The holidays are full of social events, which is part of what makes them so fun. And we get it; focusing on friends and family is tricky if you’re stressed about sticking to your nutrition plan and are constantly surrounded by tempting treats.
If you’re wondering how to stay healthy during the holiday season, here is a step-by-step way to ensure you crush it this holiday season.
Step 1: Define Success for the Holiday Season.
Head into the holiday season with a clear vision of what success looks like for you.
This will give you a north star when deciding where, when, and if you’d like to indulge.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Are there any events coming up where you have to weigh a certain amount or look a certain way (i.e., a weightlifting competition or wedding?
- What are your top priorities this holiday season? Family time and connection? Optimizing body composition? Finding a balance between the two?
- How would you like to feel on January 1st when the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ends?
If you have a competition, need to make weight, or want to stay as dialed in as possible, maybe you focus on fun, not food, this holiday season. Or, perhaps your goal is to maintain your current weight and body composition so you can cut some slack to allow for a few more festive cookies.
This definition of success will allow you to clearly assess whether your actions bring you closer or further from this vision. Then, you can tweak and change behavior accordingly.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Holiday Events
Grab a calendar, write down your engagements and commitments, and prioritize! Depending on the vision you’ve created and the flexibility that vision allows, you can decide which holiday events are most important to you.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What foods can you get at any time of the year? Think store-bought brownies at the office party.
- Which foods are truly special and only come around during the holidays? Think grandma’s pumpkin pie or your Aunt’s special sugar cookies.
- When will it be easiest to stay on track? Think restaurant meals with menu options or potlucks that allow you to pick what goes on your plate.
- When would you like to be more lenient? These are probably the occasions when those special foods may be around!
Once the dates are laid out, decide where and when you want to indulge and when it makes the most sense to stick to the healthiest options possible.
Step 3: Optimize Your Non-Holiday Nutrition
Consistency over time is where the magic happens. To ensure that a few more indulgent meals don’t add up and slow down your journey to your goals, optimize your healthy nutrition choices when you don’t have much going on and commit to making choices that fuel your body.
Step 4: Create Accountability
Partner, friend, coach (nutrition, lifestyle, or athletic!), you name it!
Enrolling others in your healthy holiday goals will allow them to hold you accountable when you need a little extra support to stick with it. As a bonus, telling others about your goals will also make them more real for you.
Make your goals as visible as possible—set a reminder photo as the background on your phone and computer, stick them on your bathroom mirror, or write them in a bedside note or journal. The more you remind yourself of your goals and the why behind them, the easier it will be to keep them top of mind.
Step 5: Trust (and Be Kind to) Yourself.
No one is perfect, and it’s important to remember that balance and flexibility are necessary parts of any lifestyle habit that will stick long-term.
Remember that the hard work you’ve been putting into getting to know your body and what makes it tick isn’t going anywhere this season, and it will always be there for you to come back to!
Grab more holiday tips, healthy recipes, and more in the WAG Holiday Guide.