10 Tips & Tricks to Stay Healthy Around the Holidays

Person choosing to eat broccoli during holiday feast

The holidays are a funny time — they evoke feelings of warmth and nostalgia, but overload our social calendars; they bring us together with old friends and extended family, but may bring up some pretty thorny issues; fill our bellies with scrumptious goodness, but throw us off our diets entirely. Now, we can’t do much about your busy schedule, or that intense argument with uncle Stan. But that last one, having all your hard work and discipline replaced by overindulgence and post-pie lethargy, yeah — we can do something about that one. 

So many of us tend to fall off the workout wagon the second the holidays roll around, it almost seems to be a part of our yearly tradition. And that’s a darn shame, because it puts us right back into the hamster wheel of fit and unfit, healthy and unhealthy, proud and ashamed. This year, we want to help you break the cycle, to keep the gains you’ve achieved and continue pressing on towards your health and fitness goals — despite all those cookies Nana Marjorie throws your way. 

So go ahead, Nana, do your worst. Because here comes our tips and tricks to stay fit and healthy around the holidays!

Water Up!

Let’s start with a simple one — agua! Water is not only a life-sustaining necessity, it’s also your best friend when faced with the buffet table. Make a mental note to drink a glass of water after eating or drinking anything. Finished your beer? Glass of water. Finished the appetizers? Glass of water. The effect of this is two-fold: first, you’ll be filling yourself up; and second, your glass of water is a mini-pause to help center your mind and bring you back towards making healthy choices. 

Balance Your Belly

You know those people who snack on protein bars when you’re about to sit down at the finest French restaurant in town? Yeah, don’t do that. When your g-ma slaved all day in the kitchen to produce her famous pumpkin pie, we want you to dig in with abandon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t craft your eating habits earlier in the day around that. If you know you’re heading to a decadent and delicious dinner, eat lighter, healthier foods throughout the day. And lose the guilt. 

But First, Veggies

So you’re staring at a beautiful smorgasbord of rich holiday treats. No problem, just go for the healthy stuff, first. Find your nearest brussels sprout, leafy greens, or even baked potato and munch on that first. By the time you get to the triple-candied yams, you’ll have a solid base of healthy food inside of you, and you’ll just be eating those high-octane dishes for the taste of it, not for sustenance.

Slow Down

We know you’ve heard this before. But there’s a reason it’s a cliche — it works! Slowing down is an excellent way to curb your appetite, make conscious decisions about what you’re shoveling in your gullet, and ultimately, help you stay aware of how full you actually are. We don’t care if you need to count your bites, or take deep breaths before and after your next bite – whatever gets you to decelerate, do that thing.

Image of a thanksgiving plate with extra turkey slices

Choose Wisely, Choose Protein

When you do get to your main course (and try to skip past the heavy appetizers), aim for something with higher protein content. Protein is not only good for muscle building, it also gets us fuller for longer. So grab a drumstick, a chicken breast, a deviled egg, or a slice of tofurkey loaf — get your protein in before moving onto the more calorie-laden stuff. 

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Study Up

Knowledge is power, right? Well knowledge of calorie counts in holiday foods is also pretty powerful, too! Before you leave for a holiday feast, do a quick internet search for the approximate calories of popular holiday dishes. You don’t want to be adding things up at the table (another faux pas) but before you get there, get yourself a general sense of what things are loaded with, which may unconsciously help you make smarter choices.

Sleep It Off

The holidays come with office parties, local meetups, and family functions — plus about a hundred other social engagements you can never see coming. But all of this busyness can soon add up, leaving you overstressed and under-relaxed. One of the most often overlooked aspects of a solid health and fitness regimen is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. So while the holidays are going on, make a point to get in a solid 7-8 hours a night. 

Family playing a soccer game during the holidays

Move & Groove

As any fitness guru worth their salt will tell you, we burn most of our calories not from marathon gym sessions, but with subtle increases in our movement throughout the day. This could be anything from taking the stairs over the elevator as well as standing at your desk rather than sitting. So during this holiday season, we’re asking you to do the same! Play with your nephews, offer to help wash dishes and set the table, volunteer to move furniture and run errands, and try to get your friends to go on a post-dinner neighborhood walk. And when the music turns on, make sure to dance the night away. Nutritionist’s orders! 

Restrict Restriction

If you know anything about Studio SWEAT onDemand, you’ll know we’re BIG believers in Intuitive Eating. This beautiful, all-encompassing philosophy of nutrition encourages us to separate food enjoyment from food shame. And when it comes to holiday eating, this means that you consider avoiding restricting yourself from enjoying yourself. Does that cookie look good? Of course it does! So go ahead and grab one or two and enjoy them, just don’t overdo it. 

Sweat it Out

Well we’ve made it to the final and fiercest holiday health tip yet…getting in some much needed holiday exercise! There’s something truly beautiful about eating a delicious holiday meal with family and friends, and then getting back on the horse with a butt-kickin’ sweat session. And we’ve got just the thing: an All Access Pass with Studio SWEAT onDemand! We offer a huge library of virtual workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home, anytime, day or night. Choose from Indoor Cycling, HIIT, TRX, Yoga, Pilates, Bootcamp, Kickboxing, Body Sculpting, and many, many more. Plus, all our classes are taught by the most passionate bunch of instructors you’d care to meet, and taken by a worldwide community of warm, sweet, and supportive members. We even offer a 7-Day Free Trial so you can try before you buy. 

Check us out, sign up, and get ready for the happiest, healthiest holiday season ever!