As Thanksgiving passes and we plunge deeper into the holiday season, it becomes more and more difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. Just because Mr. Claus has thrown up the white flag in the battle of the bulge does not mean you have to follow suit. Yes, tis season for parties that offer plenty of festive food and some heavy-duty Holiday *ahem* spirits, but if you follow the Fitdigits Holiday Survival guide you can make it through the sleigh bell season without adding a “winter coat”. Without further ado, the 12 (healthy) Days of Christmas:
Day 1: December 14. Plan ahead. If you know that you will be going to a party or having an extravagant meal, skip the booze and eat extra healthy in the week leading up to the event. This is called having a “cheat” day, and is recommended by many health experts for those trying to lose weight
Day 2: December 15. Exercise. It is easy to look at dreary weather and want to curl up by the fire, but nobody said staying healthy would be easy! Try out some interesting indoor workouts if mother nature keeps you indoors
Day 3: December 16. Stay Hydrated. Making sure you drink enough water is more than a holiday tip, it is a way of life. The benefits of staying hydrated are too extensive to list, but on the most basic level it will make hangovers after a night of too much eggnog that much easier. A good way to make sure you are guzzling down enough H2O is to have a 32 oz water jug and carry it with you at all times. Whenever it is empty, immediately refill it. A good test to see if you are hydrated properly: your urine should be clear or only have a slight yellow tint
Day 4: December 17. Swap Sugar for Stevia. When you are baking Christmas cookies for Kris Kringle and Co., ditch artificial sweetener and sugar for Stevia. Stevia is an all-natural sugar substitute with no calories, carbs, or glycemic index. Indulge yourself without the guilt with a great recipe for not Sugar Cookies, but Stevia Cookies
Day 5: December 18. Drink Green Tea. When the weather outside is frightful, a cup of hot cocoa may sound delightful, but save those calories for your Christmas Ham! Instead, try drinking a hot cup of green tea. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and recent studies show that green tea can help battle cancer, reduce your risk of coronary disease, and battle obesity. Not only can caffeine help speed up your metabolism, but properties found in green tea can also lower your blood pressure and cholesterol
Day 6: December 19. Try A Winter Sport. Nothing is more apropos for the Holiday season than participating in a winter sport, and it is a perfect way to burn calories and have a great time. Even if you do not live near a mountain or have the necessary funds to go skiing or snowboarding, you can probably find a local Ice Skating Rink and channel your inner Apolo Ohno!
Day 7: December 20. Focus on Family and Friends, not Food. Often people make holiday plans around eating, be it going out to dinner or making a big meal. Instead, emphasize activities that take advantage of the time you get to spend with the people you love. Try out some fun games such as Catch Phrase or Apples to Apples, or stretch out the vocal cords with some Christmas Caroling! Remember, food is merely a way to fuel your body, not an activity.
Day 8: December 21: Take Your Vitamins. If you are planning on having a long night of drinking, plan ahead and take some vitamins. Alcohol depletes your body of essential nutrients you need to function (hence hangovers). Make sure to at least take a B-Complex both before and after drinking, and if vitamins are not your style, try FRS
Day 9: December 22. Give Healthy Stocking Stuffers. Usually stocking stuffers consist of chocolate and candy canes. Try to encourage a healthy lifestyle with your stocking stuffers. Instead of sweets, try giving a jump rope, some workout gear, or better yet a Fitdigits Cardio Bundle!
Day 10: December 23: Try Not to Stress Out. The Holidays can be a stressful time. Family and friends coming from out of town, big meals to cook, presents to buy, and the pressure to live up to the idealized version of Christmas we see in the media can make even the most laid back person tighten up. Stress can lead to heart disease, binge eating, and weight gain, so take a deep breath. The holidays should be a fun and happy time. Try some tips on how to manage stress during the holidays
Day 11: December 24: Check Out Some Christmas Lights. The Holidays offer plenty of opportunities to get moving. A great way to be active and feel the Holiday cheer is to go on a walking tour of an area that specializes in extravagant Christmas decorations. Make it a Christmas Eve tradition!
Day 12: December 25: Have a Merry Christmas! If you have been following all of our health and fitness tips, you deserve a day off. That does not mean you should waste all of the hard work you have done and eat until you feel sick, but don’t count calories. Enjoy your family, friends, and the feeling that comes with being fit and staying healthy!