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Healthy Holidays

I made my last big post about local stuff happening in October for Halloween and now I'm back to discuss the big holiday health pull. We're stepping into the season for JUNK FOOD! I know at work we get a lot of food gift baskets, boxes of cookies, people bring in baked goods, etc. It can be a real kick in the pants to those of us who are trying to avoid all that stuff.

Personally, I've been trying to come out of the burnout that my former coaches put me in and it's starting to even out again. I think I managed to stave off most weight gain just by making healthy food choices, but I got hit with a short head cold, then a week at the gym, and then a week off due to the fact that my mom had covid. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't showing signs of symptoms before going back to the gym. Anyway, I do not have covid, but I TOTALLY was able to get my booster shot during that week away from the gym!

I decided to go back to a 2 day on-1 day off gym schedule rotation. It seems a little weird until you do it. That one day off is just enough to give you a little break without too much dead time. I also picked up a tanning package, so I'm going to start doing that as well. I think I'm also going to try adding in some extra cardio after work, just to see if that makes things happen a little faster.

Enough about me, let's talk about the holidays. I have some tips for staying on your game during the holidays. Some may work for you. Some might not.

Stern Skull's 10 Healthy Holiday Tips

  1. Holiday Workouts - If you're gym allows for it and if you're supposed to workout that day, just go do it. Do it early on the holiday or the holiday weekend and get it over with so you can enjoy the rest of the day. When I went to Planet Fitness, we didn't have the option of a holiday workout. The gym was just closed. I go to a locally-owned 24-hr gym, so you can go 24/7/365.

  2. Start Tanning - It's darker in the winter months, especially with where I live in Alaska. You don't have to tan for a long period of time, just like 6-10 minutes. We have a lot of vitamin D3 deficiency up here due to the tilt of the planet and tanning helps. If you get a little moody in the winter, try tanning. I like to do it after a workout and shower. It's a nice way to finish up, plus I don't look fish belly white all the time.

  3. Fruit & Veggie Chips - It's the time for snacking. One good way to deal with this is to make some fruit or veggie chips. You can find all sorts of directions out there on how to do this. I'll post some later. My favorites: plain apple chips, cinnamon apple chips, salt and pepper zucchini chips, olive oil and salt kale chips, plain pear chips, and banana chips.

  4. Crockpot meals - The holidays are a great time to do some crockpot cooking. I like to toss in a pork tenderloin with some water, beef or pork base, and veggies. As a single person, this sort of thing usually lasts me 4-5 meals. There are a lot of other crockpot options, so explore away. It's just nice to have a low effort hot meal.

  5. Charcuterie Boards - If you're going to a holiday party or having some people over make a charcuterie board. These are so fantastic because they are super customizable. I suggest looking on pinterest for ideas. A classic set up is: cheese pieces, meat pieces, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, and some chocolate. For Halloween I tried doing a black and orange board - which ended up being a big hit. I've seen some Christmas boards with a few Christmas cookies and truffles thrown on the board. There is so much you can do and have it be constructed with things you can eat!

  6. Don't Reprioritize - For some reason people like to reprioritize things around the holidays. Don't do it. Stay on your regular gym schedule. The world isn't going to fall apart because you decided to spend an hour at the gym instead of an extra hour in front of the tv or doing some crazy shopping on Black Friday (ridiculous). Tell everyone that your gym time is YOUR GYM TIME...okay, I don't usually make a big deal about it, I just do it and schedule around it - if I need to.

  7. Meal Prep - Sometimes you just get busy around the holidays. People are in town. You have to go do something with other people. This is a great time to meal prep. You can meal prep for the week. Make some easy grab-n-go meals that you don't have to worry about. Instead of being like "oh, I didn't make anything for dinner. Let me just hit this fast food place." you can just go home and pull out a meal you have ready. You know what's in it, you know you can have it, and you can eat it now (or maybe after you zap it in the microwave).

  8. Self-Care - Grab a friend and go get a pedicure. Take some time for a bath or a facial or a massage. This is something you can do alone or with others. Self-care can also help lower stress levels.

  9. Healthy Holiday Food - I'll have a post about this after Halloween since "the holidays" tend to refer to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Somehow Halloween slips out of that term, probably because we don't take a day off for it. Anyway, there are a lot of great foods to explore without loading up on sugar and other junk.

  10. Projects to Avoid Snacking - Mindless snacking can be the enemy around the holidays. Someone brings you a bag of "yogurt" coated snowflake-shaped pretzels and the next thing you know you're tossing the empty bag away. That bag o'carbs will set you back. What I find that helps are projects. I don't mind drinking water or tea while I'm engrossed in a project. I am less likely to reach for a snack. In fact, I find that usually when I start getting hungry it's about meal time. If you're watching a movie, you can still have a project going. Try drawing/doodling, painting, writing a story, knitting or crocheting, sculpting with clay, doing a puzzle, journaling, or even surfing the web for future planning of something - upcoming summer gardening or something.

Do you have any healthy holiday habits to share? Post in comments.

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