The holiday season can be a very stressful time for all of us.
The first thing that tends to go right out the door is our workouts — and the time we need to make healthy meals for ourselves and our loved ones.
“Grab and go” is much quicker — and we’d rather spend the hour that we normally use for workouts getting holiday-related tasks done.
While statistics clearly show that many people gain at least 10 pounds during the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I am here to tell you that you can absolutely maintain your weight, keep your lifestyle balanced, and get through the holidays with flying colors.
1.) Do not go on a diet. It sounds counterintuitive, but a diet is not a short-term goal. A diet is more of a lifestyle, so deciding to slash your calories and make yourself miserable during the happiest time of the year will only make matters worse. Short-term results result in weight gain.
The better choice is to keep your diet steady throughout the holidays and aim to maintain, not gain.
2.) Make “me” time. Make yourself a priority. Self-love is not selfish. Getting in 30-60 minutes of exercise each day will mean a world of difference to your overall health mentally and physically. You will most likely make healthier decisions throughout the day, and you will feel satisfied and more accomplished that you managed to get your workout done in spite of everything .
3.) Do not procrastinate. Stop waiting for the last minute to get everything done. Make a list early and try to cross one or two things off your list each day. It will give you more time to do things you want to do (like make a healthy meal and get a workout in) — and it will relieve a ton of stress when the holidays indeed arrive.
4.) Stop making excuses. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, but we all choose to spend the time differently. Make your health and fitness a priority — and you will see that both will improve.
Schedule a time to get your workout in. Good things come to those who work for it. It’s a short amount of time we need to give in order to get a great return.
5.) Balance your meals. If you know you’re attending a party later in the day or at night, eat lighter meals during the day.  Focus on lean proteins such as chicken breast, shrimp, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and egg whites — and pair them fruits like berries and lots of veggies.
The fiber in the fruit and vegetables, along with the protein, will keep you full with few calories so that you can enjoy your night without feeling deprived. Keep in mind that there will always be another meal in a few hours — and if you have to discipline yourself for one or two meals during the day, you’ll be thankful for it later on.
6.) Don’t be so hard on yourself. While the holidays can certainly be stressful with family and a laundry list of things to do, they’re truly meant to be enjoyed. You don’t need to eat things in abundance to have a good time. Be picky and make good decisions!
Savor the moment with family and friends instead of food. And at the same time, remember that one meal will not make you “fat,” just as one meal will not make you “skinny.”
A healthier lifestyle of consistent healthy choices is going to get you where you want to be.
Enjoy a treat and move on.
It is all about balance.
Sloane Davis is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer based in Westchester County, New York. She’s helped thousands of people get in top shape, both mentally and physically. Her website is pancakesandpush-ups.com . This article appeared earlier in LifeZette and has been updated.