By Brenda Sillas, BS, MBA, CHES
Want to stay healthy during the holidays without depriving yourself?
You’re in the right place. Today, I’m going to share my top 4 strategies that will keep you fit, healthy, mindful and focused during the holidays without feeling like you’re depriving yourself from any of the joys that the holiday season brings.
These strategies are the exact same strategies I used during a 5-day road trip vacation with my family (more about that below).
- Get outside
Depending on where you are in the world it may be more challenging for you to get outside during the winter but if you live in an area where the weather is tolerable then make it a point to get yourself outside and enjoy the outdoors. Even if it’s a daily walk around your own neighborhood or a hike in your town.
During our 5-day road trip through California we enjoyed being outside the entire time. Find excuses to go walk around parts of your neighborhood. Not only does a change of scenery stimulate your mindset but also impacts your mood in a positive way. Stay mindful of sun exposure, though and always wear a hat and sunscreen.
Lastly, be sure you have comfortable clothes and shoes.
2. Move your body
When I’m on vacation I actually don’t do any structured exercise but I do move my body a lot throughout the day. I purposely wore my Garmin watch the entire time to track my steps and I was intentional about walking or moving my body as much as possible. I encourage you to do something similar as well.
The holidays can already be a stressful time with so many things going on in your life. So, I always advise my clients to not try to force structured exercise during this time if they haven’t already formed the habit. Instead, I encourage them, and would encourage you as well, to simply be more intentional about moving your body often.
Use this time to re-connect with yourself and what you really want for you. I purposely unplugged from all electronic devices, social media, my phone, etc. during this time. I set my out of office response on all my email accounts. The funny thing is that doing this allowed me to see how much of the things I had said yes to that I didn’t really want to be doing. Unplugging will do that to you, so I encourage you to do it more often. Turn off the noise, the distractions and spend time in the moment. Also, think about what you could be doing instead with your time vs. being glued to a device.
4. Eat a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing
Once you have lost the weight for good and are now trying to simply maintain then you are able to be a bit more flexible with your eating choices. This doesn’t mean that you can gorge or binge, however, it does mean that you can treat yourself here and there with many little “bites” of treats. During our trip, I would always order a healthy side dish for my meal and then eat my family’s leftovers of whatever they ordered. I have two small kids so there is always food left over. When we are on vacation, I let them indulge so in turn, I get to try a little bit of everything that they order and indulge as well.
Here are how the 4 strategies look in action (based on our 5-day road trip).
- Get outside: I purposely planned stops throughout our trip where I knew we could enjoy the outdoors. Below are where we stopped throughout our trip.
Monterrey Bay, CA
San Francisco, CA
Lake Arrowhead, CA
Los Angeles, CA
2. Move your body: We walked everywhere! And yes, thankfully our two kids enjoy walking as well because we have been doing this since they were born. Below are photos of areas that we were able to enjoy and experience during our walks exploring these beautiful areas. I also made it a point to take as many photos doing my signature “scorpion” pose. For me it’s a reminder of staying flexible and healthy and I plan to take pictures of myself doing my signature pose all over the world for as long as I can!
Why drive through the famous Lombard Street in San Francisco, CA when you can walk and really experience the magic? It was quite a workout!
- Unplug: I spent more time taking pictures and actually having conversations with my kids. We even played a fun game of truth or dare during our drive to Lake Arrowhead. I challenge you to turn off your devices regularly and instead, dive into a good book, have a real conversation with your kids, spouse, friend, etc., draw, journal, or just sit and do nothing! During my time unplugging I started journaling about my ideal day and started mapping out how I’d like to invest my time for example – I’ve really been wanting to make it a habit to meditate, journal and workout consistently at 5 a.m. but I haven’t been very successful. So, I spent some time journaling about the challenges and barriers that got in the way and planned to overcome them. I’ll keep you posted on how I do. I encourage you to do this for yourself too. Don’t just think about what you want, think about the tactics and the things that will get in the way so you can plan to overcome them. This is what I help my clients with all the time.
- Eat a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing: Like I mentioned earlier, I would purposely order a healthy side dish when we would go out to eat because I would end up eating my kids’ leftovers or simply trying a little bit of my kids and husband ordered. Below, I ordered a pumpkin muffin with some coffee and got little bites of my kids’ pancakes. In another restaurant I ordered a side of cottage cheese and a side of tomatoes – delicious! So, find ways take small bites of things you enjoy but don’t feel like you must order an entire meal. Also, for me, continuing to take my daily vitamins was a reminder to be mindful of my food choices.
Over to you!
There you have it. Now you have a solid idea for how to create some kind of balance during the holidays so you don’t feel deprived and are able to enjoy the magic of the holiday season.
What questions come up for you?