How to Have a Healthy Holiday

Well, it's that time of year again! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Santas are already popping up in malls everywhere. The holiday season, for many, can be one of the hardest times when it comes to staying healthy. Tons of food, tummy-masking layers, and cold weather can all contribute to a downward slump in your healthy lifestyle. I'm here to tell you, it doesn't have to be that way! By following a few simple tips, you can be well on your way to your healthiest and happiest holiday season yet.

1. Get your beauty sleep

This is not the time for midnight pie baking or an all-night gift-wrapping marathon. You need to get your rest and I'm talking 8 hours, minimum. There is no way you can deal with culinary disasters or opinionated relatives if you're sleep deprived. Also, when you don't get enough sleep, your hormones get all out of wack, making you less than pleasant to be around and hungrier.

2. Deal with stress

What is supposed to be a happy time can quickly turn to a stressful one, especially if you're playing host to this year's festivities. Don't push those feelings down and let them eat you alive. You've got to find a healthy way to manage your stress so you can enjoy this time with your family and friends. For some, it might be taking a walk. For others, yoga or meditation may be the answer. Even just a few deep breaths might do the trick. There's no right or wrong. Just figure out what works for you and then do it!

3. Get a workout in

Make the time for yourself and get your pump on. Once you get that workout in, you'll automatically feel better for the rest of the day. Not only can this help counteract a few too many bites of your favorite dessert, but I find I eat better when I work out. Also, this could be your strategy for dealing with that stress we just talked about.

4. No deprivation, no gluttony

This is not the time to go on a diet. Being healthy is about a lifestyle and one or two days a year is not going to make or break you. With that said, this is not a free for all. Don't stuff yourself until you're about to burst or eat so many sweets you feel sick. Allow yourself to have some of your favorite treats and really enjoy and savor them. Mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth is not the answer. And remember, if you over-do it today you can make a different choice tomorrow. Don't allow one bad day turn into a bad week, a bad month, or a bad year. It's never about perfection and each day is your chance to choose your health destiny.

5. Put away leftovers

I can't tell you how many times I have eaten well at a holiday meal, only to be sabotaged by leftovers. Once the meal is over, get that food in the fridge. It's so easy to linger around the buffet or sneak back into the dining room for a bite of this and a bite of that. Before you know it, all that picking has turned into a second meal! Also, getting your body moving after you eat will get your digestion going and help prevent a food coma.

6. Remember what really matters

While much of our time during the holidays is spent obsessing over that perfect gift or a flawless meal, remember that all of those superficial things are not what this time of year is about. In the end, that special time with your family and friends is what really matters. Instead of making food the center of your celebration, shift the focus to those precious moments. A change in perspective can make all the difference.