Dr. Heather McKee's Evidence Based Insights

Healthy holiday habits part 3

Christmas is a time to be enjoyed, as is January too.

In terms of staying on track with your goals this time of year, the key is not to completely throw the towel in, but to find a happy compromise.

Pick one of the below healthy holiday habit tips to keep in mind this holiday season and have a happy and healthy New Year.

Healthy holiday habits 15:

Keep exercising. It can be tempting this time of year to let all of our habits go but if you are to keep one habit to keep, try exercise. Here I share the reasons why exercise is vital for long term success.

Healthy holiday habits 16:

Manage your stress. Things can be pretty hectic this time of year and stress can negatively impact your healthy habits. Using an app like this one to mediate for just 10 minutes a day can reduce holiday induced anxiety and keep you on track with your healthy habits.

Healthy holiday habits 17:

Avoid All or Nothing thinking, use the rule of equilibrium: One way to achieve balance is every time you do or have something unhealthy make sure the next thing you do is healthy. If you have a big unhealthy lunch try to follow it with a lighter supper. If you spend one day box set bingeing on the sofa try to get some activity the next.

Healthy holiday habits 18:

Take note: By noting each time you have an unhealthy snack and the quantity of it, it helps you self-regulate future consumption. However, the last thing you want to be doing is counting calories over the Christmas period. Instead why not simply make a commitment to write down what you had and how much on your phone e.g. 4 Cadbury’s roses after lunch, half a packet of Pringles at TV. See my blog here for the research on why tracking can help you stick to your healthy habits.

Healthy holiday habits 19:

Be mindful of the time you spend watching TV. 1) Watching TV can act as a sedentary swap for physical activity; 2) Food advertisements for nutrient-poor, high-calorie foods can stimulate more food intake; and 3) television viewing is associated with “mindless” eating.

Healthy holiday habits 20:

Be kind to yourself. This study shows that focusing on having a positive body image and on the enjoyment gained from exercise is linked with more successful weight loss maintenance. How do you do this? Try and be your own personal self-motivating coach, focus on the positive behaviours you have adopted and reinforce these rather than berating yourself for negative behaviours. Write these down; e.g. I went to the gym this morning despite the fact I was feeling tired.

Healthy holiday habits 20:

Focus on enjoyment. It isn’t realistic or enjoyable to avoid treats over the Christmas season. So try to be mindful, take your time and really focus on savouring every bit of whatever it is you choose to indulge in —without the guilt.

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Published on 23rd Dec 2017 at 10:10 by Dr. Heather McKee

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This work is in no way meant to replace any medical advice. Dr. McKee is Non-HCPC-registered. Photography by Dylan Madden.

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