With Thanksgiving in a few weeks, we’re getting into the full swing of the holiday season. You may already have party invitations in the mail and travel plans on the calendar. Do you feel a bit worried about getting it all done while managing to stay fit and still enjoying the special occasions that come only once a year?
It’s definitely possible to have a healthy holiday season without having to deprive yourself of goodies and special treats. Here are a few guidelines to help get you through:
- Schedule your workouts just like you would dental or hair appointments — yes it’s that important! Get to bed on time so you can wake up early to exercise or dedicate part of your lunch break to a quick workout. Exercise sessions don’t have to span an hour. Just 15 to 20 minutes of heart-pumping activity is all you need to boost metabolism, mood and energy levels for the day. Invest in a portable fitness kit so you can strength train on super busy days or when traveling to your holiday destinations.
- Start an exercise challenge at the office. A little friendly competition is always motivating! Or, create a challenge at home with your family. Keep track of everyone’s physical activity on a calendar, marking down what was done and time spent. Make the prize something worth winning, such as a gift card for the mall or the privilege of skipping household chores for a whole week.
Practice mindful eating
- Remember that it is healthy to enjoy your grandmother’s mashed potatoes or your mom’s famous pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Enjoy it fully on that particular day, then eat something healthier and lighter, with veggies and lean protein, for your next meal.
- Make a habit to eat mindfully. Do you really taste your favorite pumpkin pie while you’re watching the game or parade, or does it barely register? When we eat without paying attention, we lose out on the joys of the experience. Later, cravings may hit because we weren’t fully satisfied the first time around. Practice mindful eating and enjoying food by eating in a calm environment, maybe with a relaxing candle lit, the TV turned off and not standing in the kitchen (one of my old habits!).
- In addition to providing energy, eating healthy foods will help you maintain weight and keep your blood sugar levels stable (which supports improved mood, as low blood sugar can spike short tempers).
- Many of my clients are busy and on the go, especially during the holiday season. I help create realistic plans, often with a single jump start session to help them stick with workouts, create healthy meals and talk about mindful eating and enjoying once-a-year delicacies without overdoing it, feeling guilty and experiencing unwanted weight gain and energy dips.
Do you have a favorite mindful tip for the holidays? Please share in the comments below.