The holidays are coming which also means some inevitable weight gain is on its way. Our bodies and health versus the holiday treats create quite the uphill battle.
It seems like you only have two choices when it comes to food and the holidays; one, you choose to just give up on being healthy and hope that you can lose the extra pounds as a part of your New Year's resolution. The second mentality is you deprive yourself of all the treats (and joy of savoring fun holiday food traditions).
However, neither way will leave you happy or satisfied this holiday season. The important thing to remember is balance. It's way easier said than done, but these 10 steps make it a little easier to enjoy the treats you love and lose weight this holiday season.
1. One treat a day
You don't have to go overboard on the treats. One treat a day allows you to still enjoy your favorite holidays goodies, but will help keep your waistline trim. You'll learn to pick your treat carefully and savor the sugar you are getting. Try slowing down your chewing to help you enjoy that holiday brownie a bit longer or enjoy your treat with a friend so you take breaks to talk in between bites.
2. Walk, walk, walk
If you are delivering neighborhood Christmas gifts or you're going out shopping within a mile radius (or so), choose to walk, not drive. Or, carve out time to walk around the neighborhood in between visits from family.
You can also do intervals during your walking to boost your little workout. Try to do a two-to-one rule of normal walking paces to your one pace of speed walking. Feel free to set your pace to be whatever you want. Whether you are speedwalking for two blocks or just one, any exercise you get will be beneficial.
3. Carry your groceries
While you're out shopping, choose to carry your groceries instead of pushing around a cart. Now, if you are getting a ton of food, a cart is still a better idea but if you are just grabbing a couple of things carry it in your arms.
As a bonus, you'll probably grab healthier snacks because you don't want to walk around looking like you only eat unhealthy food, right?
4. Snack more, and eat smaller meals
One of the hard parts of the holidays are the giant meals full of delicious things. To help cope, eat healthy snacks throughout the day to help keep your appetite in control; if you aren't ravenous, you won't stuff yourself full of heavy holiday food.
Thanks to the media (and those catchy "limited edition" labels), we think that because we haven't seen these types of treats for a year and they might go out of stock if we don't eat a ton now. Relax. This isn't the only time you will be able to have dessert. You don't need to eat it all now. There will always be plenty of sugar to enjoy after the holidays.
6. Drink more water
Hunger is easily confused with thirst. If you drink more water, you'll learn to only eat when you are hungry (instead of mindlessly snacking on the treats that are always lying around during the holidays).
7. Sleep 30 minutes more every night
Sometimes getting three extra hours of sleep just isn't possible, but try for 30 minutes - this might mean putting your phone down a little earlier at night so you can squeeze in a little extra sleep.
8. Look up 10 minute workouts to do when you first wake up
Whether it's yoga poses to help you stretch, or a pushup routine to get your blood moving in the morning, a little exercise will help you make good healthy decisions the rest of the day.
9. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Start small if you work on the 22nd floor (like taking the stairs for a couple flights before hopping on the elevatory), but taking the stairs is an easy way to get a little more exercise.
Bonus tip: At lunch, walk up and down a couple of flights to get your blood flowing, take a break to clear your head and to keep the weight off.
10. Be positive
I'm a big believer of the power of positivity. You will be able to do a lot more and see results better if you are positive and love yourself. You deserve to be happy and healthy. Do this because you want a healthier future and ignore anyone who doesn't support your goals.
The holidays don't have to be the death of our health goals; just take a couple of minutes to plan how you are going to be a little more healthy this holiday season.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.