How To Stay Healthy During the Holidays
by The Lakeview Health Wellness Staff
It’s official. The holidays are here and they are happening fast. While you may be thinking about the inches that you don’t want to gain around your waistline, don’t let the barrage of holidays stress you out. It’s important you know how to stay healthy during the holidays, despite any obstacles that might be in the way.
We understand. Halloween was rough and you might already be regretting how many Peanut Butter Cups you stole from your kid’s candy stash “because you wanted to limit their sugar intake.” On Thanksgiving, you were confronted by a delicious bird with all the fixings followed by any number of pies to devour in one sitting. And then there are the leftovers—don’t even get me started on the leftovers! If that’s not good enough, let’s fill the entire month of December with potential Holiday parties every week, sometimes twice a week, where we can get our yearly fill on cookies and cakes. Sounds like heaven, right? Oh wait, I forgot the point is to stay on track with our health goals and not set a record of how many pieces of pie we can eat in one sitting. (Mine is seven.)
The media suggest that the average weight gain is about 5-10 pounds starting with lingering Halloween treats through New Year’s Day. While not all of this weight will stick around long-term, you may find that number on the scale higher than usual if you don’t do anything about it. So let’s forget about any mistakes we might have made already and get real in this write up on your excuses. You might be surprised to find that they are not as valid as you think they are and you can do better this year.
- There are so many holidays with good food! How can I say no to Grandma’s world-famous lemon pound cake with 5 cups of sugar in one serving?
- Grandma will forgive you if you cut your piece in half. Serving size is going to be key. Fill your small plate with protein-packed foods, healthy vegetables, and a small amount of the things you enjoy. If you want to try multiple sweets, go for it, just take a smaller portion. Sharing with a significant other or a good friend also helps to cut down on the portion size. If you don’t try your boss’ triple fudge cake at the work party, just tell a little white lie that it’s the best you’ve ever had. You may not get the fudge cake, but you will get some brownie points!
- How can I work out regularly when I have to travel for Thanksgiving (or insert holiday) and hit all of the shopping sales? Not to mention I got invited to my second cousin’s best friend’s holiday party and still have to wrap the presents?
- Whoa there sparky! I get it, there’s a lot of things going on this time of year. Not all of it is as important as you think it is though. Want to know what is important? Spending time with friends and family, and your health! The rest is fluff. Just like those Holiday parties are scheduled, so should be your workouts. Be creative — if you need to drop down from 5 times a week to 3 or 4 because of other obligations or perhaps you may need to get up earlier. Maintaining your workout plan will keep you on track of your fitness goals, alleviate the stress of everything you need to get done, and help you stay on track for any New Year’s Resolutions you make.
- It’s 5:00 PM and the sun is already down. By the time I leave work, I just want to go home and sleep. My internal clock is telling me to go to bed.
- Now we’re getting serious on the excuses. Using daylight as an excuse to not workout means you need to sit down and revisit why you started working out in the first place. If you know you’re not going to get off the couch once you make it home, pack a gym bag and go straight from work. Don’t have time to go to a gym? There are plenty of YouTube videos and workout DVDs that you can do in your living room. Feel like you’re neglecting your family when you’re working out? Have them join in! Go for a family walk in the evenings after dinner or play a game of tag in the backyard. You will always find excuses for why you can’t work out; it’s up to you to push past them and make your health a priority.
We get it. The holidays are a very stressful time for many people because so much is going on. Our best advice is the same advice we always give, moderation and control will be the key to staying on track. Weight gain will happen this time of year. Is it detrimental? No, but it can be if you let it add up year after year. Plan your workout ahead of time and stick to it. Find a friend or family member that will hold you accountable. Also, make sure you like our Lakeview Health Wellness Center Facebook page where we provide weekly workouts and motivation. Willpower and commitment are the top two gifts you can give yourself during the holiday season, so wrap them up nice, stick a bow on it, and enjoy the season!