Guest Post: 5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

Today's post is from Robin Long.  Robin is a Pilates instructor and the creator of The Balanced Life, a website dedicated to helping women take a balanced, guilt-free  approach to health and fitness. For encouragement, tips, and online Pilates workouts, visit Robin’s website, follow her on Twitter, or connect with her on Facebook. Or join her on 11/11 for Slim & Strong in Six: your pre-holiday Pilates program!

It’s that time of year again. 

When cold weather beckons us into hibernation. 

When rich, comforting dinners take the place of fresh fruit and salad. 

When every weekend provides an opportunity for one too many drinks and five too many desserts.

I love the holidays as much as the next girl. But I don’t often love the way I feel when January 1 rolls around.

Am I alone in this? 

As a Pilates instructor and wellness blogger it’s a part of my job to stay healthy over the holidays. If I’m not healthy, I can’t work. And if I’m not feeling good in my own skin motivating others is next to impossible.

So rather than trying to be “perfect” over the holiday season, I focus on a few key strategies to stay healthy throughout the holidays.

Hopefully these tips will help you too.

5 Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holiday Season

Put a plan in place.

If you read my blog or participate in programs you will hear me talking about planning ahead until I’m blue in the face. 

I can’t stress it enough. 

Without a plan exercise falls by the wayside and healthy eating is too much work. Especially if you have little ones at home. 

Before Thanksgiving rolls around make a detailed exercise plan and start meal planning every Sunday (I share how I meal plan right here).

Focus on Monday – Friday

There will be parties. Lots of parties. And you should ENJOY them! 

So rather than stressing about the weekends focus on Monday – Friday. 

Sometimes we think too black and white (I’m on health kick vs. I’m eating so bad I may as well continue eating bad until I’m ready to diet and lose the weight). Let’s ditch this way of thinking. If you know your weekends are going to be indulgent, keep your diet clean and exercise throughout the week.

Indulge if it’s WORTH IT.

Treats abound over the holidays. It starts with the Halloween candy bowl and continues right through New Year’s champagne. 

So choose your treats wisely. Rather than trying to avoid all sweets, pick and choose the indulgences that are TRULY worth it. That stale piece of cake in the break room at work? Skip it. That delicious homemade apple pie on Thanksgiving? Go for it. 

Too often holiday weight gain is from mindless treats that aren’t really worth it.
Keep cocktails light.

Again…the parties. Oh the parties. 

Confession: one year I gained 15 lbs by drinking copious amounts of Original Temptation….what is that you might ask? That’s the ridiculously delicious generic brand of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Let’s just say, my pants weren’t fitting on January 1. 

Lesson learned: keep cocktails light. Skip the egg nog (or Original Temptation) and opt for wine, spritzers, vodka and soda or a glass of bubbly.

Get your sleep.

Life will be undoubtedly busy over the holiday season. Which means sleep may suffer. 

But sleeping is one of the best things you can do for your health. Isn’t that great news? Just LYING there will improve your immune system, inhibit weight gain and improve your mood. 

Studies show that when you’re low on sleep you’re significantly more likely to reach for unhealthy food options (chips, candy, sugar) to give your body the energy boost it needs. This happens on a hormonal level so relying on will-power will hardly help.

Those are my 5 tips to keep the holidays healthy. Take time to enjoy the season and don’t beat yourself up for partaking in the holiday fun. Just be sure to balance it out with a healthy dose of rest, exercise and self-care.


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