We’ve enjoyed a delightful Christmas with our families and friends, but many of us have probably lost track of some of our healthy disciplines in the midst of the fun celebration. New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to reassess how we’d like to treat our bodies during this busy season full of fun treats and distractions that can often lure us away from our goals.
1. Schedule your day. This wonderful time of year can also be overwhelming with extra to-do’s and it's hard to find time for yourself. When you schedule your days you’ll find time for both. Make time to shop for and prepare healthy meals and schedule regular workouts. And don’t forget, you can say no to activities and requests when it just feels like too much, and you’ll prevent and reduce your stress at the same time.
2. Track your activities. While sticking with a schedule is great, it’s also wise to track the healthy activities you’re enjoying. Note your workout sessions, including intensity and length, as well as the foods and drinks you’re consuming. Doing this may help you see a pattern of your progress and help you see where you’ve gone off track and what you need to do to
course-correct back to your goals. Tracking also has the benefit of motivating you to stick to your plan.
3. Follow your normal nutrition plan. It’s really easy to let your normal, healthy eating habits slack when you spy gingerbread cookies, eggnog and butter-laden foods around every corner. Remind yourself that eating healthy now will give you more energy during the holidays and prevent you from having to “get back to normal” in the New Year. Stock up on extra veggies and fruit, whole grains, and plenty of protein instead of overdoing it on the carbs, fats and sugar.
4. Make meal prep a priority. When you include meal preparation within your schedule, it'll be easier to stick to a healthy eating routine. It may be more difficult during the holidays, but you can include simple options like slow cooker meals and salads, cutting and chopping for meals at one time, portioning out easy snacks, and cooking and freezing some healthy meals in advance. This way, you’ll have less temptation to grab that sticky caramel corn mix or
those lemon bars when you’re starving!
5. Portion out indulgent treats. You definitely don’t need to miss out on holiday treats, just stick to the rule of moderation. You really only need one small serving of Aunt Ethel’s Chocolate Walnut Pie, right? You could cut out the ice cream or whipped cream and eat a bit less of those buttery mashed potatoes while you’re at it. This way, you won’t feel deprived, and you won’t leave the party feeling overstuffed.
6. Stay hydrated. Colorado has a semi-arid climate, and in the winter it’s even drier since the cold air holds even less moisture. For those who are traveling, remember that plane cabins also contain less humidity. Remember to drink lots of water! Consuming enough water can prevent you from becoming dehydrated from salty holiday meals and snacks. It can also prevent you from overeating. Carry your favorite water bottle with you during the day and remember to refill it often.
7. Stay active. While good nutrition is essential to a healthy weight, exercise helps you burn those extra holiday calories and keeps your body running smoothly. Make time for exercise and activity in your busy routine and you’ll also reap the benefits of better mental health and less stress (see #1). Think about planning activities that keep you and your loved ones moving, like walking around town to see holiday lights, going ice skating, skiing, or enjoying a hike together. This is a great way to focus on healthy fun rather than just holiday dining!
8. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Losing out on your zzz’s can do far more than just make you sleepy. Sleep deficits cause a lack of concentration, exacerbate chronic health conditions and can negatively affect your mental health. When you’re tired, you tend to overeat because sleep affects peptides that control appetite responses. Lack of sleep has also been connected to a higher risk of obesity. Getting enough rest over the holidays helps you stay fit and supports your overall health.
Enjoy your New Year's Eve and use these tips to help you enter 2022 feeling empowered and healthy!
I’d love to work with you to help you get on track with your physical health, positive mental outlook and exercise routine in the new year! You can call me at 720-320-4212, or email me at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Here’s to your best health!
Dr. Trish PT, DPT