Holiday Balancing Act:
7  Strategies For Fun & Fit

What’s a wanna-be healthy person to do at the holidays? How about without guilt, or the backtracking on weight or fitness goals to keep you at your best and healthiest? On the work front, it could be tying up loose ends, tough when you or your coworkers have that ever distracted holiday mindset. More challenging yet are all those holiday treats brought in (did someone say fruitcake?).  Then there’s travel…or weather…interrupting any workout routine you’ve got going. Truly, I know!  We just returned from a week long trip to Michigan, where  I totally caved on my regular walks during 3 days of 40 degree rain – and those 24 hour non-stop drives did me no workout favors either!  And finally, the food, food, food, food.  Grinchy of me, I know, but so annoyingly, deliciously inviting, that roast beast and all its’ accompaniments!  Here are seven strategies to help you find balance in this next week with those ever so tempting situations:

Intention on Appetite
Know you’ll be facing a tempting array of high load deliciousness? Eat something heathy and satisfying an hour or two ahead of time so you can arrive at your event or meal without a huge appetite.  You’ll be far more discerning in both quantity and quality of the foods you enjoy, and far less likely to overeat.

Guiltless Good Stuff
Decadence is “IN” during the holiday weeks, and that’s not a bad thing….with a tiny bit of planning.  Your body recognizes that real butter and whole fat foods, and will satisfy more quickly with one bite of excellent quality foods than 10 bites of the cheaper stuff.  Enjoy without guilt – the planning is in taking small, slow bites that you take time to savor.  Much like that rather scant but artistically created food at the elite restaurants, you will satisfy tastebuds, stomach, and even your health with YUM!

Wait on Weight Loss
This is not the time to diet. Denial only breeds resentment and lack, which is not what we’re after at this time of year. Rather, look for reasonable balance in your food choices to simply maintain your body weight at this time.  Make your regular foods vegetable dense in quantity and quality, and allow those special seasonal foods to be included as planned ‘Add Ins’.

Working In/Working Out
No matter the weather or your time schedule, you can fit in some sort of movement.  If travel and overwhelming time commitments get in the way of that  30 or 60 minute workout, go for a few 5s or 10s.  Walks at any speed above a stroll are great, and in only 5 minutes you can raise your heart rate and wake up your circulation. Bad weather? Hit the stairs for some stepping, or grab a jump rope (or even do the moves with an imaginary one!  Or, hey, simply use that fitness ball for your chair when you sit! Toss in a plank or two to round out your 10 minutes and you’re good to go.  Even a daily workout of 30 minutes can be squeezed in by doing a few 5 or 10 minute increments.

Don’t Lose Your Snooze
Give a body a break and be sure to get that 7-8 hours of Zs in your 24.  We’ll focus on deeper details in January, but for now, use some evening wind-down off electronics, create a comfy relaxing sleep space, and allow the time.  It’s key to healthy metabolism and body function for good health, and cleansing us of seasonal excess foods, toxins, and stresses.

Drink and Be Merry
WATER, that is!  All systems will be GO if you maintain an intake of at least 1/2oz per pound of body weight (70 ounces of water if you weigh 140 pounds).  I like warmer drinks in winter so I actually warm my glasses of water a little to cut the chill.  Herbal tea counts. Coffee and booze don’t – in fact, for every ounce of those, add twice as many EXTRA ounces of water to allow your body to rehydrate.

We all manage our energy in different ways to ensure we’re able to keep on keepin’ on.  When we don’t, we are very likely to overeat or overdo, because we are too busy to listen to our body signals to tune into what it’s asking for and just try to satisfy with whatever we have in front of us.  So, take a moment to think of a couple ways that work best for YOU to recharge. For me, it’s water, 15 minutes of ‘me’ time, or a walk outdoors in the fresh air.  What bumps YOUR batteries best?  A short nap? Meditation? A jog around the block? Whatever it is, make it a priority to fit one of those into each day to feel and be at your optimal health and energy.

Stand on one foot. Try it! How many seconds can you balance? Did you notice all the adjustments your body makes to keep you balancing? Sometimes subtle, easy, or graceful, sometimes clumsy and awkward, balancing is not an act of perfection.  It’s a practice that helps us get better each time we try it. Make it fun (did you challenge someone else to try it yet?), make it a challenge (include it in your workout!), or see how smoothly you can incorporate these elements of balance into your healthy holiday week ahead.

Wishing You A Wonderful and Wonder-Filled Balance This Holiday

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