The holidays often center around food, family and fun. The smell of food drifting from the kitchen is a staple in nearly every household, paired nicely with the sound of football on the TV. Whether you’re an early riser hoping to catch the first run of the big parade on TV or sleeping in until the scent of desserts in the oven tempts you from bed, holidays are stuffed with tempting obstacles trying to trip you up.
To help tackle the temptation, we compiled ten tips that are sure to keep you from giving in! These building blocks help you take control of the day and keep your health and wellness on track.
- Get up and get moving! See if your community offers a 5K or 1-mile fun run on the big day. Start your morning off with a calorie burn for the whole family by running or walking together. Not ready to commit to an organized run? Hop on the trails at Mitch Park or Earlywine Park and get moving at your own pace. Need a little more engagement? Visit a playground, like the one across the street from the North Side YMCA location. Compile a scavenger hunt list so that everyone is participating. Look for things like a family playing football, pumpkin decorations, acorns or pinecones, etc.
- Drink plenty of water the day before and the day of to help combat the salt retention. Getting enough water is key to a healthy lifestyle! It can help you burn more calories, feel fuller and even lower your risk of weight gain.
- Make sure to eat a breakfast with a good mix of protein, healthy fats, and carbs so that you are not starving by the time the big meal comes around. It can be tempting to skip breakfast to “save up” for the big meal, but this can lead to overeating later, missing out on essential nutrients, and even slowing your metabolism.
- Opt for smaller portions when dishing out the dishes. This allows you to enjoy everything on your plate without overcommitting and eating too much. If you know you’re going to go back for seconds, this is an even better idea so that you save room for more.
- Take your time while eating to check in with your hunger. Often, we eat so fast during the holiday meals that we don’t realize we’re full until it’s too late. To do this, set your utensils down between bites and participate in conversation at the table. Before diving back into your food, ask yourself how hungry you feel.
- Don’t eat something if you don’t love it! Aunt Mary will forgive you if you don’t take a second helping of her green bean casserole and your body will thank you later.
- Don’t forget to get your stretches in before you jump into the game of football in the yard! Stretching before physical activity helps your body loosen up and reduces the likelihood of injuries.
- Limit the post-dinner nap. Napping can improve your mood, increase alertness, and reduce stress. When they happen too late in the day or run too long, though, naps can actually do more harm than good. Aim for 10-30 minutes of sleep time if you want to nap later in the day. If you’re napping after a big lunch, set a timer for 90 minutes. This gives your body enough time to go into and emerge from deep R.E.M. sleep.
- Most importantly, take the time to enjoy family and friends! The holidays is all about coming together with those you love, so make sure the food doesn’t outshine the company, no matter how great Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie is.
- Visit the YMCA the day after a big holiday to burn off the extra calories. Most YMCA locations are hosting special Black Friday classes to help you get right back on track. We will be closed Dec. 26, but you can pop in on Dec. 27 to get your routine back on track.
Whether you stick to all ten like a pro or incorporate one or two of these tips, you can choose to celebrate the wins whatever they look like. However you celebrate the holidays, don’t forget to show some gratitude for the things in your life that make you most thankful.
Written by Laura Wolf, [email protected]