How to Stay Healthy Over the Holiday Season
Whether you are just starting the process of taking charge of your health or have been living the sugar-free life for a while now, the holidays can be a tricky time to navigate. Thankfully, knowing where you usually get distracted from your health goals, having a plan to deal with common holiday pitfalls, and having a sugar-free diet plan that still allows you to enjoy the holiday season to its fullest will set you up for success.
Health Is Wealth… Especially Over the Holidays
A smart way to kick off the holiday season is to get your priorities figured out. Then, you can remind yourself when holiday temptations arise that those things (such as your health, well-being, and FEELING good) are what matter. This means experiencing your holidays in a mindful way that helps contribute to those priorities rather than undermining them.
We know that sugar impacts your body in various negative ways (including mental fog, weight gain, increased disease risk, premature aging, and more), and that doesn’t change just because the calendar does. How many times have you reached the end of the holiday season and vowed to never go that hard again? This post-binge feeling is all too common, and most people are left with regrets rather than progress on their health journeys. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case, and you can still enjoy your holidays to the fullest while making minor tweaks to your routine.
Common Holiday Pitfalls
For a healthy, successful holiday season, it is important to identify common pitfalls and your own personal triggers. Common places where people lose sight of their goals include:
- The many holiday parties of the season
- Huge quantities of free treats at work
- Gifted treats that are full of sugar
- Endless holiday-themed drinks
- Walking through grocery stores with extensive holiday treat displays
- Generally justifying foods in types and quantities that go against your actual priorities in the name of holiday indulgence
In and of themselves, these things aren’t the end of the world, but indulging for 2 straight months rather than a few savored days tends to completely derail people.
The Best Thing You Can Do? Have a Plan
Knowing where you’re likely to lose sight of your health goals allows you to form a plan that will keep you safe from those pitfalls. Come up with a plan for each place you’re likely to lose track of what actually matters to you. For example:
- When baking at home, make healthier substitutions that give you just as much holiday satisfaction without all the unwanted sugar (try pecan pie bars, pumpkin cookies, or salted caramel bars!).
- Put temptations out of eyesight. At work, make sure that bowl of holiday candies isn’t in your direct line of sight, and try not to eat lunch in the break room that’s got plates of sugary treats up for grabs. At home, don’t bring foods that work against your goals into your space.
- At a party, sip and savor a sugar-free cranberry mojito sweetened with monkfruit instead of downing unlimited sugary holiday cocktails.
- Offer to bring delicious sugar-free alternatives when attending holiday parties so you’re not stuck with whatever the selection may be.
Take whatever situation you expect to be facing, and come up with a reasonable plan of action that allows you to enjoy yourself while putting your health and feeling your best first.
Indulge without Binging
Sticking to your health goals doesn’t mean you can’t indulge this holiday season. Finding healthy treat alternatives, choosing delicious recipes that aren’t laden with sugar, and coming up with a plan ahead of time will allow you to indulge without binging and creating regrets. A well-thought-out sugar-free diet plan allows you to enjoy holiday treats this season without sabotaging your health and well-being.