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Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

by Naina Pai

December 11, 2017

The​ ​weather​ ​is​ ​dropping​ ​below​ ​40,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​seem​ ​to​ ​be​ ​having more​ ​darkness​ ​than​ ​light.​ ​The​ ​shining​ ​beacon​ ​getting​ ​us​ ​through​ ​this​ ​rough​ ​transition​ ​between fall​ ​and​ ​winter​ ​is​ ​the​ ​holiday​ ​season.​ ​If​ ​your​ ​family​ ​is​ ​like​ ​mine,​ ​December​ ​means​ ​a​ ​whole​ ​month of​ ​delicious​ ​food,​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​highlights​ ​including​ ​homemade​ ​sugar​ ​cookies,​ ​pumpkin-spice cupcakes,​ ​and​ ​about​ ​twenty​ ​different​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​pie.​ ​The​ ​temptation​ ​of​ ​sugary​ ​treats​ ​is​ ​only​ ​made worse​ ​by​ ​the​ ​cold​ ​weather,​ ​which​ ​forces​ ​us​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​more​ ​time​ ​indoors.​ ​I,​ ​myself,​ ​am​ ​extremely guilty​ ​of​ ​taking​ ​the​ ​dreaded​ ​Holiday​ ​Hiatus​ ​from​ ​working​ ​out​ ​and​ ​eating​ ​right.​ ​Every​ ​single​ ​year, without​ ​fail,​ ​I​ ​trick​ ​myself​ ​into​ ​believing​ ​absurdities​ ​such​ ​as​ ​“Christmas​ ​calories​ ​don’t​ ​count,”​ ​or​ ​“I can​ ​decorate​ ​cookies​ ​without​ ​eating​ ​them.”​ ​They​ ​count​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can’t.​ ​Here​ ​are​ ​some​ ​tips​ ​to​ ​try​ ​if you​ ​too​ ​have​ ​trouble​ ​sticking​ ​to​ ​your​ ​fitness​ ​regimen​ ​during​ ​the​ ​festive​ ​season.

Swap​ ​traditional​ ​treats​ ​for​ ​healthier​ ​alternatives:

There’s​ ​nothing​ ​worse​ ​than​ ​watching​ ​your​ ​whole​ ​family​ ​baking​ ​chocolate​ ​chip​ ​cookies​ ​together like​ ​they’re​ ​in​ ​a​ ​Pillsbury​ ​commercial​ ​while​ ​you​ ​grouchily​ ​sit​ ​on​ ​the​ ​sidelines​ ​eating​ ​a​ ​stick​ ​of celery.​ ​Don’t​ ​completely​ ​taking​ ​yourself​ ​out​ ​of​ ​food-related​ ​activities,​ ​try​ ​and​ ​make​ ​some healthier​ ​substitutions.​ ​Use​ ​whole​ ​wheat​ ​flour​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​white,​ ​and​ ​try​ ​coconut​ ​sugar​ ​instead​ ​of refined​ ​sugar.​ ​Even​ ​if​ ​you​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​dietary​ ​restrictions,​ ​search​ ​for​ ​gluten-free​ ​and​ ​vegan recipes​ ​anyway;​ ​Google​ ​has​ ​plenty!​ ​You​ ​won’t​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​tell​ ​the​ ​difference,​ ​and​ ​eating​ ​desserts guilt-free​ ​makes​ ​them​ ​taste​ ​even​ ​sweeter! 

Find​ ​other​ ​activities​ ​that​ ​don’t​ ​involve​ ​food:

Don’t​ ​make​ ​everything​ ​an​ ​eating​ ​parade.​ ​There’s​ ​something​ ​about​ ​the​ ​holiday​ ​season​ ​that​ ​just makes​ ​every​ ​single​ ​activity​ ​food-related.​ ​I​ ​try​ ​and​ ​avoid​ ​planning​ ​things​ ​like​ ​gingerbread​ ​house making​ ​or​ ​cookie​ ​decorating​ ​parties​ ​because​ ​I​ ​usually​ ​end​ ​up​ ​eating​ ​a​ ​ton​ ​of​ ​sugar​ ​I​ ​normally wouldn’t.​ ​Now,​ ​one​ ​or​ ​two​ ​of​ ​these​ ​a​ ​holiday​ ​season​ ​are​ ​definitely​ ​fine​ ​--​ ​they’re​ ​a​ ​tradition!​ ​But go​ ​to​ ​one​ ​every​ ​single​ ​weekend​ ​and​ ​you​ ​can​ ​see​ ​how​ ​that​ ​can​ ​become​ ​a​ ​problem.​ ​Winter​ ​is​ ​full of​ ​unique​ ​activities​ ​that​ ​you​ ​can​ ​only​ ​do​ ​this​ ​time​ ​of​ ​year,​ ​try​ ​to​ ​find​ ​the​ ​ones​ ​that​ ​are​ ​more active,​ ​like​ ​ice​ ​skating,​ ​sledding,​ ​or​ ​skiing.​ ​You​ ​won’t​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​you’re​ ​missing​ ​out​ ​on​ ​the​ ​holiday with​ ​the​ ​added​ ​bonus​ ​of​ ​getting​ ​your​ ​body​ ​moving. 

Plan​ ​a​ ​vacation:

Ok,​ ​so​ ​I’m​ ​not​ ​saying​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to​ ​fly​ ​yourself​ ​first​ ​class​ ​to​ ​Saint-Tropez​ ​(if​ ​you​ ​do,​ ​can​ ​I​ ​come?), but​ ​I​ ​find​ ​maintaining​ ​my​ ​fitness​ ​regimen​ ​is​ ​WAY​ ​easier​ ​when​ ​I​ ​have​ ​an​ ​event​ ​coming​ ​up​ ​that​ ​I want​ ​to​ ​look​ ​especially​ ​good​ ​for.​ ​The​ ​winter​ ​season​ ​is​ ​very​ ​forgiving​ ​fitness-wise,​ ​with​ ​its​ ​chunky sweaters​ ​and​ ​puffy​ ​overcoats.​ ​Sometimes​ ​you​ ​aren’t​ ​deliberately​ ​going​ ​against​ ​your​ ​health​ ​plan --​ ​you​ ​just​ ​have​ ​trouble​ ​remembering​ ​without​ ​short​ ​shorts​ ​and​ ​crop​ ​tops​ ​to​ ​remind​ ​you​ ​every day.​ ​Take​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​days​ ​off​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​somewhere​ ​warm,​ ​or​ ​plan​ ​a​ ​spa​ ​weekend​ ​with​ ​your​ ​girls somewhere​ ​closeby.​ ​All​ ​I’m​ ​saying​ ​is​ ​that​ ​it’s​ ​much​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​decline​ ​that​ ​third​ ​slice​ ​of​ ​cake today​ ​when​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to​ ​wear​ ​a​ ​bikini​ ​next​ ​week. 

Don’t​ ​procrastinate​ ​your​ ​health​ ​goals: 

I​ ​think​ ​the​ ​hardest​ ​part​ ​of​ ​maintaining​ ​a​ ​healthy​ ​lifestyle​ ​during​ ​the​ ​holiday​ ​months​ ​is​ ​that​ ​it’s​ ​the end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year.​ ​We​ ​all​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​we’ve​ ​worked​ ​hard​ ​and​ ​deserve​ ​a​ ​break,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​totally​ ​do!​ ​But don’t​ ​fall​ ​victim​ ​to​ ​“I’ll​ ​start​ ​in​ ​the​ ​New​ ​Year”​ ​syndrome.​ ​Your​ ​body​ ​doesn’t​ ​know​ ​about​ ​winter vacation​ ​--​ ​all​ ​that​ ​happens​ ​when​ ​you​ ​take​ ​a​ ​fitness​ ​hiatus​ ​during​ ​the​ ​break​ ​is​ ​that​ ​you​ ​start gaining​ ​weight​ ​and​ ​losing​ ​tone.​ ​Remind​ ​yourself​ ​how​ ​close​ ​spring​ ​break​ ​is,​ ​and​ ​how​ ​every​ ​year the​ ​summer​ ​sneaks​ ​up​ ​so​ ​quickly.​ ​When​ ​they​ ​inevitably​ ​come,​ ​you’ll​ ​thank​ ​yourself​ ​for​ ​staying healthy​ ​in​ ​the​ ​winter​ ​months

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