How to stay healthy during the holiday season is a real challenge especially for many health-conscious people. I want to stay healthy and I am an advocate for healthy living. But I love the holiday season, I’m sure we all do. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s the most wonderful and jolliest time of the year! It’s a time of celebration with family and friends.
But the holiday season is also a time of festivities, during which people tend to eat more, drink more, sleep less and are usually a little less active. It’s not surprising then that most, if not all people, will gain weight during the holiday season. Even the most disciplined ones may find it difficult to sustain their diet and fitness routines.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have a great time all throughout the holidays without having to break out from your healthy lifestyle. So here are some tips on how to do exactly just that.
1) Stay active.
I know it can be hard to dodge all of life’s obstacles and stay active at any time, but finding the time to exercise during the holidays can be even more of an uphill struggle. You maybe tempted to ditch your work outs as tour days fill up with holiday preparations, parties and errands, but you still need to be active.
Exercise will help you deal with added stress and will also help you manage your weight through number of parties and gatherings you will be attending.
If this time of year seems impossible to fit in your regular work outs, why not try sneaking exercise into your normal daily routine. Exercise wherever and whenever you can. Walk home from work or do some stretching or strength exercises in your living room. Take the stairs and park further away to help you burn more calories. Take a short walk while on a break at work or ride your bike to the store to pick up some items.
You can even make exercise and work outs a family affair by walking around the neighborhood together to look at holiday decorations. You may also want to get the kids involved by organizing contests for them to see who can run the furthest or who can do the most push-ups. Playing hide-and-seek and other games with the kids are easy and fun ways to help the whole family stay active.
Being active has been shown to strengthen your immune system, decrease stress and help keep unwanted weight off.
2) Get plenty of rest and sleep.
The holiday season can be very tiring because of the shopping, gift wrapping and food preparation, which will eventually lead to increased stress and low energy. It can be challenging to clock in enough sleep during the holidays with so many events and parties going on and so many items on your to-do lists so try not to overbook yourself with holiday events and stick to a regular bedtime every night.
Getting enough quality sleep is a key to a healthy lifestyle. The more you lack sleep, the more you stimulate hunger. Lack of sleep will cause an increase in the amount of fat you store and lowers your metabolism.
It’s also important that you take time to relax because it’s not only the body that needs rest but the mind as well. You may want to give yourself at least one day in the next seven days to unplug, make no plans and really rest. Sleep all day or spend the day to read a good book. Your mind and body will thank you.
3) Wash hands frequently.
Keeping hands clean through proper hand hygiene is one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and to prevent the spread of infections especially during the holiday season. Many conditions are spread from one person to another and throughout the entire community.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, especially during eating or touching your eyes and nose and after using the rest room. After washing, dry your hands thoroughly with a single-use paper towel and then immediately discard it to avoid cross contamination.
You can also reduce the instance of food poisoning by washing your hands and cooking surfaces. It is advisable to separate raw from ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross contamination.
4) Drink plenty of water.
Do you drink enough water on a daily basis? I believe it’s common knowledge that drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day helps promote weight loss and helps maintain ideal weight. Water also helps boost your immune system, flush out toxins, increase your energy and fuel your work outs.
The cold weather and indulging holiday party drinks can make you forget your need to drink water so you may want to bring a water bottle with you wherever you go to help remind you to stay hydrated. Water also helps keep you full so you won’t get to the holiday party and go for the dessert tray right away.
5) Stock up on healthy foods and snacks.
Make sure you stock up your cupboards and refrigerator with lots of healthy treats. With all the delicious foods available, eating too much may seem inevitable during the holidays. But just because there are more sweet treats, comfort foods and fun holiday drinks, don’t forget about the healthy foods such whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. They are low-calorie foods and good sources of vitamins and minerals that can help your immune system strong.
6) Eat at home before attending holiday parties.
If you are attending a holiday party, eat small healthy snack before you go. It’s often tempting to skip meals in order to make room for food you’ll eat later but always remember the saying, “If you’re starving you may not make the wisest food choices.”
Also, never go grocery shopping while hungry and never attend a holiday party on an empty stomach. You will be less like to over indulge if you’re full of something healthy.
Celebrating the holiday season doesn’t have to mean over-indulgence, you can still enjoy the festivities while choosing to stay healthy. Make a commitment to do everything you can so you don’t add extra pounds and stay healthy without depriving yourself of all the fun.
Wishing you the happiest holidays and a blessed new year ahead!