Here we are, friends! In spite of the current crisis, you are keeping up with staying healthy or are thinking about starting a new health routine. The great thing about our health goals is that you can always set and practice them from where you are. Whether you are a beginner, in process, advanced level, or a returning member of your health journey, there is always a possibility for you to improve and maintain your health.
However, it does get challenging during the holidays. Holidays are getting closer and we all know how easy it is to get derailed from our health goals. But does it have to be that way? Can’t we enjoy our holidays and yet make sure we are not straying away from our goals? The answer is YES. The overarching tip is to “be prepared.” Make sure to create practical ways you can eat right or move more that actually works for your lifestyle.
Keep some techniques in your pocket that can help you troubleshoot abrupt plans and missed days. Having goals doesn’t have to be a punishment, it should be a journey. So let me share my tried and true tips that have saved my health goals and still let me enjoy festivities.
- Create clear goals and get precise: “I will start exercising next week” vs “I will exercise at least three times a week for an hour in the mornings.” Which of these goals sound more effective to you? Your detailed goals are going to help you prepare even better.
- Create a calendar: This technique has saved me from missing exercise activities and overindulging in foods. Look at your calendar or create a new calendar to find available slots and add your exercise time. I usually do this on Sundays for the entire week. However, our lives don’t always run by calendar so make sure to be flexible and change up the schedule if you need to. For example, maybe choose a different time to go to the gym or walk if your day is hectic. Also, allow yourself to have a cheat day and add that to your calendar as well.
- Load up your fridge: We all know to unload our pantry from not so healthy foods but we hardly invest time in replacing it with healthier options. So make sure that you have enough food in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to not get tempted to get carryout. That way, while you are preparing for the holidays, you still have good healthier options for you.
- Do your research: Make sure to look for healthier alternatives to Christmas treats you get or prepare every year. There are numerous recipes and techniques available that can still give you the satisfaction of enjoying your treat without breaking your health goals. Pin those on Pinterest, take a screenshot, whatever works for you, create a recipe playlist.
- Change the way you eat and move: This might be one of my most favorite tips — to practice moderation while enjoying feasts. Hope you give this a try. If you are to cook a feast or attend one, make sure to bring some healthier options or eat something filling beforehand like a big bowl of salad or smoothies or simple oatmeal. This will naturally help you to eat less than usual and you will still get to indulge in holiday feasts without guilt. You can also do a bit more cardio workouts (moderate intensity walking/jogging/ rowing/elliptical) that day to burn extra calories you might consume.
- Know your numbers: It is important to identify how many calories you need to reach or maintain your goals. If you are trying to lose weight, use some of the reliable calorie calculators to identify the calories you need and then deduct 100-300 calories to create a deficit that will lead to weight loss. Start slow if you have never practiced this. A drastic calorie deficit is not healthy, plus it is harder to keep up with. Take your time.
- Log Your foods and activity: There numerous apps you can use to calculate calories and nutrients you consume every day. For example, if you are going to have a big feast in the evening for Thanksgiving, you can use logging apps to calculate how light you want to be so that you are still eating within your calorie goals. The same goes for activity or exercise.
I hope you give these tips a try and create your own health routine that is manageable for a long time and brings you joy.