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Who does not want to be healthy and eat without feeling guilty for having eaten more on holidays?

The holiday season is usually occupied by days of gatherings with family and friends while enjoying all of the traditional holiday food. From family recipes to drinks with friends, the holidays can lead us to lose healthy eating habits. It is something completely normal that has happened to all of us at some point in our lives.

The Y is here to help keep you on track with healthy living habits. Our Healthy Living Executive Director, Paul McKim, has put together 10 tips to stay healthy in the holiday season.

10 Tips to Stay Healthy in the Holiday Seasons

  1. Visit your friends at the Y:
  2. Friends with similar health goals can help us all survive the holiday season. Enjoy the company of friends and a few laughs! Laughter reduces stress levels and burns calories.

  3. Don’t try to lose weight:
  4. Trying to lose weight during the holidays only adds stress to what can already be a stressful time of year. Enjoy yourself, make healthier decisions because you want to, not because of a weight lose goal. Avoiding weight gain is the key to success during the holiday season.

  5. Avoid the extra:
  6. If you are being good and eating off the vegetable tray, don’t mess it up with the dips. Ranch dressing and cheese dips are loaded with calories, and lots of times you might have been happier and had fewer calories just eating a couple bites of the pumpkin pie. Avoiding all the sauces and gravy that goes with holiday meals is another way to save calories and enjoy January much more.

  7. Drink your water:
  8. Water is always important, but over the holidays, we tend to over consume on so much. Avoid adding more calories with liquids. Water can also help you feel full sooner when you start eating and be sure to have a glass of water during the meal to help slow down and enjoy the food. Staying hydrated helps your body function at its best and deal with any extra junk you might consume.

  9. Let go of perfect:
  10. Your perfect workout is not always going to happen, so instead of skipping a workout when short on time, remember something is better than nothing. You can always increase the intensity of your workouts when short on time and keep the calorie burn high.

  11. Enjoy active family/friend time:
  12. Along with enjoying food and company, see if you can incorporate a walk with your family or friends, before or after the meal. Being together and sharing memories is what is most important, but adding a physical activity can benefit you and your loved ones . Active games are another great way to spend time with loved ones during the holiday season. Even games like corn hole and badminton will get you up and moving and not just sitting in front of the treats on the table.

  13. Be mindful:
  14. Enjoy all five senses with holiday foods and remember to pay attention to your body and the feeling of being full. You will enjoy the experience more if you are not stuffed at the end of the meal or party.

  15. It’s okay to say “no, thank you”:
  16. Holidays bring pressure to try this desert or take seconds of a special recipe. It is okay to enjoy foods you want without feeling obligated to eat seconds or have a cookie just because a family member spent all day baking cookies to bring it to work. You can always be fine with one serving and complement how good it is without having to clean your plate or get seconds. You can also save the cookie for later.

  17. Avoid the diet mentality:
  18. Aim to eat regular meals. Skipping meals to “save calories” is likely to cause overeating and overall greater calorie consumption.

  19. Have a plan and adjust:
  20. Schedule your workout time. Having workouts on your calendar make it more likely for them to be completed. Utilize planning to create an eating schedule, and measure out only one serving to eat during your meals. Meet your water intake goals by consistently drinking water throughout the day. Always have a plan before you go into the struggle of holiday food and parties. It’s difficult to stay focused on your goals during this time of the year but remind yourself to enjoy in moderation and plan out healthy meals to balance the holiday treats.

Establish Healthy Habits with the Y

At the Valley of the Sun YMCA, we are committed in improving our community’s health and well-being by offering support, guidance, resources, facilities and expertise. We want you to enjoy the holiday seasons in a healthier spirit, mind, and body

Are you a member of the Y? Learn more about our schedule, virtual Y or programs.

Wanting to give a try to the Y? Get the free guest pass and enjoy of our programs for a week!

Share your Healthy Journey at the Y with us!

If you have a healthy journey story at the Y, and you would like to share it with us, reach out to our Community Relations Coordinator, Clary Tanner!