During the holidays, things can get pretty chaotic. Between work, shopping and running from one-holiday gathering to the next, you may sacrifice your health to fit in all your fun activities. Unfortunately, it’s also a time for overindulging, weight gain and even illness. Overindulging on sugary cocktails, holiday desserts or sugar-heavy side dishes can lead to weight gain, depression and more.
Don’t worry! There are some pretty simple ways to enjoy the holidays while putting your health first. Follow these simple tips for living and eating healthy this holiday season:
Think Before You Eat.
Fatty foods are a significant theme for the holidays. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, there are several opportunities to overindulge. During the holidays, there are unhealthy snacks such as cookies, cakes and other sugary and carb-heavy goodies everywhere you turn. When treats are easy to access, you’re more likely to snack unnecessarily. Instead, pack healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit and veggies to help avoid unhealthy snacking. Another big one is overeating at holiday functions, which can contribute to weight gain, so go easy on the appetizers, meats and desserts and leave room for healthier choices. Fill half your plate with veggies and drink plenty of water, which will help with digestion. Finally, don’t force yourself to eat everything, but choose what you enjoy the most. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to overindulge — moderation is vital.
Finding time to exercise — especially during the holidays — is not always easy, especially with single-digit temperatures outside. To stay motivated, try to plan your workout regimen around your holiday schedule. If you don’t have time to do a 30-minute workout, do a 15-minute workout instead. Split your physical activities into shorter, more manageable times that fit better into your schedule. For example, if you don’t have time to hit the gym, workout in the comfort of your home with apps such as Nike Training Club, which features free workouts from world-class Nike Master Trainers in every exercise. No matter how you do it, try not to stop moving around the holidays — exercise helps relieve holiday stress, weight gain and reduces cancer-related risks.
Think Before You Drink.
Who doesn’t love a fun holiday party? But, usually, it comes with lots of alcohol. The holidays are the perfect occasion to celebrate with a holiday-inspired cocktail or a glass of wine with family and friends. However, drinking in excess, even if it’s only once in a while, can cause severe damage. The adverse effects of alcohol can affect the entire body! Not only does alcohol impair your judgment, but it can cause excessive liver damage, heart problems and even cancer. To reduce your lifetime risk of cancer, men should not consume more than two drinks per day, and women should not consume more than three drinks per week. Again, drink plenty of water, and remember, moderation is key!
Even with all the joy the holidays can bring, it can also be very stressful for most people with family, friends and professional obligations filling up your calendar. The holidays should be fun, not stressful! It’s essential to find ways to lower your stress as much as you can. Most importantly, take care of yourself. The holiday period is the perfect time to sleep in and enjoy some alone time. Finally, read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand or just lounge around in your PJs, on your couch and/or catch up on your favorite TV shows.
Victoria Beaty is the co-founder of Be Well Indy, a hyperlocal and digital destination devoted to covering the health and wellness scene in Indianapolis through a mix of original and user-generated content.