THIS IS THE 8th POST IN A NEW SERIES, “KEEPING THE JOY IN YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON”
The holidays are a time for fun and festivities with family and friends. But for many women in midlife, they can also be a time when old temptations rear their heads and healthy habits go out the window. And we know what happens when we stop exercising, make unhealthy nutrition choices, and let our healthy routines slide.
It ain’t pretty, and it can take months to get back what we lost.
If you’re determined to stick to your guns and not let yourself go off the rails, here are five simple tips that will help you stay on track during the holidays.
5 Tips for Staying on Track During the Holidays
1 | plan ahead and create an environment for success
When the holidays roll around, it can be all too easy to slip off track and away from the healthy lifestyle you’ve been cultivating. Staying on track during this hectic season takes some planning but is absolutely doable!
Start by creating an environment for success with simple yet healthy meals and well-thought-out meal prep. There’s no need to start skipping meals because you overindulged at family gatherings or holiday parties
For example, if you usually go grocery shopping on Sundays, make sure to plan ahead so that you have plenty of healthy snacks available – think cut up vegetables or salty crunchy nuts; something that is easy to grab when those mid-afternoon munchies hit.
Look at small things you can change in your meal plans as well – cook a whole roasted chicken for multiple days instead of having a large one-night meal, or pick some interesting crockpot recipes that can get put together easily in the morning before the day’s activities begin.
Take the time to plan out meals that are simple yet still nutritious – focus on eating real foods instead of processed packaged items as much as possible.
For me, staying on track during the holidays also means making sure I don’t keep leftover ‘trigger’ foods in my frig. If I have my famous Russian tea cakes sitting around, for example, it will be almost impossible to keep my little paws off of them. So I give away or freeze leftovers to remove the temptation.
With careful planning and preparation, we can stay on track during the holidays and enjoy our food without regretting it later!
2 | don’t deprive yourself
Tip #2 is all about the 80/20 approach!
Health and nutrition experts suggest that you stay on track with your healthy eating plan during the week, or about 80% of the time; this way, the other 2 days (or however you choose to use your 20%) can serve as a period of rest when it comes to worries about monitoring what you eat.
This approach doesn’t mean that you should binge eat on one day, but rather enjoy those special indulgent holiday foods as part of your meal. This can be a great way to keep motivated and prevent feeling deprived over the holidays.
Besides reminding yourself of the big picture when it comes to adhering to your health goals while enjoying holiday treats, promote balance between healthy foods and special treats throughout the holiday season.
Sticking to this line of thinking will help you enjoy party-filled nights or traditional meals with friends and family without ruining the progress made so far. Be moderate with your choices for no regrets at the end!
3 | stay the course with exercise
The holidays can be an especially difficult time to stay on track, maintain our fitness routine, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With all the parties, events, treats, and other distractions, it’s easy to slip up. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
One of the best ways to keep your motivation and progress going is by continuing to exercise regularly. Sticking to a workout or exercise routine will not only help you stay fit and focused during the holidays but also prepare you for another year of success.
You don’t have to go to the gym, eighter. There are plenty of fun and easy ways to exercise at home too! Whether it’s following an online yoga or cardio class, doing bodyweight exercises at home, following an online exercise routine on YouTube, or taking the stairs in your home instead of the elevator – there are plenty of simple activities you can do indoors during winter months.
I love to walk, and when the weather is cold outside I don’t skip a beat by doing indoor walking workouts. It’s not the same as having the fresh breeze blowing and birds chirping while walking, but it beats going to the gym and I can work out any time I feel like it.
So take this moment to remind yourself that there’s still time and it can still be a very successful holiday season if you keep your focus and stick with a light exercise routine. You may not lose weight during this time, but your weight gain will be minimal to none.
4 | hydration is key
Staying hydrated is important as part of a healthy routine, especially over the holidays when it can be easy to forget.
Drinking water every day helps to support your digestion and flushes out toxins, so be sure to bring a reusable and fill up throughout the day. Make yourself reminder notes about this if you need help remembering.
Start your day with a glass of lemon or lime water to energize yourself and try adding herbs like mint, chamomile, or elderflower – which have many health benefits as well – for extra flavor!
Other simple tips include drinking a cup of joe, making herbal teas, keeping fresh slices of fruits like watermelon or cucumber in your water bottle, or setting an alarm on your phone as another reminder throughout the day.
Did you know that many fruits and veggies are high in water content? That’s another way to keep up with hydration. Some good choices include cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, and spinach.
Fruits to eat for hydration include watermelon, peaches, and oranges.
Hydrating regularly will help keep your energy levels up and sustain you during this busy holiday season – so don’t forget to stay on top of it!
Adding these small changes into your life is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle while managing the demands of everyday life. Making room for activities that provide balance to our lives keeps us feeling happy and healthy as we journey through midlife — including staying hydrated. So let’s get creative in how we keep ourselves hydrated every day and stay motivated this holiday season!
5 | fall back to the fundamentals
The holidays are a special time of year – from the decorations and traditions to reuniting with family and friends. Unfortunately, they can also be a reminder that staying healthy can be hard. If your life starts to feel hectic during this season, plan to rely on the fundamentals to keep you going strong:
- Drink some water,
- Refuel with protein and load up on fruits/veggies,
- Get moving with exercise or just a short walk,
- Finally, don’t forget to get a good night of sleep.
These are simple forms of self-care that you can incorporate into your routine quickly and will minimize stress while sustaining progress toward your life goals. Make sure to keep going even when schedules become hectic – fall back on these few simple tips for success and soon enough things will calm down again!
As empowering as it is to maintain focus on healthy habits throughout the season, remember you don’t have to push yourself too hard after all; it’s okay to enjoy yourself too! That way come January 1st you will enter the new year feeling revitalized and energized instead of weighed down by doing too much.
After all, the synergy between your mind and body will help facilitate your ideal state of balance during this holiday season and beyond.
Final Thoughts: Staying on Track During the Holidays
This isn’t a time to strive to be perfect in all of our choices, but we do want to be smart, my friend. After all, what are the holidays all about? Spending time with those we love and making lasting memories, not perfection in everything we do.
If the workout routine is a little light, that’s okay. Just keep your body moving every day. There’s no need to feel guilty about overindulging if you’ve taken good care of yourself in the days preceding.
Make time to plan ahead, make wise choices, keep from going totally off the rails with the party foods, and your new year’s resolutions may be just a little kinder, gentler, and achievable going forward.
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