Have you ever found yourself stuck on the holiday health rollercoaster? The days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can become a time when we forget about eating healthy and exercising. We instead anticipate doing better when the New Year arrives. Here at PFC, we recommend getting off the rollercoaster and focus on maintaining through the Holidays. Remember, this is a lifestyle, not a quick fix or fad diet. The holiday season can be hard on our health, but it doesn’t have to be! Holidays are going to come every year, so it is important to learn to incorporate our regular healthy activities into our holiday lifestyle.
As you know, our three pillars of health that we focus on at PFC are THINK, EAT, MOVE. We want to be able to think better, which will help us eat better, which will help us move better! In order to take a healthy approach this holiday season, we have put together some of our favorite tips from each department to help you have success.
1. Start a gratitude journal.
This time of year it’s easy to get bogged down with STUFF. The focus turns to buy buy buy, want want want, and the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming. We suggest stepping back and taking time to turn on the gratitude switch. There are so many benefits to showing gratitude. Gratitude can help improve relationships, get rid of toxic emotions, improve our physical health, enhance empathy and patience, improve sleep, increase self-esteem, and reduce stress.
Try writing 5 things you are grateful for first thing in the morning to start your day, or last thing before you go to bed to finish off your day, or both!
2. Don’t forget to take time for yourself
This is especially crucial when our schedules get busy. Don’t let down time and meditation go to the wayside when your schedule fills up. Dedicate at least 5 minutes of meditation and/or down time each day to reset and refresh your mind.
Download a guided meditation app on your phone and have it remind you each day to use it. Maybe your down time comes in the form of reading a favorite book, going for a walk in nature, taking a warm bubble bath, something to help you feel grounded and refreshed. Whatever it is, make it a priority!
3. Remember moderation. The 80/20 rule
The Holidays are full of sweet treats, delicious drinks, and festive feasts. While we don’t want to deprive ourselves of enjoying holiday food, we also don’t want to derail all our health success. If we indulge every chance we get, it can really add up! We suggest picking a few of your favorites. Something you look forward to that only comes this time of year. Enjoy those treats guilt free once or twice this season, but stick to your 80% plan the rest of the time.
You have Christmas brunch at your grandma’s house every year and she always makes her famous cinnamon rolls. They’re large, so you cut one in half, enjoy every bite of that half, and then get right back on track with your protein, complex carbs, and veggies for your following meals.
4. Portion control
Calories can add up very quickly at a holiday party. Starting off with the drinks and appetizers, then the main course, desserts, and more drinks. You can easily get over 3,000 calories in one night! Remember what your PFC plate looks like. About 4-6 oz of protein, 1/4-1/2 cup of carbohydrates, and half of your plate full of veggies. Try to stick to that as much as you can.
One way to manage this is when you know you’re eating out for a meal, adjust your meal sizes throughout the day to accommodate for the extra calorie intake when eating out. You could also try grabbing the smaller plate so you can’t fill it up as much. When eating out, you could split your meal with a friend or have them box half of it to go; Also, be aware of snacking while you’re cooking, each taste test can add up in calories!
5. Don’t drink your calories
Just because it’s liquid, doesn’t mean it’s calorie free. Some drinks can have more calories than your actual meal! For example, mulled wine can supply approximately 200 calories per 4-ounce glass, an 8-ounce serving of Eggnog supplies 210 calories, and sipping on a Starbucks hot chocolate can add up to a whopping 400 calories!
Stay hydrated throughout the day with lots of water (about half your body weight in fluid ounces). If you are drinking at a restaurant or party, try alternating your drinks with water. If you love the seasonal drinks, try healthier recipes with lower calories (using unsweetened almond milk as your creamer, stevia as a sweetener, etc.) Skip the juices and eat a piece of real fruit instead.
6. Pencil in your workout
Make it part of your schedule! Especially during this busy season, schedule your workouts into your calendar like you schedule in any other appointment. If you can, aim for first thing in the morning. Often times our schedules get busier as the day goes on, and the desire to workout gets smaller and smaller.
Whether you have an actual notebook calendar, or you have your schedule in your phone, take time in the beginning of the week to actually write your workout times down as part of your committed schedule. Set an alarm for yourself and prepare whatever you need to be successful the night before (laying out your gym bag, packing a healthy breakfast, etc). Whether it’s 20 minutes, or an hour, you will feel so much better after!
7. Incorporate movement into your family festivities!
This time of year gets busy with fun family traditions and being together with loved ones. Well, what if we created new, healthy traditions together? This way, you’re creating experiences and memories while creating healthy habits at the same time.
Instead of focusing on together time as sitting and eating, try going for a hike, sledding, bowling, taking a walk around the block after dinner, play dance dance revolution, walk around down town to see the lights, whatever you do, just move! A little bit of movement can go along way for your health!
So there you have it. There is no need to stay on the holiday health rollercoaster that we’ve been on for years. We have the power to change our routine and possibly influence the people around us for the better while doing it. Happy Holiday!!!