We’re in the final six weeks of the year, which means it’s time for celebrations, feasts, and travel. All those fun times (and sometimes stressful times) wreak havoc on even the healthiest body. And, unless your will power is made of steel, it isn’t easy to resist temptation. In addition to the big day-of-celebration feasts, there may be work parties, friendly get-togethers, and family gatherings. Throw in travel, which typically takes you far away from your gym, and the holidays can derail even the most dedicated health fanatic. That’s why we’re offering these tips to help you stay healthy through the holidays.
Everything in Moderation
Moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to your favorite vice, though, moderation often flies straight out the window.
It’s important to recognize that it’s okay to indulge your sweet tooth (or whatever tooth is crying out for attention). You can still keep those extra pounds at bay by limiting your favorite indulgence to those fun get-togethers. That means that you stick to your healthy diet and exercise routine the rest of the time. In other words, make those party days your only cheat days.
We recommend choosing one or two holiday favorites, dishes you rarely get the rest of the year, and focusing your “splurges” there. When you see all of those goodies laid out, take a moment to check out your options before you tackle the dessert buffet to ensure you choose wisely.
All of these extra treats – the cookies, the pies, two kinds of potatoes with dinner – are also why you don’t want to ignore your fitness routine during the holidays. (More on that below.) So, go ahead and enjoy that extra slice of pumpkin pie, and even the whipped cream, tonight. Then, it’s back to lean protein and lots of fresh fruit and veggies tomorrow. And don’t forget your 30 minutes of cardio.
Practice Portion Control
Okay, so we said to go ahead and indulge your sweet tooth, but that doesn’t mean you should eat an entire pumpkin pie or plate of cookies. Start with appropriate portion sizes. Then, take your time eating, both to enjoy your food and to give your brain time to realize you’re full. If you still want more, treat yourself to a small second helping. It also helps to drink at least 8 ounces of water before eating.
Also, don’t forget that, just because food is on your plate doesn’t mean that you have to eat it all. Pretend you’re at a restaurant and wrap it up for later.
Portion control applies to alcohol as well. Try alternating alcoholic drinks with water (one-for-one) and keep your hourly total to one or two drinks, max. You’ll save empty calories and reduce your risk of a hangover the next day.
Drinking plenty of water offers a variety of health benefits. You may find a healthy glass of water does a lot to cut your calories. It’s also a great way to let yourself enjoy those hot toddies and other alcoholic favorites without paying too high a price the next day. Dehydration is the main reason many of us feel so lousy after drinking too much. If you drink a glass or bottle of water for every alcoholic beverage you enjoy, you ensure you stay hydrated and feel less like death the next day.
Don’t Miss a Workout
A lot of us travel to be with family and friends during the holidays. Even if your gym is part of a national chain, maintaining a workout routine is challenging when you travel. But if there’s any time of year you need to keep your body moving, holiday time is it. Not only because of all that extra rich food you’re eating, but to help work off the stress that’s so common during the holidays.
As much as possible, stick to your regular exercise routine. When you’re traveling, you have a few options, even if you don’t belong to a national gym.
- Grab a guest pass at a local gym
- Do a circuit routine in your hotel room – use a chair to do some tricep dips; hit the floor and do some pushups, planks, and crunches; work the legs with weight-free lunges, squats, and leg raises
- Go for a walk or a jog
- Find a fun Zumba or other aerobic workout video on your phone
Take a Breath and Relax
Family you rarely see (sometimes for good reason), traveling, all that shopping and extra cooking – the holidays can be incredibly stressful and stress does a real number on your body. For example, cortisol (a stress hormone) often causes us to overeat.
Focusing on your breathing helps you relax and de-stress, and you don’t need to be a yogi to do it. All you have to do is count to four while breathing in through your nose, hold the breath for a beat, and exhale slowly through your mouth. The simple act of intentional breathing helps calm both mind and body, greatly reducing stress.
Medicare Part B covers a yearly wellness visit with your primary doctor. This is the perfect time to discuss healthy lifestyle habits. If you have any questions about your Medicare coverage, call us toll-free at 855-350-8101. One of our licensed agents can help.