How simple were the holidays when wall we had to do was wake up before our parents, wake their butts up, unwrap presents and eat whatever was in front of us?

Now, there’s a lot more to think about when it comes to the holidays, and it’s a heck of a lot harder to bounce back from the sugar high that is cookies, chocolate covered stuff, pumpkin pie, cranberry fluff, fruit cake (there must be someone out there who eats that stuff, right?!) and comfort foods.

I’m not perfect and I definitely don’t stick with a strict meal plan on holidays – life is all about balance and sometimes I weigh my plate down with tasties just like the rest of you!

But there IS a way to leave the holidays feeling happy AND healthy, to enjoy your pie and not pack on the pounds. Here are a few of my tips that I have learned, picked up and/or practice myself that will help!

  1. Possibly the best advice I’ve ever heard is keep the celebration to one day.
    • Leftovers are amazing, but one day of potatoes and gravy is a lot different than seven days. Enjoy yourself, and move on. If you want some leftovers, limit yourself and send the rest off with the others because while it tastes good now, long term the heavy foods will bring you down. Let the holiday be the highlight and bow out with style – no need to make it a marathon sprint away from your goals.
  2. Stop excusing yourself.
    • We’re all busy. But since when does busy mean you completely ignore everything your body needs? If you can’t do a full workout, try breaking it up into 10 minute increments or finding a 15-minute HIIT workout online or through Beachbody On Demand you can do before you shower. Busy isn’t an excuse the rest of the year, so it shouldn’t be during the holidays either. If you have a planned workout, get it done. If you have a planned rest, take 10 minutes to stretch, or soak in the tub or meditate or whatever it is that you do to rest.
  3. Put a cap on the drinks and alternate with water.
    • One of the easiest ways to go off the deep end with calories is by drinking them… and then eating more to soak them up. Decide in advance what an appropriate amount of drinks is, and stick with it! Alternate drinks with water and you may just fill up before you hit the limit, and avoid the loss of all inhibitions.
  4. Eat before you go.
    • I know my family always has a veggie tray at our holidays, but when hangry hits we know that’s not what we reach for. I try to always have a healthy filling breakfast with protein or grab a Shakeology before I go to an event. That always helps me avoid the hors d’oeuvres and save room for the main event.
  5. Be “that girl” (or guy) who brings a healthy option.
    • It’s ok! Chances are someone else wants some healthy options too, but they’re too afraid to break the norm, speak up or seem some sort of way. But you know what? Chances are you are gathering with people you care about — so you probably want them to live healthy and happy, yeah? Be that girl. Be that guy. Bring the veggie tray. Or find a fun healthy recipe that shows people that healthy can be tasty too.
  6. Don’t be a helicopter.
    • Grab your food and sit your butt down. Don’t hover around the buffet with your toothpick ready to grab cheese and roni whenever your plate clears. Select your food and leave. In this case, dine and dash is perfectly acceptable.
  7. Scoop the veggies first.
    • Instead of filling your plate with a bunch and realizing you don’t have any room for salad – start there! You’ll still get a taste of everything, but it might reduce the portions and create a more balanced plate for you. Your body will thank you.
  8. Walk it out.
    • Head out after you’ve eaten! Take a walk, throw a ball, play football in the front yard. If it’s snowy, build a snowman or challenge the kids to a snowball fight. Grab a stick and puck and head out to the nearest pond for some pickup! Whatever you do, get moving and invite as many people to tag along as possible. It’s good for you!
  9. Sign up for a race.
    • Why not decide together at your gathering to do a family challenge? Use the get-together as your own personal platform to recruit for a new years day 5K run/walk or an event later in January! It’ll be fun, and give you something healthy to talk about and look forward too.

Do you have more tips? Share them in the comments!

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