The holiday season often means less time to work out and more tasty temptations (buffets, dinner parties, treats) at every turn. It can be challenging to stay fit and healthy, but that doesn’t mean the holidays have to derail your healthy habits. You can maintain your healthy lifestyle while also focusing on your family, friends, and memory making. You simply need to think ahead, be prepared, and make some smart and healthy lifestyle choices.
Make Smart Food and Drink Choices
Start each day with a healthy breakfast. This will set the tone for what you’ll be eating each day and help to control your cravings. Plan to then eat healthy, balanced meals and snacks consisting of lean proteins, small portions of healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates every 3-4 hours throughout your day and avoid eating approximately two hours before bed. By pre-planning your meals and timing your eating, you will minimize your risk of over-eating and reduce the possibility of making unhealthy food choices. Pay attention to portions and choose homemade over canned, processed, or pre-made foods when possible. Have a game plan for potlucks and buffets and don’t feel guilty if you enjoy an indulgent dinner! Instead, focus on moderation and making sure that the surrounding meals are healthy and nutrient-dense. Stay hydrated by increasing your water intake to counteract sodium-heavy holiday dishes and if you are drinking alcoholic beverages, alternate each one with a nonalcoholic, calorie-free drink.
Stick to Your Exercise Routine
As your calendar fills up with parties and events, be sure to make your exercise routine a priority. Since parties and activities are often held in the evenings, mornings may be the best time to try to work out (but the point is to make sure to get the workout completed, not what time of day it is completed). Exercise is important to both your physical and your mental health—especially during the holidays. Strive to be active for at least 150 minutes each week and motivate kids and teens to be active for at least 60 minutes each day.
Don’t Short Yourself on Sleep
Try to stick to your typical sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up as close to the same time as you usually do and focus on getting 6-8 hours of sleep. This can be difficult if you are traveling or you have guests staying in your home, but irregular sleep schedules can lead to a variety of other negative issues such as daytime sleepiness, poor sleep quality, fatigue, and poor eating habits. A lack of sleep can also weaken your immunity and increase your chronic disease risk.
Partner with the Russell Medical Team
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