5 Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holidays
By Keisha Davis M.D.
For some it is the most wonderful time of year- the sights, the sounds, time with family and friends, and don't forget the food and drinks! Thanksgiving through December is deemed the time to splurge right before the new year, when you try to erase all of your guilty pleasures away. But what if there was a way for you to enjoy the holidays without feeling the guilt later? There are five ways that you can stay healthy during the holidays.
1. GET A PLAN AND STICK WITH IT
The best way to be prepared is to have a list and a plan. When you go to the grocery store without a list, you may go astray and probably buy things you don't need. This is the same way with your health. Conversely, if you have a plan and rules to follow it's a lot easier to not get caught up.
Set a plan for the week on days that you're going to work out. Also set a plan on days that you're going to go grocery shopping, eat good meals and relax. A combination of all three is what will keep you happy and healthy.
2. BE CAUTIOUS BUT NOT OVERBEARING Now a lot of us love to eat good food and there are some foods that we just feel we can't do without. If you follow the 80/20 rule, (80% of the food you eat is clean and unprocessed and the other 20% may be a little indulging) you may be able to follow your diet plan better than trying to go overboard. Having an 80/20 rule with your dietary intake will guide you to indulge in moderation so you can still eat the things that you like. A similar concept is to categorize your foods into the red, yellow and green zone where most of your foods are whole fruits, vegetables, and legumes (green zone), a few foods are in the yellow/caution zone, and the red zone are foods that you really should not be eating at all. These foods are either triggers to nonstop eating or foods that are so unhealthy you should probably not consume them.
You will notice that the pounds will still come off and also after eating clean you may not want to eat the food that you used to think you loved. Try to stay away from eating too much fast food. If you prepare your food at home you will notice that you're able to control what ingredients go into them and they will taste better as well.
3. FIND NEW TWISTS TO OLD FAVORITES
If anyone loves to watch Food Network you will see that they always have these delicious meals that sometimes leave you salivating and wanting more. We all may love our macaroni and cheese and pies but did you know that there are some healthy alternatives to these foods that may taste just as good if not better? If you are not a gourmet chef, search the local restaurants and health food stores, or markets that may be vegan or use farm to market products. Also search favorite recipes or watch shows were you may find tips on healthy substitutes to your favorite meals. You may not like all of them but you must also might find some that you may stick to you and be able to bring to the next party for everyone to enjoy.
4. GET A PARTNER
Accountability is a must. We all have our moments. That is where an accountability partner comes into play. Both of you can encourage each other as well as give each other advice in times of despair. An accountability partner will give you a pat on the back and cheer you on towards reaching your goal. Accountability partners don’t have to be someone that lives next door. If there's a friend that is trying to change their habits as well you can text each other and send daily messages of encouragement. A virtual coach or trainer is a great resource as well.
5. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN
It is the holidays so enjoy your time with family and friends. Also, why can't you have fun while working out? Dancing burns a lot of calories, as well as other sports. If you live in a cooler climate, you can go outside with the kids and go sledding or run through the snow. Skiing as well burns a lot of calories and it's a lot of fun. If you are in a warmer climate you still can get out to the playground, go caroling, or play soccer or basketball with family and friends. Moving around increases your metabolism but also keeps your mind off of eating when you're not really hungry.
Enjoy the holiday season. Take these top five rules, get your plan together, and be ready to enjoy a happy and healthy life!