The holiday season is upon us once again, with Christmas and New Years being just about everyone’s favorite time of the year. It’s a time of family gatherings, gift giving, shopping, parties and… food. Lots and lots of food! In fact, it’s probably safe to say that most people look at this time of year as a time of caloric excess, where it’s almost expected of us to surrender and just enjoy the holidays.
With Christmas cookies, grandma’s fruitcake, marbled meats, potatoes, gravy and spiked eggnog, it seems so easy and reasonable to throw our hands up, raise the white flag and give in to the holiday festivities. What the heck; it’s so much easier this way and it’s just for a month or so. Besides, you can always get rid of the extra 10 or 20 lbs with another New Year’s resolution.
And once again, we set up ourselves up for another cycle of Christmas gluttony, and a traditional fad diet to start off the new year. Get rid of this seasonal pattern once and for all by making your fitness and personal health the reason for the season. You can make healthy choices and remove the anxiety that comes from your fear of failure by following some simple guidelines for this holiday season.
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Relax, Take The Pressure Off Yourself
Before you even think about how you are going to do this… just slow down for a moment, and relax. This is the holidays, and if you end up having an extra glass of wine or a couple of cookies, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not the end of the world, and I don’t think that this is the time to expect perfection. Reduce your expectations of greatness and enjoy yourself! Take pride in the fact that you live a healthy life and that you make healthy choices. And if there is ever a time of the year to sneak in an extra helping of pie – it’s now. So have fun, enjoy it and move on.
It’s About Friends And Family – Not The Food!
Before you arrive at any celebration, remind yourself that this is about the people and not the food or drink. Create a mindset within yourself that you are making your relationship with friends and family your priority. This is the perfect time to remember why God gave you two ears and one mouth – so that you can listen twice as much as you speak! Become genuinely interested with what’s happening in other people’s lives and they will love you for it; while at the same time creating a positive distraction for yourself.
Give Healthy Gifts
We hear all the time that life is about choices. By personally deciding to make healthy choices, people around you will see this and they’ll take notice. Trust me! You can take these healthy choices a step further by giving gifts that lead to a healthier lifestyle for those you care about. You can give gifts of vitamins, supplements, gym memberships… even something as simple as inviting them to go for a walk with you one day. Not only will this be good for the lucky recipient of your wonderful gift, but it will strengthen your own resolve by making you a bit more accountable to yourself and others.
Eat Before You Go
We’re only human, and going to a Christmas or New Year’s party on an empty stomach is probably not the brightest idea. Skipping meals beforehand as a way of creating some sort of caloric offset is convoluted thinking at best. You and I both know it won’t work. Be sure to plan ahead and eat a light but healthy meal or snack before you go. Try a low-calorie meal replacement shake, or munch on some raw veggies.
Cut Back On The Alcohol
Just like the whipped lattes from Starbucks, exotic holiday cocktails can have a heap of calories. In fact, many of the holiday drink recipes can be over 500 calories for that little glass of merriment. Not to mention the possible lapse in judgement that can occur with all those fattening, high-calorie munchies on the table in front of you.
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Be Good To Yourself This Christmas
Above all, remember why you are living a healthier life and making smart choices. By planning ahead and preparing yourself mentally for the parties, desserts and endless snack trays, you can make this year quite easy on yourself. Take control of this holiday season, remove the stress and have a wonderful time.