Maintaining our healthy, long-developed habits are particularly challenging during the holiday season. Not only do our travel itineraries and busy schedules get in the way of our normal diet and fitness routine, but the constraints of family time and their differing lifestyles can take its toll on us as well. I’ve compiled a list of 6 simple tips that have helped me in navigating the holiday season. It’s important to note that once you decide that you will maintain your healthy lifestyle no matter what, we are to be the adaptable ones, rather than expecting others to adapt around our lifestyle. These steps will help us understand exactly how to adapt our lifestyle within the holiday environment.
#1: Know your holiday schedule ahead of time
As November begins to grace us with her presence, make a calendar of your upcoming events, travel dates, and family time. You will be able to better plan your fitness routine and your meals when you know in advance what’s going on.
#2: Be Adaptable
The holiday season is like no other time of year. It’s the time of year where nature begins her slumber whereas civilization is at it’s busiest! You may have to make changes in your normal fitness schedule to fit the hectic holiday season. Maybe that means getting up a little bit earlier to fit in your time at the gym. Maybe it means going out of your way to find gyms in your areas of travel. Or it could mean prepping a few extra meals through the week for a quick grab and go… Whatever it is, be prepared to make changes to keep maintaining your healthy habits!
#3: Stay Humble
There is a time and place to help your family members eat and live healthier, but truly, during the holiday season is simply not the right time to boast about your lifestyle. Take your time to exercise early in the mornings, before your family arises or notices you’re gone. Quietly eat your diet-approved meals, and only when someone asks, explain why you’ve made these changes. Don’t sacrifice your healthy habits, but also be adaptable and respectful of the people around you.
#4: Stay Hydrated
If your diet allows you to bend the rules and you’re in the clear to have those rich holiday foods, make sure to drink lots of water periodically throughout the day. Ideally, drinking most of your water 10-30 minutes before mealtimes, is the healthiest way to ensure you’re as hydrated as you can be when you eat those salty, starchy meals. Especially if you are consuming alcohol, it is important to stay hydrated so we avoid feeling puffy or hung-over in the mornings – a big deterrent to our motivation to exercise.
#5: Track your calories
Normally, once we get into a routine of a diet that we really enjoy and can maintain, counting calories eventually becomes unnecessary. After awhile, you begin to have an idea of your caloric intake based on experience. However, when we start going out of our normal diet range, and let ourselves have those scrumptious holiday meals, it’s important to be realistic about how much we’re consuming. While there’s no need to fret over a few extra calories consumed, just knowing what is going into your body can help you have better self-control. There are many calorie counting and meal tracking apps out there – find one that works for you!
#6: Share the fruits of your habits with others
While not everyone in our family will get onboard with our “strange” lifestyle, there may be a few people within your family that is on the same or similar page. Invite some of those family members to a few of your morning fitness routines at your home gym, or contribute some of your diet-approved dishes to the holiday meal. Boasting about your lifestyle to a crowd who doesn’t want to hear it, is very different than sharing your lifestyle with those people who want to listen. Be generous in sharing your healthy habits, to those willing to learn and try something new.
I hope these steps will help you navigate the schedules, events, and sticky social situations that inevitably arise during the holiday season. May your holidays be filled with joy, lots of family love and bonding, and a renewed sense of health and healing. As Starz, we are the bright lights of this world; it’s our job to SHINE!