(BPT) – The holidays are a wonderful time of year. A chance to see old friends and distant relatives, take a vacation or just put the stresses of everyday life behind you so you can focus solely on family and fun. If you’re trying to manage your weight, though, holiday activities can come with a cost if you give in to the treats of the season.
To help you make the holidays their best and arrive on the other side with your weight loss goals still in tact, Anika Christ, senior program manager of Life Time Weight Loss at Life Time Fitness offers these 10 holiday health strategies.
1. It’s about the friends and family, not the food. Food is a component of any celebration but remember, you didn’t travel just to eat. “You traveled to see family and friends, so focus on them instead of what you can and can’t eat and you’ll enjoy these social events more thoroughly,” says Christ.
2. Moderate the plan. Don’t expect to go through the holidays without indulging in any of your favorite treats. You’re less likely to stick to such a strict guideline. Instead, exercise some moderation and determine ahead of time when you will treat yourself and when you won’t. Also be aware of what cravings you need to avoid succumbing to the most and indulge sensibly.
3. Bring your own healthy alternative. One way you can ensure you’ll have a healthy option to enjoy is if you bring it yourself. There are plenty of party-friendly ideas, including: veggie platters, hummus, fruit or cheese trays, mini meatballs, cold-cut platters, nuts or shrimp cocktails.
4. Make the event your own. Christ notes that one of the best ways to counter the temptations of the season is to host your own holiday event and put the focus on physical fitness and fun instead of food. “Invite family members to go ice skating, skiing or sledding before coming back to your home for a healthy meal,” she says. “You’ll create lasting memories without the lasting calories.”
5. Eat before you eat. If you’re worried about overeating at an upcoming holiday party, one of the best things you can do is eat beforehand. A healthy snack eaten before you arrive will tide your appetite and help you avoid overindulging in less-healthy fare later.
6. It’s better to give. If baking is one of your favorite holiday traditions, you don’t need to forgo this activity in the name of weight management. You can still make your favorite cakes, cookies or desserts – just make sure to share them with co-workers, family and friends instead of keeping them home where they will simply tempt you.
7. Be good on your off days. No matter how busy you are during the holidays, you will have an off day here or there. Christ says, “This is the perfect time to remember your weight-management goals and treat yourself to a healthy dinner or some physical activity.”
8. Ease the stress. The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also be stressful with all the extra shopping, planning and traveling they entail. If you turn to food when feeling stressed, be mindful of this during the holidays. Plan some time for yourself and include activities that will alleviate that stress, such as meditating, yoga, massage or working out.
9. Be financially fit. Avoid the stress of overspending by establishing a budget for everyone on your list before you start shopping. Making presents for loved ones is also a cost-effective, thoughtful alternative.
10. Remember what’s important. The holidays may include food, presents and parties, but it’s the people who are most important. “Remember, the holidays come and go quickly but the relationships you nurture will last a lifetime,” says Christ.
To learn more ways that you can enjoy the holidays in a fun, healthy way, visit LifeTimeWeightLoss.com.