Holiday Health Hacks

The dilemma

 

Do you feel like you are in a constant struggle during the holidays to balance being social with family and friends while keeping your health goals?

If so, don’t stress, I will teach you some hacks to get through the holidays without the side dish of the food guilt and regret.

But first, we have to dig a little deeper to understand where the focus should be placed, so you can have a plan, and allow yourself the space to enjoy the holidays without a worry.

Step 1 - Establish your goals.
This is important to help reinforce the decisions you will make at every social event or celebration.

My goal is to _________________________________________________ by ________________(date)
I want to reach this goals because ______________________________ (how will this make you feel)

 

Step 2 - Establish your values
Establish your value scale as it relates to the holiday season using the scale below:

Not important     1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     The most important

1. How important is reaching your goal to you?
2. How important is it to celebrate a holiday with your family?
3. How important is it to celebrate a holiday with your friends?
4. How important is it to attend other holiday functions (work parties, friends of friends parties, etc. . )?
5. How important is it to partake in workplace treats?
6. How important is it to use food as a coping tool to deal with the stressors of the holiday?

Step 3 - Weight your options
By understanding your values, it will make it much easier to navigate the holiday season and make choices that benefit your goals and values.

Example: Olivia has been working out regularly over the past 6 months, training 3 times per week, and has seen some incredible progress. This is her first holiday season where she has even considered her health goals and how the holiday is going to impact them, and she questions what decisions she should make to keep her progress. The whole thought of the holiday season is causing a little anxiety. Here are her responses to the questions above:

Step 1:
Goal - Lose 10 pounds of muscle in 3 months
She wants to reach this goal because she likes the feeling of progress she has been making and wants to spend less time worrying about her appearance, and more time working on getting a pulp (which will be easier when lighter)

Value Scale:
1. How important is the goal - 10
2. Spending time with Family - 10
3. Spending time with friends - 8
4. Other work functions - 4
5. Workplace treats - 1
6. Food to cope - 3

By understanding Olivia’s values, it is going to help her make the right choices for HER during the holidays and create her own hacks:

Results & Hacks
Questions 1, 2, & 3
Olivia’s goal is very important to her a 10 out of 10, and based on the other values the only time she will need to use moderation will be during the family and friends celebrations using these guidelines:

1. Eat till you are full
2. Have 1 serving of alcohol
3. Have 1 serving of dessert
4. Still hungry, eat more PROTEIN
5. Put the focus on family fun, not food

Question 4
Secondary parties or get-togethers are not high on Olivia value scale. This does not mean she isn’t going to go, instead, she is going to make sure to place her goal over the party here by:
1. Eating a quality meal before she goes
2. Bring a healthy option as your shared dish/contribution to the party so she has something that is in line with her goals if there aren’t any other healthy options at the party.

Question 5
When workplace treats come out, b/c they always do, she can remember how important they were when they were not sitting on her desk, and that is something she can avoid completely during the holidays.

Question 6
If the holiday season is a stressful one, and you tend to lean on food to cope, this season try to find ways to cope outside of food like;
1. Give back or volunteer
2. Find other ways to spend your downtime - reading, arts & crafts, cooking, movies, etc.

The holidays don’t have to be stressful or derail your health if you are honest with your goals and set yourself up for success. So think ahead, and throw away the holiday food blues.

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About the Author

Stephanie McCarthy

Stephanie McCarthy

Stephanie's career in fitness started almost a decade ago after graduating with a degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida. Over the years she's gained invaluable experience as a business owner and dedicated coach to hundreds of athletes. CrossFit has given her the opportunity to compete with incredible athletes around the country at the Regional and Games level.

 

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