Tuesday, June 28, 2022

How to Stay Well During the Holidays

 Staying well during the holidays

Holidays are full of festivities – family time, food, events, traveling, you name it. But sometimes, the holiday season can bring stress and anxiety when you’re trying to stick to healthy eating habits and a consistent exercise routine. The key to staying on track with your goals is to plan well in advance and get creative. We all know how hard it can be to set aside time for yourself during the holiday season, so try to infuse your good habits with your events.

Below are some simple and fun tips to get you through the holiday season without sacrificing healthy eating and exercise.


Pace Yourself & Eat Slow

Holiday meals bring excitement and eagerness to eat the beautiful assortments of savory and delicious food that you may only have once a year, which can ultimately lead to overeating. The key to avoiding this is to pace yourself and eat slow. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full and satisfied. Often times, when you eat fast, you’re likely to overeat and feel too full or sluggish.

To slow down during your meal, try and strike up conversations or take a few sips of water in between bites. That way, you’re taking pauses and realize you’re satisfied without feeling too full.


Drink a Glass of Water Before Your Meal

A great habit to start, even outside of the holiday season, is to drink a full glass of water 20-30 minutes before your meal. We often mistake feelings of hunger for feelings of thirst – so when you’re feeling hungry, you could just be thirsty.

Again, your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full, so drinking a full glass of water before your meal keeps you hydrated, avoids overeating, and helps your stomach digest food.



This tip is simple – eat your veggies first! By doing this, you’ll be sure to get your most important nutrients before digging into the other delicious items on your plate.


DON’T Skip Meals

A common misconception is to skip your regular meals in anticipation for a large meal later in the day or evening. Do your best to stick to your regular eating patterns until your big feast, even if that means having a light snack; like vegetables and hummus, for example. Skipping meals can affect energy levels, giving way to some mood swings, and setting you up to overeat.


Track Your Movement

Again, here’s another tip that’s useful year-round, but comes in handy during the holiday time. It’s easy to get wrapped up in holiday festivities and forget about exercise or moderate movement.

Using a fitness tracker can help you become more aware of your activity levels throughout the day. Most trackers will notify you if you’re below your normal activity levels, so don’t ignore those notifications and get moving!


Walk After Your Meal

Walking after a meal is another great habit that is useful year-round. A light walk will get you moving, helps aid digestion and combats feeling of sleepiness post eating.


Alternate Water & Alcohol

Around the holiday time, you’re more likely than not to see a holiday themed drink make an appearance. Fun drinks tend to contain more sugar. To help avoid a sugar crash and not stray too far from your healthy dietary habits, alternate between drinking water and alcohol. This will help you stay hydrated while consuming alcohol and reduce your sugar intake.


Think Creatively About Being Active

It can be difficult to set aside time for exercise, and most times, plans change. The best thing you can do to ensure active time during the holiday season is to get creative with it. The great thing about the holiday season is that, while it’s often a busy time, you’ll have more family or free time – so the tip here is to make the most of it and have some fun!


Family Time

The best part about family time is that there’s many ways to get the whole family together while getting in some light-moderate exercise. Here are some creative ideas to keep you moving:

  • Hike or Walk: If you’re in an area with a warmer climate, take the family outside for an easy hike or walk. While you’re getting your body moving, you’re also engaging in some great family time.
  • Kids: If you’re able, play with kids! Kids are always active and are bound to create a game that keeps everyone moving.
  • Dogs: Maybe your family is full of furry friends. Take the family dog for a walk, hike, swim or even play chase in the yard or house.
  • Sledding: If you’re in an area that has snow, take advantage of it and go sledding! You’ll most likely have to walk up a hill while carrying a sled, so you’re guaranteed to get your heart pumping with a leg and arm workout.


Holiday-Themed Events

A great thing about the holiday season is that you’re bound to see a fun activity pop up.

  • Fun Runs & Walks: There’s always some type of holiday themed run/walk. Get family or friends together to spend quality time together while getting exercise.


Home Activities

Sometimes, all you look forward to during the holiday season is sitting with the family and watching TV. Well, there are still fun activities you can do while watching TV. Here are some ideas:

  • TV/Movie checklists: Pick out a TV show or movie and make a list of things that could happen during the show/movie. Then, pair an exercise with each item. Here’s an example:
    • For the Movie “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”:
      • Every time the Grinch makes someone scream: 3 pushups
      • Every time the Grinch steals a present: 1 squat
    • Chair yoga: Don’t feel like getting up to do traditional yoga poses? Take a seat and do some chair yoga – you’ll still reap the benefits. Here’s a light read of the benefits of chair yoga.
    • Kitchen exercises: While you’re waiting for your favorite dish to cook, take the time standing in the kitchen and incorporate some easy exercises like:
      • Squats: Waiting for that pot of water to boil? Do some squats to pass the time and get your blood pumping.
      • Lunges: Do some lunges in place or walking lunges to get a nice core and lower body workout.
      • Table push-ups: Place your hands on the edge of the table or counter and do some up-right push-ups for an upper body workout.
      • Stairs: While you’re waiting for your food to cook, take a few minutes and walk up and down the stairs. You’ll get your heart pumping and feel the burn in your legs.
      • Walking: Take a few laps around the kitchen, house or backyard while you have some downtime between food preparation and mealtime.


We all know how important adequate sleep is for our daily lives, but it’s even more important during the holiday times. Holidays can be a time of stress, and the best way to fight feelings and side effects of stress, is to sleep. Also, the more sleep you get, the more energy you’ll have for activities and exercise, and less food cravings.

From Us to You

Happy holidays from all of us at Sun Health! By taking advantage of the tips listed in this article, you’ll be sure to adhere to your good habits and have a healthy and happy holiday season. Visit our website or contact us for additional information and resources on living an active and healthy life.



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