that day or first thing the next morning and remind yourself what a great job you have been doing to be a little healthier this holiday season. Repeating a mantra like “I know I can” may help reinforce your ability from within.
By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express