Strategies for a Healthy Holiday Season

The holidays can be a challenging time to stay healthy. With holiday parties, demands on our time, and treats and desserts everywhere, it can be tempting to give up and wait for that New Years Resolution to get back on track.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can still enjoy your holidays, and even some treats, without having January regrets, by following some simple practices.

Make a Plan

As with anything you’d like to accomplish, it helps to have a plan. What will your plans for staying healthy be this December? Think through what your upcoming week or day will be like and decide, in advance, what you would like to happen in terms of health behaviors. By making a deliberate plan, you are more likely to choose healthy and feel better.

What will your healthy holiday plan be this year?

Keep Moving

For your overall health, and in particular if you have back pain, it is essential that you find ways to keep moving throughout the holiday season. While you may not be able to keep up your normal routines, you may be able to find ways to fit movement into your holidays.

Ask yourself, can you:

  • Walk or ride a bicycle to work? Can you walk part of the way?
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator?
  • Find ways to take mini fitness breaks and do three callisthenic exercises, such as push-ups, lunges and squats?
  • Awaken 10 minutes early to begin each day with a refreshing morning yoga routine?
  • Take a 20- or 30-minute walk each day? This could be around your neighborhood, a mid-day walk, or even two or three 10-minute walks around your block or building.

What will you do this holiday season to be sure that movement is a part of each day?

Give yourself a foundation of balanced nutrition.

It is easy to let nutritional habits slip any time of the year, and each year we hear reports of pounds gained during the holiday season. But, it doesn’t have to be. This year, instead of passively letting nutritional habits slide, focus on providing yourself a solid foundation of balanced nutrition by following these three simple tips.

  • Think of each meal as a protein, a complex carbohydrate, and a fruit and/or vegetable. If you stick with this basic formula, it won’t matter as much if you indulge in a cookie here or an eggnog there.
  • Eat three healthy meals or four-to-six smaller meals, whichever works best for you. Schedules and individual preferences can help determine which approach is best for you. Just try not to have more than three full meals, or get into the habit of all-day grazing.
  • Save your splurges until after a meal. You will have less spiking – followed by a sudden drop – of blood sugar and brain chemicals such as serotonin and beta-endorphin if you consume sweets or simple carbs after a balanced meal.

You could try the 90/10 rule, which is simply to consume 90% of your calories as healthy food choices, with 10% splurge foods. This way you still get to enjoy and be a part of the holiday treats, while still feeling good and maintaining your weight.

Make time for self-care

Between work, family responsibilities and the additional demands of the holidays, meeting your own needs can take a back seat. But it is even more important this time of year to put self-care at the top of your to-do list.

Even the little things can make a difference. Take a few minutes today to think about any self-care practices that you would enjoy during the holidays. Maybe it’s taking ten minutes in the morning to relax with a cup of tea, going for a walk with a friend whose company you enjoy, or scheduling a much-needed massage.

Some positive aspects of self-care are that there are no rules or criteria to meet, it can take as little as 5 minutes a day, and can vary or be a consistent routine. You get to decide what works best for you.

And when you take care of yourself, you are not only benefitting personally, you will also be able to help others more.

What self-care activities will you enjoy in the next week?

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Copyright ©2015-present, Mary A. Williams/Corporate Health Alliance, LLC/BACKCoach™. All rights reserved.

 

Before setting New Years Resolutions, begin by taking a look back

calendar

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

– Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

As another year comes to a close, many of us look forward and set New Years Resolutions. Before you do, may I suggest that you begin by taking a look back?

Look back upon the last year, and ask yourself some questions. What went well last year? What did you do that you enjoyed, that you found yourself looking forward to? And what did you put up with? What did you dread?

What do you want to have more of in your life, and what do you want to have less of? (more…)

BACKCoach Healthy Holidays Tip – Give yourself a foundation of balanced nutrition.

It is easy to let nutritional habits slip any time of the year, and each year we hear reports of pounds gained during the holiday season. But, it doesn’t have to be. This year, instead of passively letting nutritional habits slide, focus on providing yourself a solid foundation of balanced nutrition by following these three simple tips.

  • Think each meal as a protein, a complex carbohydrate and a fruit and/or a vegetable. If you stick with this basic formula, it won’t matter as much if you indulge in a cookie here or an eggnog there.
  • Eat three healthy meals or four-to-six smaller meals, whichever works best for you. Schedules and individual preferences can help determine which approach is best for you. Just be sure not to go with more than three full meals, or get into the habit of all-day grazing.
  • Save your splurges until after a meal. You will have less spiking – followed by a sudden drop – of blood sugar and brain chemicals such as seratonin and beta endorphin if you consume sweets or simple carbs after a balanced meal.

There’s nothing fancy here, but if you stick with a plan of providing yourself a solid nutritional base and be deliberate about what and when you splurge, you’re less likely to experience holiday weight gain and more likely to enjoy your holidays.