How to Stay Healthy During Holidays
Year after year, it’s challenging to stay healthy during the holidays. Holidays have a tendency to derail the best of diets. Halloween candy, Thanksgiving binge-eating, New Year’s Eve champagne, Saint Patrick’s Day beers.
No matter the occasion, every month contains a handful of festivities that can pull us off the band wagon. This is how we manage to stay healthy during the holidays.
Let’s dive into our five tips…
how to stay healthy during holidays
Outside of the seasonal food, there is social normalcy to binge-eat and drink on many holidays. While surrounded by temptation, there are still ways to keep social and enjoy the holiday to the fullest without overdoing it.
In this article, we’ll share our best tips on how to keep fit and stay healthy over the holidays. Don’t worry, while we are health nuts, we never deprive ourselves of anything that brings us joy.
1. Counter Feasting with Intermittent Fasting
Feasting is part of the way we celebrate many modern-day holidays, from Thanksgiving to Chinese New Year. But, it’s never necessary, nor healthy, to eat until you feel like exploding.
In fact, your stomach is designed to hold about 1-1.5 liters of food before the urge to throw up kicks in. Still, it’s hard not to feast when there are mounds of delicious, home-cooked food served up. One way to combat this is by setting up limited feeding times.
Intermittent fasting is the trendiest health topic of 2019. While the word “fasting” sounds extreme, everyone has a natural pattern of eating and not-eating (aka when you sleep). The goal of intermittent fasting isn’t to change what you eat, but when you eat it.
Still, you eat the same amount of food but in a smaller time frame each day. With longer periods between meals, your body can process glucose and move onto burning fat. There are also lots of studies showing that intermittent fasting boosts energy, resets hormone levels, and even promotes longevity.
How To Do It:
Following intermittent fasting will help you control your eating so you can stay healthy during the holidays. The most common fasting protocol is 16/8. Meaning, food is consumed in an 8-hour window followed by a 16-hour fasting window. We believe this is the most sustainable plan.
Since we left our corporate jobs, we sleep around 9-hours a day, wake up, work out, eat breakfast around 11 AM, and finish dinner around 7 PM. The transition to this IF schedule was challenging, but very worth it. Start by easing into a tighter eating window and do your best to be consistent. It doesn’t have to be strict.
2. Leave the Leftovers
We grew up programmed to finish our plates and keep every smallest amount as leftovers. Yet, this can backfire over the holidays. If hosting, leave out doggy bags and encourage all guests to take as much food home with them as possible.
If all else fails and you find a week’s worth of unhealthy food in your refrigerator, bring the rest to your office, or, throw it out — Yup, straight into the trash. We hate wasting food too but do your body a favor and don’t consume the leftover supermarket sugar cookies or that Velveeta casserole buttered-up under Ritz crackers.
3. Water First and Veggies Second
We take this tip for staying healthy during holidays from Registered Dietician Nutritionist, Ilana Muhlstein. Her nutrition program recommends that you eat following this cycle:
- Finish your first plate of food
- Before going for your second, take some time to drink water first
- After that, load your plate with the next round of veggies
- Still hungry? Then progress to your proteins and carbohydrates.
Repeating this cycle will help make sure you’re filling up on quality vegetables and water before going over-the-top with extra calories. Additionally, hydration is critical to staying healthy during the holidays, especially since you might be drinking more alcohol.
It’s so important because water helps you get a better night’s sleep.
4. 10-Minute Workouts are Better than None
It’s essential to keep moving to stay healthy over the holidays. Even if your whole workout calendar derails with holiday travel, get 10-minutes of working out together each day.
It will make you feel better, and we all have 10 minutes between meals and family festivities. At home workouts, like the ones on Beachbody On Demand, are best since you won’t have time for the gym. Here’s an ab workout, try it out together!
If a workout doesn’t look to be in the cards, stay on your feet, practice these couple’s yoga positions, and avoid lounging on the couch!
5. First and Foremost, Enjoy the Holiday
To stay healthy over the holidays, it’s critical that you enjoy the holiday. Holidays are a time to relax, destress, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy much-needed sleep.
Be realistic about any fitness and nutrition goals you set. Don’t deprive yourselves of anything you enjoy and do your best to make smart choices. Our only advice here is to remember that you’re celebrating a holiday, not the whole month.
Our best recommendation is to work hard and save up for the big day(s)! Around the new year, make sure you have a system in place to keep your New Year’s Resolutions.
Lastly, cheers! It’s the holidays. It’s healthy to enjoy a few drinks in moderation and don’t feel guilty.
Share your best tip to stay healthy over the holidays in the comments below.
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Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “happiness engineers.” After eight years working as corporates engineers internationally, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — leading couples to engineer their best lives. The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.