Even for the healthiest among us, it’s easy to fall into the anything-goes-during-the-holidays trap. We think the most successful holiday season involves balancing indulgence and enjoyment with keeping up our healthy habits, so we don’t find ourselves on January 1 thinking, “What just happened?”
We turned to Amanda Carneiro, an L.A.-based health coach and personal trainer, for her best tips for staying well during Thanksgiving and beyond.
1. DIY your favorites.
When it comes to Thanksgiving foods, “I’m definitely a sweets girl,” Carneiro says. “I do indulge in them, but only if they’re gluten-free and dairy-free. It’s not worth it for me, since I’ll feel so sick after eating gluten or dairy. So if there is something I really want, like mashed sweet potatoes or a sweet potato casserole, I’ll make it myself.”
2. Remember: It’s just a day.
“I think people tend to view Thanksgiving or any other holiday as a free-for-all,” Carneiro says. “They go crazy and eat everything they’ve ever wanted on Thanksgiving, which only makes them feel yucky the next day, which leads to more bad decisions. It’s a domino effect, and then it’s hard to get back on track. I stick to my normal routine as much as possible. Even though it’s a holiday, I treat it like any other day. I get my workout in, drink a ton of water, and eat my normal breakfast or intermittent fast.”
Read more: What’s the Deal with Intermittent Fasting?
3. Get your greens.
At the big meal, “I always make sure to load my plate up with a ton of vegetables,” she says. “I fill up on those first before indulging in anything else. I eat until I’m content, and then get right back to my normal routine and meals the next day.”
4. Look up from your plate.
“Focus on enjoying time with friends and family instead of on the food,” Carneiro advises.
Read more: 7 Steps to Eating More Mindfully
5. Take care of you.
“The holidays are definitely a stressful time, but they don’t have to be,” she says. “Make self-care a must rather than an option. Make sleep a priority. Make time to get your meditation or workout in, even a bath, or an hour to just chill and read a book. You don’t have to say yes to every party invitation you get, it’s okay to say no and stay home and take care of yourself. We’re no good to anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves first.”
Read more: 27 Expert Tips for 1-Minute Self-Care
6. Don’t put off good health.
“I think the people who are most successful in reaching their health goals are those who don’t say, ‘I’ll start when..,’ which is very typical this time of year,” Carneiro says. “Everyone is waiting until the first of the year to get a jump-start on their fitness or health. That never works. Start now, right this very second.”
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