Simple Solutions for Happier, Healthier Holidays

Guest blog by: +Elizabeth Lotts writer for

Do you feel full just thinking about holiday feasts? Don’t you wish for a way to stay fit and healthy, despite all the “stuffing”? Well, put down the fork and pick up a pen, because we have all the dos and don’ts you’ll want to follow. With these tips added to the holiday agenda, the only thing you’ll feel full of is victory!

DO…Take advantage of time off from work to sleep more and exercise longer. The beauty of having a day or two off from work is that you don’t have to wake up for the 5:30 a.m. spin class. But it doesn’t mean you should slack off, either. In fact, use those extra hours to stay active throughout the whole day – just 10 minutes here and there will do.

DO…Find a local race to keep you motivated (and moving!) Fall typically brings the perfect weather for running. Regardless of your fitness level, this time of year is abuzz with holiday-themed events, particularly jingle bell 5Ks, charity bike rides and the like. Committing to an event will help ensure you don’t miss a workout. Besides, accomplishing your goals will help lift your spirits as the holiday hub-bub ensues.

Do…Substitute for simpler, better ingredients. Holiday cooking can be loaded with unnecessary saturated fat, sugar galore and mountains of salt. Trim the fat when you can by using coconut oil in place of butter. Try low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise in deviled eggs and potato salad. And skip the extra dash of salt, especially if dishes already contain sodium.

DON’T…Feel guilty about saying “no.” Some things are irresistible, especially when they’re homemade or involve family and friends. Unfortunately, not all temptations are worth their price. Even though you’re a social butterfly, you may not be able to make every holiday party you’re invited to. Don’t sweat it; there’s always next year. Same goes for Aunt Jo’s candied pecans. Dessert doesn’t have to be off-limits, but choose your favorite and stick to a single serving. You’ll be more satisfied choosing the things you really want instead of killing yourself trying to please everyone else.

DON’T…Let stress get the best of you. Cooking, decorating, wrapping, traveling, socializing…the list goes on. It can become overwhelming for anyone. But stressing can pack on the pounds and leave you moody and fatigued. Break the vicious cycle by scheduling time to focus on your own health. Exercise is a great place to start, because it boosts feel-good endorphins and helps you release any pent-up frustration.

DON’T…Underestimate calories in. Keep a food journal to track each morsel of mashed potatoes, so you can avoid overeating. Writing down what and how much you consume translates to mindful eating. This kind of practice can give you a greater appreciation for how food nourishes (or upsets) your body.

Isn’t the taste of victory sweet enough?

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