Holiday time can be the most challenging for sticking to one’s health goals. When I was conducting my doctoral research on worksite wellness, those people enrolled in our program October through the end of December did not see AS much change in measurable outcomes as those enrolled the other nine months of the year. So, as a clinician, I try to take the pressure off this time of year.
Some ways you can minimize being sabotaged if you plan accordingly. First, enjoy the holiday… family stress and all – it will be over soon. Don’t make excuses for your food choice… you can have a little taste of everything… just by the spoonful, not the cupful! Beware of hidden calories in beverages! Okay, they are not hiding, but sometimes we forget that just because we don’t chew beverages means that they are calorie free.
Try to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains… offer to bring a side dish to a party or celebration that you know you prepared in a healthful manner. Drink more water – between other beverages. Get some exercise in… I can’t believe the work out I had finishing up with the leaves in my yard! It is still somewhat mild temperatures in our area… get up and walk (now that most of the debris has been removed).
When making New Years’ resolutions – focus on small, attainable goals versus overwhelming and perhaps too difficult to maintain. With food, forget the “absolutes”, fads and food rules… focus on portions and trimming excess calories (like fats and condiments). Exercise can be daunting, but small steps can add up. Get an inexpensive pedometer and measure your steps for one day… then increase it by 500 steps he next day. Two-thousand steps is approximately one mile. If you work in an office, get up and walk for five minutes every hour… it can add up to 40 minutes of physical activity that you otherwise might not do.
Consider giving “healthy” gifts. I’ve always loved to send a little “naughty and nice” from Delicious Orchards with the fruit and bakery boxes. You can always give someone something they would never get for themselves – a gym membership, a session with a personal trainer, life coach or registered dietitian. There is a company offering good-for-you AND the environment gift boxes – Conscious Box (http://consciousbox.com). How about the gift of a professionally written resume for that special someone who keeps complaining about their job and is complacent because they perceive they lack the tools to move forward.
Most importantly… the best gift you can give is to yourself… love yourself and all your special qualities. Work every day at keeping a positive perspective on life. We have all endured so much over the last few months in our area and keeping our mind, body and spirit healthy is priceless! Have a happy holiday!
Please share your healthy holiday "gifts" and tips!