Tis the season to be merry, right? Unless you are not done with your Christmas shopping, you still have more holiday food to make, your schedule is jammed tight, traffic in Atlanta is horrendous and you just realized more family is coming to visit on Christmas day. So merry. This is the time of year when most Atlantans take on their most southern drawl and say in their best Scarlett O’Hara voice [with a loud sigh], “I’ll think about it tomorrow”. Only tomorrow comes early because there is so much to do.
The biggest obstacles to staying healthy during the holidays:
- The food. Everywhere. All the time. Food you don’t usually eat. Food just shows up. Sweets, presents, chocolates, candies, cookies. It is never-ending.
- Time. Your time is stretched to the limit. It seems every minute of the day is filled with activities with no rest time included. Extra time spent in traffic or waiting in lines at stores only makes it worse.
- Parties. Buffets. Alcohol. Enough said.
How can you stay healthy with all this holiday stress?
First, take a deep breath. And another. You can start by focusing on your health, your real health. Not just how you look, but how you feel.
- Get your workouts in. Now is not the time to skip workouts because of lack of time or you are too busy. Tell your Scarlett voice to hush and get to the gym, or get outside. Cut your workouts in half if you need to. If you normally workout for 30 minutes, then workout for 15 minutes. Take your workout to a park or your neighborhood. Take a brisk walk with the dog or run a little bit, anything to get your body moving.
- Eat clean and healthy. Yes, you are going to indulge, but that doesn’t have to be at every meal. Use the 80/20 plan – eat well 80% of the time and 20% treats. This does not mean every meal or every day. Keep your meals healthy by cutting down on portion sizes [at a buffet], having treats but limiting them, and focusing on the people instead of just the food. Chew gum if you need to between meals to keep you from the unhealthy snacks. Or brush your teeth in between meals.
- Learn to say no. Do you absolutely have to go to every party you are invited to? Do you have to drink alcohol at the parties? Do you have to buy everyone you know expensive presents? Start setting boundaries in your life by learning to say no. Find out what truly motivates you and what sets you back. If you know that alcohol dehydrates you or makes you feel so bad the next day, then learn how to avoid it. You can drink water and still have a good time at a party.
The holiday stress is going to be there, but it’s your choice as to how you handle it. You have to go through the holidays regardless, right? It’s your choice whether to go through them healthy or unhealthy. What’s your choice?
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