The 2017-2018 Holiday Survival Guide

by Kayla

The holiday season. It can be such a wonderful time of the year! There are plenty of opportunities to get into the holiday spirit between the community events, the work parties, and family and friend celebrations. Oh, and we have to live our normal and busy everyday lives in that mix too! With all of the extra activities we need to extend ourselves to get to and all of the food and drink temptations we are surrounded by, it is important to remember to take care of ourselves during this season, no matter where you are on your journey in health.

Many of us are aware that this season has the potential to be not so great for our waistlines, but did you know that hospital admissions actually go up during this season? This is especially a risk for our community members that have chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and many others. The potential stress of the travel and preparation for the holiday, the increased intake of those not so healthy foods, and lack of exercise can put us at risk for not fulfilling our goals of where we want to be in our health, whether that is somewhere between being able to fit into those jeans after the season or staying out of the hospital. Be sure to follow this Holiday Survival Guide:

1.       Create an Eating and Drinking Game Plan…and own it!

  • If you still want to enjoy the food and drinks that come with the holiday season, but want to avoid that nasty feeling from overeating, plan to stay on track using this Hunger Fullness Scale. Wait to eat until you are at level 3 or 4. Enjoy your food and eat slowly, be sure to stop once you reach level 7.

  • If you want to make sure you have the dessert that is served, use another food as “swapportunity.” For example, pass on the roll served at dinner or the mashed potatoes so you can have a couple of the frosted cut out cookies for dessert.
  • If you are really trying to stay on track with your goals and nutrition plan, try eating before you go to the party. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Be prepared by bringing our own water bottle, just in case! Check in with the party host before the party and see what is being served so you can see what foods will allow you to stick to your plan, so you can stay full and not be as tempted by the cookie tray. If needed bring your own snacks, or bring enough of your healthy snack for everyone to enjoy!

2.       Schedule Time to Move

  • Keeping up with your exercise routine not only helps you keep on track with your fitness and health goals, but it also relieves some of the stress that comes along with this time of year. It might help you to step away from the madness and take some time for yourself. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you are moving and your heart is pumping a little faster than normal you’ve hit the jackpot.
  • Try looking at the week ahead of you, and literally write in your time to exercise in your schedule. Own that time slot you set for your exercise like that stocking that has your name on it!
  • Can’t hit the gym? That’s ok! Try this at home, at the rest-stop, or at your Grandma’s house; Do 12 rounds of 20 seconds of movement followed by 10 seconds of rest alternating between these three movements.

             A) Squats or Sit-to-Stands from a chair

             B) Push-ups or wall push-ups

             C) Jumping Jacks or High Knee Raises

The whole thing takes 6 minutes; you will effectively engage all major muscle groups and increase your heart rate! **Move within your limits, alter the amount of time if needed, and be sure to consult your doctor if you are unsure if you are unsure of whether or not you should complete an exercise routine.**

3.       Triage Your Activities and Obligations

  • We all have them, those events that we really just don’t want to go to, but feel like we should. If your list of extra activities is making you feel overwhelmed (seriously, write all of them out). Check out the list and prioritize which ones bring you the most joy versus the ones that you could really do without, then respectfully decline the invitation. If there are still one or two things on the list that absolutely have to happen, do what you can to modify your mindset about them. Think about the things that could come out of them that contribute to the fulfillment your core values. Try not to Should on Yourself this season!

Whatever your goals are for your health this holiday season, you’ve got this! Do what you can to stay on track. If you find yourself falling to temptation or even in the aftermath of temptation, then just saddle back up ladies and gentlemen and get back on track! Happy Holidays!


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