Practice These Healthy Holiday Habits

Practice These Healthy Holiday Habits

You've worked hard all year - hello, 6 a.m. spin class - and completing your fitness goal is just on the horizon.

Now, it's time for holiday parties filled with calorie-laden drinks, dinners and lots of desserts. Don't fret, says Simon Mentzer, a fitness coach at the TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion. Follow these simple tricks to keep your health on track.

1. Plan Ahead

"The first thing I tell my clients is 'Failing to prepare is preparing to fail,'" Mentzer says. Since you already know ahead of time you're going to be attending parties with poor food choices, planning prior is huge.

Whether it's squeezing in a quick workout ahead of time or focusing on healthy food choices in the days leading up to the party, it'll help keep up the healthy habits you've already formed.

2. Work Out Everyday

This doesn't mean it needs to be an hour-long sweat session, Mentzer points out. He says 20 minutes is enough.

Mentzer suggests picking four exercises, such as push-ups, squats, lunges and crunches and performing each exercise for 30 seconds with 20-second breaks in between. Repeat until you've reached your allotted time.

3. Make Social Activities Fitness-Related, When Possible

During the holidays, most social activities tend to revolve around food and drinks. If you're meeting up with friends and one of them likes to be active, Mentzer suggests bringing them along to your favorite fitness class or to participate in other physical activities.

Coordinating get-togethers at an outdoor venue can help you remain active. Walking around a holiday light show, ice skating on Fountain Square, or taking part in something more extreme like snowboarding, skiing or tubing, are always great options to enjoy the holiday spirit while keeping fit.

"Cincinnati has so many great parks, so it's a great opportunity to experience one of those," he points out. "Just trying to move more than you did yesterday is always a good idea."

4. Control Your Consumption on Big Meal Days

"If you know you're going to have a big meal for dinner, I'd try to eat high-protein foods in the morning, whether it's eggs or cottage cheese, or something like that," Mentzer explains. This way, you're saving your high-carbohydrate foods for dinner when you know there will be an abundance of bread and mashed potatoes.

You can also practice the following tips to help control eating during holiday gatherings:

  • Don't skip meals
  • Eat slowly
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Walk between dinner and dessert
  • Include fresh fruits/vegetables when eating
  • Focus on family and not just food

5. Just Eat the Dessert (in Moderation)

If you have control over the menu, fresh fruit salad, trail mix or even a yogurt parfait are a few ways to enjoy sweets this holiday without all of the added sugar. However, if your family's heart is set on the traditional Christmas pie or hazelnut chocolate cake, simply try to limit your portion size.

"There's no such thing as a healthy dessert. That kind of defeats the purpose," Mentzer laughs. "Just don't go back for seconds." He believes in the 90-10 rule, which means you eat right 90 percent of the time and ease up during the other 10 percent.

6. Start Your New Year's Resolution Early

Everyone tends to wait until January to start their resolution, especially if it pertains to weight loss. Don't hesitate, Mentzer says.

Don't put yourself in a hole from eating poorly over the holidays, he says. "It's going to be twice as tough to get out."

Tags Nutrition and Eating , Wellness and Fitness