10 Tips for Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

December 15, 2015, by Casey Rooney

The holidays...a time of joy, gratitude, sharing..and lots of eating and drinking! Am I right?? Not exactly a time when words like "healthy" or "exercise" come into our vocabularies. It's more like this:


I am ALL for Eat, Drink and Be Merry this time of year! However, I also don't like to feel terrible come January 1st and feel like I have to play catch up at the gym with the other 4 zillion people there! Here my 10 tips on how you can stay healthy this holiday season ~


1. Consistency with Exercise: This might be a no-brainier but the holidays are NOT a time to throw your exercise routine out the window simply because "it's the holidays." Consistency with exercise is KEY for several reasons. First--it helps balance out the extra calories you will undoubtedly consume! Also, exercise is also a huge stress reliever and I don't know about you, but the holidays aren't exactly stress-free around my house!!

If you aren't currently doing any exercise don't use the excuse that you'll "wait until the new year." Start NOW!! Get a jump start and get ahead instead of feeling so far behind come January 1st. It can be as simple as committing to a walk around the block, dusting off the treadmill that you vow to pull out January 1st, a workout video or a quick 7 minute workout (Google "7 Minute Workout"). ANYTHING to get your body moving and your endorphins released will help you through the holidays in more ways than one!


2. Stay Hydrated: Did you know the recommended amount of water to drink is HALF your body weight in ounces? So if you are 150 lbs, that means you need 75 oz, or roughly six 12 oz bottles of water each day. Water helps with so many things, but one thing it really help with is controlling the amount you eat and how full you feel. I never used to drink water with meals but now that I do, I find myself wanting LESS food!


3. Your Plate: When you eat a large meal, try to balance your plate so it's completely overloaded with fats and carbs. Here's a basic rule of thumb you can follow for a holiday meal ~

* 2 Proteins=the size of your palm (ham, turkey, steak, etc)
* 2 Carbs=what would fit in your cupped hand (those creamy mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes and all the yummy starchy goodness!)
* 2-4 Veggies/Fruits=the size of your fist (hopefully there are veggie options at your holiday table! Salad, green beans, brussel sprouts, etc.)



4. Have a Plan: This may be the most important one of all! You MUST plan your meals ahead. If you don't, you will end up hungry (HANGRY!) and frantic which will 100% of the time lead to poor food choices. Been there, done that!! I have been planning my meals for years and it literally takes me less than 15-20 minutes on a weekend. It 100% sets me up for success the next week!


5. SNACK!!! When you plan your meals, plan healthy snacks too! Have them READY and AVAILABLE when those temptations creep up!! Here are some ideas of healthy snacks that are packable and aren't full of empty calories!


6. Avoid Temptation: If you work in an office or at a school like I do, the break room is my arch nemesis during this time of year! Cookies, candy, doughnuts are EVERYWHERE in the break room. I know I'm a sucker for a piece of See's Candy and a doughnut or two, so I just pack my healthy snack and STAY OUT! That way I don't have to see it or think about what I am missing! If you're at home, same thing--stash junk out of sight (no little candy dishes all around the house!) or better yet, give it away! You can't eat what's not around.


7. Gifts other than baking: A simple "i'm thinking of you" gift such as nail polish with a personalized tag, a DIY picture frame or a decorated mug or mason jars filled with cookie baking ingredients are all simple ways to say "Happy Holidays!" without sticking more cookies or fudge in front of someone...well, in front of US because if you bake them, you know you have try them...just to make sure they're good :)




8. The Ten Minute Rule: I LOVE to eat. Make no mistake about it! On Thanksgiving, I am typically the first one to get up for seconds of mashed potatoes and whatever other starch is left! This Thanksgiving though, I did things a little differently. I drank lots of water with my meal (#2 above!) and after I was done, I just sat and waited for 10 minutes. I enjoyed my glass of wine and just sat at the table and chatted instead of immediately rushing for a 2nd plate. IT WORKED!! After 10 minutes, I found myself just perfectly full (with a little room left for dessert!!) and I didn't need to get up for more food. Afterwards I felt AWESOME, not bloated and stuffed like I used to! You learn something new every day!! :)


9. Pre-Eat for Holiday Gatherings: It's a given that there is delicious food everywhere at holiday gatherings, and pretty much none of it is healthy! There is no avoiding it, but I have found it helpful to eat a decent meal before I leave for a party. Then you are able to indulge in SOME things, but hopefully won't have the appetite to go crazy on the meatballs and cheese tray!

10. Moderation: Most people fall into two camps around the holidays...ALL or NOTHING ~

* ALL: "I'm not exercising, I'm eating whatever I want, indulging...this is the HOLIDAYS! I want to enjoy!!"
* NOTHING: "No, I can't eat that, it'll ruin my diet. I can't eat dessert. I can't I can't I can't."

These "all or nothing" attitudes aren't healthy! Remember that moderation is key. Have a Christmas cookie, but ONE small one. Have a piece of candy one day, but forgo the workplace sweets the rest of the week. Don't deprive yourself, but practice self control. Listen to Julia!



With that, my friends, I am wishing you all a very, very happy, blessed and healthy holiday season!!!!




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Casey is a busy mom of 3, part time teacher, Sunday School teacher and health and fitness coach. Casey lives near the Napa Valley which keeps her busy finding the latest and greatest red wines. She blogs about fashion, food, fitness and family at A Little Bit of Cheer, she is also a contributor for The Blended Blog.

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