During this busy time of year, even the most health-conscious among us struggles to balance holiday fun and commitments with the steps we need to take to maintain a healthy lifestyle. While the average American only gains about a pound during the holidays, those who already struggle to maintain a healthy weight can gain more—and find it harder to lose the new weight once the new year begins.
While you may not want to commit to a new diet and exercise program during this hectic time, there are some simple steps you can take to help keep weight gain at bay during the holidays.
Make an exercise schedule and stick to it.
It can be tempting to bump your evening walk or usual workout off the schedule when your holiday to-do list seems unending. Before things get too hectic, take the time to put blocks of time on your schedule for your usual gym classes or activities and treat them like must-attend meetings—because they are!
Find ways to stay calm.
Stress increases the hormone cortisol, which can lead to weight gain, anxiety, and sleep issues over time. Sticking to your exercise schedule can help reduce stress as well as burning calories. Make sure to do things you find relaxing during the holiday season—whether it’s taking a warm bath, cooking a favorite healthy meal, or watching a classic holiday movie with family.
Be mindful of what you eat and drink.
Holiday parties and events are full of rich foods and festive cocktails. It can be hard to avoid them, especially if there are special treats that you enjoy only around the holidays. If you have a dinner planned, eat on the lighter side during the day to enjoy more at night. If you’re going to a party with appetizers or desserts, eat a healthy dinner beforehand and just sample your favorites.
Get your steps in.
Not all exercise happens in a gym. Taking a few extra steps each day can help keep the pounds at bay. Park your car further away from the entrance of the mall. Take stairs instead of the escalator or elevator once you’re inside. These small changes can make a big difference.
Take time to enjoy the holidays.
The happier you are, the better it is for your overall health. Being mindful of all the wonderful things about the holidays can offset the season’s stresses. Take the time to enjoy the sparkling lights, smiling people and opportunity to connect with loved ones.
By taking these small steps, it’ll make a big difference in your health after the holidays.
A new session of our community exercise program begins on January 2. Now’s the time to commit to a healthier 2018! Click here to learn more about our pool and land-based exercise classes.