by: Lisa Harrington
December is here, and for many, it is the most wonderful time of the year. However, when it comes to sticking to wellness goals during the month of December, sometimes we don’t make our smartest decisions. December is a challenge for all of us, routines are disrupted and old, unhealthy choices can come creeping in, making the wellness challenge ever trickier. Try following these 3 strategies to maintain healthy goals over the winter holidays.
- Identify Your Wellness Strengths and Weaknesses: We all have them, so take time to identify yours. Once you have considered that, then you can develop strategies to adapt and improvise; helping yourself achieve a happier, and healthier holiday outcome. For example, if you do not like walking in cold weather then perhaps you can put together a winter walking uniform that will keep you warm. Then give it a name, like “Mom’s Indomitable Snowman Suit” and enjoy bringing your family or friends a few smiles every time you engage in your physical activity goals! Use your imagination!
If you know that baked goods with added sugars/fats are your pitfall, then you might offer to bring a healthier (but still tasty!) tray to work and family gatherings. A small, smart decision like this leads to other daily, small smart decisions on health. And you are most likely going to give in to a craving, either with too little movement, or too much food. It’s alright; just know that you can get back on track with your next smart, healthy decision!
- Watch Portions Closer than Ever: Portion control is the best way to still have a little fun with food while focusing on your health so that you will be around to enjoy many more holidays! Look for smaller sized plates or spread your food selections out on a larger plate. Focus more on the people and conversations at food gatherings and eat slower, savoring every bite. Think, “less is more” with certain holiday favorites. Take sample size bites of the starchy foods, such as casseroles, stuffing and rolls and share desserts with another person. Take a breath and think through your portions—you can do this!
- Be Present in the Moment: Do not wait until January to pick back up on your health and wellness goals. Diet and lifestyle change is an ongoing process—think of it as slowly un-locking a part of you that is trying to break out and exist. We all have some capacity to fill our mouths with more nutritious foods or lead more active lifestyles, so it is up to each of us to give that person within us a chance to live. Do not lock your healthy, active self away until next month. December can, in fact be one of the most wonderful times of the year! So bring your best self out now to engage with your family, play with your friends and serve your community.
Remember, we want to help you achieve your nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle goals—this December and all throughout the year! Now get out there and make it a happy, healthy holiday!