The holidays can be a tough time for those with health and wellness goals. They want to be able to enjoy the gatherings, parties, and festivities, but they also want to stay on track. Believe it or not, staying on track and enjoying the fun are not mutually exclusive. You can do both, and here’s how based on your goals.
Drink More Water
- Start your day with a full glass of water. You can drink it while you wait for coffee to brew or before you eat breakfast.
- Keep a bottle on your desk and determine a “low point” in which you’ll refill it. Don’t let it empty!
- Jazz up your daily water intake with flavors like fresh lemon, lime, ginger, cucumber, or strawberry. You can even switch to sparkling or flavored water or decaf green tea for an extra special drink that still hydrates.
- Add a straw. Wild, we know, but drinking through a straw helps you drink more in less time. Try it out!
- Drink a glass before eating. Commit to drinking a full glass of water prior to eating a meal, and you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up. Another benefit, thirst can sometimes disguise itself as hunger, so drinking a half glass (or more) before snacking can help you be more mindful, too.
- Drink a glass between alcoholic beverages. If you must drink alcohol, alternate between drinks and water. This will help you control the level of inebriation (and not be that family member) as well as help you reach your daily water intake goals.
- Swap water for your go-to drink like sodas, juices, etc. Start small, just one substitution a day. Then work your way up until those kinds of drinks are no longer what you desire. Don’t worry, you can still have them as a little treat, but water should be your main beverage choice.
- Drink a full glass with every medication or supplement dose. This may seem like overkill, but if you’re having trouble finding the ounces throughout the day, it can be a helpful solution. This includes EyePromise® vitamins!
- Seek foods with a higher water content like tomatoes, celery, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, spinach, Brussel sprouts, apples, oranges, or, of course, watermelon.
- Eat beforehand. We know this goes against everything we’ve been taught, but eating a little something before heading to a gathering can help you curb your cravings. Choose a snack like apples and peanut butter or turkey and cheese on pita to deliver carbs, protein, and fats.
- Choose a place to hang out away from the food or snacks. Standing right by the chip spread makes it easy to eat a full bowl before you know it. Bring mints or gum to occupy yourself if need be.
- Avoid alcohol if possible. Alcoholic drinks are often empty calories, and they can increase feelings of hunger, especially when drank on an empty stomach. If you want to drink, try not to drink on an empty stomach and opt for something a little healthier than eggnog (think red wine).
- Be picky. That’s right, we’re telling you to be a little stingy with your meal selection. If you’re trying to eat healthier, choose items that support that goal. However, don’t deprive yourself of your favorites; be conscious of what you’re taking and how much. Start small – you can always get more!
- Start with veggies. When you’re filling your plate, make sure that veggies take up a majority of the space, and eat those first.
- Eat slow. It can be tempting to scarf down the food you’ve just plated, but eating fast can cause you to eat as much as twice what your body actually needs! Slower eating can help you eat less and enjoy more, so take time between bites and chat with family members or take a drink of water.
- Take a pause before taking seconds. It can take time for your stomach and brain to communicate the “I’m full” feeling. Wait 10 minutes or so before taking seconds. Hint: maybe drink a glass of water.
- Plan for dessert. If you know you’re going to grab a piece of pumpkin pie, reduce the amount of carbs on your dinner plate. Maybe avoid mashed potatoes and that extra roll.
- Take a walk with family. Taking a walk either before or after the big meal can help kick those cravings, jumpstart your metabolism, and boost overall mood.
- Volunteer to go get additional drinks from the basement/garage refrigerator. Any little excuse to add a few steps into your day can help you reach your daily activity goals.
- Offer to carry heavy holiday dishes or boxes of decorations. Use those muscles for good! Again, any excuse to get a little bit of work into your holiday season is a step in the right direction.
- Run a holiday 5K. Maybe your cousins who are in town would like to join you or maybe this is your only alone time, but committing to a holiday race can help make sure you’re meeting your exercise goals.
- Turn on the tunes and have a dance party. Get the whole family involved! Any additional movement helps!
- Try yoga as a stress reliever and exercise. The holidays can be a stressful time, so finding healthy ways to relieve that stress or anxiety is important. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and yoga has been demonstrated to reduce stress as a low-impact option.
You can still enjoy the holidays and not take 2 steps back with your health goals. Try some of these suggestions and let us know how they work for you! Have additional holiday tips? Comment them below!