How to Stick to Your Healthy Habits During the Holidays
The holidays are a time for celebration with family and friends. But it can also be a difficult time to stick to your healthy habits. There are so many delicious foods and drinks available, and it can be hard to say no. But with a little bit of willpower and some planning, you can maintain your healthy habits during the holiday season.
Here are six tips for staying on track during the holidays:
1. Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals for sticking to your healthy habits during the holidays is key to succeeding.
Start by establishing a plan for yourself before the holidays even begin, and be sure to set achievable goals. This could include setting a goal to maintain your current weight or trying to lose an extra pound or two before the New Year. Whatever your goal may be, make sure it’s measurable so that you can track your progress along the way.
Remember that any changes you make don’t have to be drastic – little tweaks here and there will still add up over time and help you reach your goals. Make an effort to get plenty of sleep each night, take breaks throughout the day if needed, and give yourself time off from intense exercise regimes during this busy season. This can help prevent burnout while still staying active overall!
Finally, don’t forget about mental health when striving for healthy habits during the holidays. This season can already bring on its own stressors with family gatherings, shopping for gifts, and other hectic events – so take care of yourself too!
Find ways to relax such as taking walks outside, listening to calming music or podcasts, or even scheduling some ‘me’ time once in a while. This is just as important as any physical activity when trying to stay healthy during this season!
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2. Avoid FOMO (fear of missing out)
FOMO or fear of missing out is a state of mind. It is something that can often drive us to do things we don't need to do, just so that we can partake in the "shared experience". 
What most people think about when you say "avoid FOMO" is that you should do it so that you don't miss out... our thinking is a little different...
The holidays often come with a host of experiences all pushed into a short period of time, and often we feel obligated to be a part of each of them as we have this sense that if we don't we will be missing out. Some of these could include:
- Heavy drinking - think about all the social gatherings that happen over the holidays, everybody with a drink in hand. If you are trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle this could present a problem. 
- Overeating - Almost all holiday celebrations involve some sort of meal, in fact, for some, this is the main focus around the holidays, everyone getting together after a long year and enjoying good food. However, not everyone's idea of good food is healthy! 
- Overspending - You work all year to maintain your budget and then the holidays come and all the well-laid-out strategies you have been employing go out the window.
- Overcommitting - This is where FOMO is at its strongest. So many things happening at once, and you feel you need to be a part of everything! Leaving you in need of a holiday, after your holiday. Not a fun way to start the New Year at all!
We believe that it is completely unnecessary to feel like you are missing out if you choose to maintain your healthy habits during the holiday season, and here is why:
Let's take the food and drink - no matter what lifestyle you choose to lead, whether you are watching what you eat, or simply trying to cut down or completely stop drinking, one key thing to remember is moderation is key!
You don't have to eat all the food and drink all the drinks to share in the experience, remember what the holidays are all about, spending time with family and friends - the food and drinks are simply side characters in a much bigger picture - they don't make the holiday!
Now let's look at overspending - We're often driven by the "season of giving" with the feeling that we need to buy the best, most expensive gifts for everyone, forgetting that it is the thought that counts. This in turn can cause us to go over our budget and spend way more than we intended on holiday presents.
One simple tip for avoiding overspending: set a budget at the start of the holidays, this way if you find yourself getting carried away with spending you have a guide. Also, remember to get creative instead of going all out on expensive gifts - homemade gifts are often just as well received!
After all, what better gift could there be than your time?
Finally, let's look at over-committing - Often we feel like we should say yes to everything because we don't want to miss out on what could be something special...however, to what end? If you’re feeling exhausted you won’t be able to enjoy yourself anyway.
Instead, try to be strategic about what you commit to - ask yourself if it is really worth your time, and more importantly, if the experience will be something that you will enjoy. If the answer is no, then say no!
In short, by avoiding FOMO during the holiday season, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle while still being able to fully enjoy all the festivities that this wonderful time of year has to offer. So don't be afraid to take charge of your holidays and make them exactly what you want them to be!
3. Read up on tips
These days we have all the information we need at our fingertips...
For example, if your plan is to stick to your diet over the holidays, do some online research on some of the recipes you could make that are suitable for your diet and yummy for all!
Going to someone for a meal? ask them what they are planning on serving and research what foods you should eat and which are best to avoid. You don't need to be a bad guest and not eat any of the food, simply be selective and if there are no suitable options try to practice moderation - you are allowed to slip a bit. Remember, the first step was to set realistic expectations.
4. Plan to have fun
By pre-planning how you will stick to your healthy habits during the holidays, it becomes much easier to find the time and willpower to do so. With all of the festivities already taking place, it can be hard to justify working out or passing on seconds, but if you have a plan in place ahead of time then it will become second nature.
If you find that you usually go to the gym after work, but have an office party to attend at the same time, plan for an extended gym session the day before, or a quick workout during your lunch break. And when you anticipate there will be food available at the party that doesn't quite fit into your diet, try having a healthy snack beforehand or bringing along your favorite nutritious side dish.
Planning ahead allows you to enjoy your time without worrying about each individual dilemma as it comes up.
5. Get moving!
As mentioned above it can be hard to stick to your exercise routine around the holidays, but don't forget that exercise comes in many different forms, you may not be able to go to the gym every day, but the holidays are a perfect opportunity to try other fun forms of exercise.
They could include:
- Going for a walk through your local neighborhood and enjoying the lights and decorations;
- Playing a game of ice hockey with friends or family;
- Taking your dog out for a long walk on a cold winter day;
- Doing yoga in front of the fireplace.
No matter what form of exercise you choose, just getting moving is one of the best ways to stay healthy over the holidays. So take some time to enjoy yourself this season, but also make sure to carve out some time for physical activity as well!
6. Reward yourself for sticking to your plan
Most of all, remember to be kind to yourself. You don't need to be perfect, and there is no "holiday police" - you are allowed to have a piece of pie, or have a drink if that's what you want!
That being said, try to keep in mind the bigger picture. If you can stick to your plan and not over-indulge for one day or even for an entire week, why not reward yourself? perhaps by going out for a special holiday meal with friends or family, or by simply treating yourself to something nice that you may not normally splurge on.
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By reminding yourself of all the hard work that went into making it through the holidays without falling off track, you are more likely to stick with your healthy habits for the long term. So give yourself a pat on the back, and enjoy every minute of your holidays!