Welcome back to our “Home for the Holidays” series. Today, we are going to talk about staying healthy during the holidays. Have you ever went a little overboard with your holiday treats and regretted it later? I sure have! Today, Julie Davis, is sharing tips to keep our bodies healthy and happy this holiday season.
But one thing is not so lovely about the season: it can be quite unhealthy. Cakes. Cookies. Candy Canes. Whether we consume luxurious treats in the form of dessert or creamy, sweet coffee drinks (Oh, how I love an Egg Nog Latte!), the holiday season can take a toll on our bodies.
These bodies are the only ones we’ve got. And as people of faith, we know they are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are to treat them with the utmost care and respect.
Even for those who generally eat healthily and are active, the holidays present a real challenge. Here are a few of my favorite tips for a healthier holiday season.
Party Preparation. Holiday parties are festive and fun! The goal is to leave a holiday party feeling as good as when you arrived. A quick way to go awry is arriving hungry. Before you go, snack on a few baby carrots or celery sticks. I like to include a little peanut butter for some protein. Also, drink a bottle of water to get that “full” feeling.
Cheerfully Cheat. If your holiday meals are anything like mine, there is a huge buffet of food. The range goes from traditional dishes like turkey and stuffing to various casseroles and desserts of every kind. While it would be aspirational to choose four ounces of lean protein and vegetables, I bet you have an aunt whose rich holiday dish is one you look forward to every year. You know what you should do? Eat it.
While we shouldn’t eat until we’re more stuffed than the turkey, we need to allow ourselves a cheat meal. Not a full cheat day, but one meal. Trying to maneuver through the entire holiday season carb-free and on carrot sticks is ridiculous! Denying ourselves a couple of bites of Aunt Suzie’s gooey jalapeño mac and cheese will eventually result in a full-on meal meltdown. Indulging a little in one meal is not a setback.
Merry Movement. The cold weather outside and the warm, snuggly inside make it especially challenging to exercise. Aim to be active for 30 minutes a day. If you can’t find a full 30-minute time slot, break your workout up. Try doing 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes later in the day. Remember, you can get some good cardio in while racing through the mall to find those last minute gifts! But don’t forget, just like cheat meals, give your body a cheat day. After all, even God took a day of rest! Involve your family members in your workout! Invite a friend or relative to sign up for a holiday-themed walk or run with you. Plan activities for your family. Go skating, whether inside or out. Put those interactive video games, like Wii Sports or Xbox Kinect, to use. Live in a snowy area? There’s nothing like sledding or an old-fashioned snowball fight.
The holiday season should be filled with comfort and joy. Taking the best care we can of our bodies while allowing ourselves to take part in all the season has to offer can be done. If you want a cookie, eat a cookie. Just not one in every flavor. If you want to watch holiday movies all night, grab a blanket and get comfortable. Offset it with a nice walk the next day. With a little intention and creativity, you can give yourself the gift of a healthy holiday season.
Julie Davis is a writer, communicator and ideator. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and discovered her passion for writing in middle school. She has served as a Resident Mom for the SkinnyMom.com community, writing about wellness and healthy lifestyles. She also does freelance work and blogs at juliewrites.me.