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December 06, 2019

Five tips for a healthy holiday season

Wellness Holidays

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Christmas Tree in Philadelphia Holiday Lights Thom Carroll/

The holidays are a time for indulgence. With refrigerators full of Thanksgiving leftovers and pantries packed with holiday cookies, avoiding temptation and staying healthy can feel like an impossible feat. While it’s perfectly fine to indulge in moderation, completely abandoning your diet can lead to post-holiday pounds and harmful habits that are hard to break.

Here are five tips for getting through the holidays without wreaking havoc on your waistline:

1. Stay hydrated

Water keeps everything in your body functioning at its best, doing everything from maintaining vital cell fluids to cushioning joints. It also helps keep your appetite at bay, as mild dehydration is commonly perceived as hunger. Because many people also indulge in libations during the holidays, adding a glass of water to the mix can help you drink less alcohol and lessen its negative effects on your body.

2. Try a holiday workout

Holiday vacation can seem like the least appealing time to work out, but it’s one of the most effective things you can do to avoid the consequences of an unhealthy holiday season. Even if your schedule is packed with wrapping gifts or potluck prepping, try to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise. Whether it’s taking the dog for a walk or a quick cardio routine in the hotel room, get your heart pumping to reduce stress and burn extra calories.

3. Practice mindful eating

Mindfulness can help improve both our physical and mental health, especially during more high-stress times like the holidays. By practicing mindfulness during mealtimes, you’ll not only reduce your food intake, but also experience more gratitude and enjoyment for the food you do eat. Begin by sitting back and allowing yourself to enjoy the smells of your favorite holiday treats, then enjoy each bite with awareness of the tastes and textures. Because it takes a bit for your body to send an “I’m full” cue to the brain, take a 10 minute break after your first serving to be sure you’re not overeating.

4. Shift your focus

Instead of focusing only on the excitement of finally taking a bite of your favorite pie or indulging in some of your family’s famous spiked eggnog, shift your focus to the other highlights of the holiday season. Holidays can be one of the few times a year families and friends make time to travel or take a break from work, so spend your time nurturing those relationships rather than focusing on the temptation to indulge.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

We’re all human. Despite our best efforts to stay healthy during the holidays, sometimes we slip up—and that’s okay. Rather than shaming yourself and letting a slip-up damper your holiday spirit, use it as an opportunity to evaluate your goals and move forward. Feeling defeated is more likely to reduce your motivation and negatively impact your future decisions, so don’t wave the white flag if things don’t go as planned. Stay positive and trust that tomorrow is a new day.

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