This guest blog post was written by Gia Fey, a fitness trainer and AHA volunteer.
If you have trouble maintaining healthy habits during the winter, you’re not alone. There may be more parties, more chances to stay out late and more comfort foods to tempt you. It’s important to enjoy this magical time of year but also to find balance. Here are some tips for staying healthy through the holidays.
Enjoy good sleep.
The holiday season can be demanding. When your batteries are low, you’re more susceptible to the winter blues, which can lead to emotional eating.
When you don’t get enough rest, your body releases a hormone that can make you crave more sugar, so try to get plenty of sleep. Sometimes that means staying home to recharge and saying “no thanks!” to another social obligation.
Fuel your body with supportive foods.
Be fair to your body. Yes, you can get away with a few added treats, but moderation is key. (It’s all fun and games until your jeans don’t fit anymore!)
Focus on supportive foods that can help you maintain your weight and prevent constipation. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables daily. And don’t forget protein-rich foods with good fats, such as fish and almonds. These foods signal your brain that you’re full and will help prevent overeating at holiday parties or during travel.
Exercise and meditate.
Take time to exercise at least 20 minutes a day. The holiday season can bring depression, and physical activity can help fight it. When it’s too cold to be active outside, try exercising at home with a video. There are tons of great YouTube workout channels that make it easy to keep your body fit at home for free. You don’t have to go to the gym for a good workout.
And consider meditating at least five minutes a day to improve your focus and help keep the blues away.
Be kind to yourself.
A kind inner voice and positive self-talk can help you make better choices. Being healthy for good is a journey. When you stumble, make sure to learn how you can do better next time.
Be aware of the habits you want to reinforce each day. Stand in front of the mirror for a couple of minutes in the morning and tell yourself, “I love you and this is what we are working on today.” It will feel silly at first, but it may be one of the most important things you can do each day to live a healthier and happier life.
Don’t wait for New Year’s resolutions to start (and keep) healthy habits. The time is now! Your health is your wealth.
What key habit do you want to focus on this season? Sleeping more? Eating more fruits and veggies? Practicing positive self-talk? Wherever your focus goes, your energy will follow.
Take our survey and tell us what your biggest challenge is for being healthy over the holidays, and get instant tips and solutions.
Gia Fey is a fitness trainer with a bilingual YouTube Channel, Body By Gia, that helps people get in shape.