3 Steps to Prevent Unhealthy Splurging During the Holidays

AA006903Making healthy choices shouldn’t stop because of a holiday, but we all can come up with creative excuses to put our health on hold.

“Being healthy is a lifelong endeavor,” said Wendi Spitzig, medical weight-loss coordinator for Memorial’s Weight Loss & Wellness Center. “You have to be aware every day, but holidays are greater challenges due to the increase in social activities.”

When the end-of-year holidays start to draw near, folks come up with all kinds of creative excuses. Among them:

  • It’s A-OK to overindulge in my favorite food because it only comes around once a year.
  • I will offend the hostess if I turn down the offered food.
  • I have to keep my home stocked with plenty of sweet goodies – just to be ready for unexpected company, of course.
  • I’ll just splurge a little today and start eating healthier tomorrow.
  • Everything looks and tastes so good. I can’t resist.

Spitzig suggested three steps to combat these excuses and maintain a healthy lifestyle to survive the holidays.

Plan ahead: Look at your schedule and decide which parties and activities you can attend and which ones you’ll have to pass on. Do the same thing by scheduling in your personal and family time and keep those priorities. The key, Spitzig says, is to not overload yourself.

“A lot of people feel guilty about saying no,” Spitzig said. “But it’s OK to choose the things you’re interested in pursuing.”

Exercise: Because of all the holiday hullabaloo – shopping in the day and parties in the evening – it’s oh-so-easy to fill your social calendar and skimp on your exercise routine.  Setting aside the physical health benefits, exercise can help you decrease stress and give you time to clear your head.

Make time for yourself: Give yourself time to relax and unwind, Spitzig said. That includes the basics of getting a good night’s sleep, eating right and drinking plenty of water. And don’t forget to do something for fun, like a new haircut or buying a new outfit.

And what about the holiday parties you do attend? How do you survive those?

Spitzig recommends scoping out the food at a holiday party and deciding what you’ll have before you pick up a plate. Otherwise, you may be tempted to load up.

And don’t skip meals before you go to a party or family gathering. It sounds like a great idea, but it’s a recipe for disaster.

 You’ll make much better, healthier choices,” Spitzig said.