What your health insurance company might not tell you is that if you live a healthy lifestyle, you can actually save money.
“Healthy” is like a plague word during the holidays. It seems like 12 months worth of treats and fatty foods is packed into one month. Starting with Thanksgiving, Americans begin the overeating holidays. Some reports state that on average, an adult eats more than 4,500 extra calories on Thanksgiving. Forty-five hundred!
That’s definitely enough to put another notch in your belt.
To ensure you don’t throw your body through the holiday ringer, it is important to stick to some healthy holiday eating plans and exercise. Eating smart during the holidays does not mean being on a diet; it means knowing how to be smart.
- Make a plan. If a holiday party is tempting with appetizers galore, eat before you go. You won’t be tempted to gorge on spinach artichoke dip if you are not famished when you arrive to the party. Don’t arrive stuffed and you can still enjoy your favorite cream puffs without substituting them for a healthy dinner. Starving yourself all day so you can indulge is a big no-no. Not only will your metabolism slow down, but your body will binge, creating bigger post-holiday body troubles.
- Eat balanced meals throughout the day. If you are continually eating healthier, your metabolism and body won’t take as hard of a hit if you indulge a little extra at your office Christmas party. Added bonus: the healthier you eat, the less likely you are to crave unhealthy food.
- Don’t try dieting. Starting a diet in November and December is like shopping for a bathing suit in January: it is fruitless, frustrating and you never get anywhere. The most important thing to focus on is moderation. Look at portion control, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are not.
- Avoid holiday stress out. Stress is one of the highest causes for overeating year round, and that is kicked into over drive during the holidays. Even though it seems impossible, find time to relax. Take a few minutes a day to meditate, read, listen to music or take a bubble bath. Spend time with your family focusing on your favorite holiday activities. And most importantly, find time to focus on what the holidays really mean for your family. While this might not stop any family bickering, taking time out for yourself and for your family will not only help you be more relaxed but less stress can lead to better food choices.
- Find time for physical activity. It might seem ludicrous to head outside for a run, but there are plenty of ways to work up a sweat when the weather is cold. Pop in an old exercise video with the family and laugh while you try the dated exercise moves. Start a snowball fight. Avoiding each other’s snowballs is bound to work up a sweat. Or try shoveling your neighbor’s walk. It’ll do them a favor, make you feel good AND get you in shape.