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Celebrating (Not Just Surviving) the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and be thankful for the wonderful life you’ve been given. Along with the holidays comes loads of delicious hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and other dishes prepared by your closest friends and family.

Thanksgiving is a special holiday and you should allow yourself to indulge in things that you only get once a year. However, for those of us with specific fitness goals, it’s common to feel stress during this time of year due to the lack of routine. I am so guilty of this, so I wanted to share some tips so that you have the most magical holiday season without stress and guilt. A healthy lifestyle is all about balance.

1. Get creative with staying active. If you’re like me, you need to workout for your mental stability, so going home can sometimes be stressful if you’re from a small town that has one gym that is hardly ever open. You’d be surprised at how much you can do with just your body weight. At-home workouts are a great solution. Pop in your mom’s exercise tapes from the 80’s. Go for a jog around your neighborhood. There are infinite ways to stay fit (and mentally sane) without a gym.

2. Avoid snacking. A lot of times at holiday parties (or even just your parent’s house), there will be bowls of candy and other goodies distributed around for guests to enjoy. Snacking isn’t always a bad thing, but odds are the snacks at your family get together are not very healthy. Your typical snack foods like crackers or chips have very small serving sizes and the calories rack up quick.

3. Don’t arrive to the family dinner starving. You’re much more likely to overindulge when you are past the point of hungry and your blood sugar is low. You will make healthier choices in the right state of mind.

4. Fill your plate with turkey. Turkey is a guaranteed healthy food at holiday parties. It’s mostly just protein and will make you feel fuller for longer. Focus on your protein intake as well as vegetable side dishes.

Eat to the point of feeling satisfied, not stuffed. It takes time for our bodies to realize that we are full, so eat slowly and mindfully, paying attention to how you feel. Are you really still hungry?

5. Make a healthy dish to share. That way, you know that there is at least one healthy choice at your gathering.

6. Enjoy treats, but don’t overindulge. Try a little bit of everything in very small quantities. You’ll be satisfied that you were able to get a taste of all the amazing dishes and desserts without the guilt of going overboard.

7. Most importantly, get back on track. No matter how good you are, you will inevitably eat more than you intend to. We are human and it is a time to celebrate! Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t punish yourself with excessive cardio. Don’t starve yourself after the fact. Simply get up the next day and get back on track. The worst thing you can do is wallow in guilt and decide that you’ve blown it and might as well wait until after the holidays to start again.

Enjoy this time with your loved ones. Be thankful for the fact that you have food to eat, and don’t stress about it if you mess up. Tomorrow is always a new day.

Mandi.

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