16 Ways to Create Healthy Routine This Holiday Season

It’s time. We are all getting ready for the holidays, parties, festive meals, late night drinking, office snacking, and soon enough that great excuse, “I don’t have time to hit the gym,” will all be upon us. Now is the time to prepare.

You, and if you are lucky enough to have one, your trainer, have been doing great all year. You are feeling pretty darned good. Now Fall is here and typical holiday weight gain panic begins to show its ugly face.

Let’s identify specific tools you can begin using right now to stick to your routine, and avoid the common weight gain and fitness lapses that the holidays bring.

Find ways to increase your activity and movement

You may not have the time to go to the gym, so find every imaginable way to increase your activity, even if it seems silly—it keeps your mindset focused in the right direction.

Try these:

  • Wear a pedometer
  • Take half of your lunch hour to workout
  • Park further away from your office
  • Always take the stairs
  • Carry your purchases instead of using a shopping cart, if possible
  • Turn your house cleaning into pumped up aerobic activity (Dance, skip and hop while you vacuum)
  • Flying somewhere? Take a jog around the airport.
  • Schedule training sessions now for throughout the holiday season.

Party but eat healthy and smart

That means eating more fruit, more protein, and less refined carbs. Interesting gossip going on over at the buffet? Stay away from the dangerous nibbling that goes on unconsciously. Sure go to the buffet line, but be sure when you leave, you are leaving with fresh veggies, lean meats ,and other lower calorie goodies.

  • Avoid the temptation at home and leave the candies in the store.
  • Become a dessert splitter. Those cupcakes are going to look great. Small, cute, only 500 calories!

Don’t deprive yourself, though. Allow yourself one small serving of your favorite treat and be as mindful as possible as you savor the look, taste, and aroma of your “must have” goodie.

It’s time to plan

Plan your eating before you go out and stick to your plan. People have all sorts of unhelpful, irrational thoughts about food, diet, and weight-loss especially around the holidays. “Watching what I eat should be easy.” “It’s not okay to waste food.” “There is nothing I can do to make cravings go away.” “I’ve already blown it so it doesn’t matter what else I eat.”

It’s important to ask yourself what evidence you have that any of these thoughts, or others you may have, are true. They aren’t. They are just thoughts. Before you go out armed with your food plan, have a strong counter response thought plan to each of your sabotaging, unhelpful thoughts and be sure you use them immediately.

What is your one tactic for sticking with routine during the holidays?

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D., Chief Behavioral Scientist

photo credit: Lululemon Athletica

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