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5 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Balance During the Holidays

by Courtney on December 14, 2011

Alright, so many of you already know that I am a FitFluential Ambassador. In case you didn’t already know, FitFluential is an amazing network of fitness peeps who share a passion for living a healthy life. As an ambassador, often times we’ll get optional mini assignments on things we can share with you. I’ve missed out on the past few, since I was spending most of my free time studying for my exam. But for this week’s assignment – sharing tips on how to achieve a healthy balance during the holidays – I’ve got the time!

I know I already talked a bit about staying on track during the holidays, but I love talking about keeping balance, so here are a few more tips that I like to keep in mind during the ‘hustle and bustle’ of  the holiday season.

5 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Balance During the Holidays

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

I don’t know about you guys, but this is one that I’ve struggled with off and on for years and honestly, I think it’s probably the most important of them all. This time of year, many of us are always “go-go-go,” but it’s so necessary to remember to refuel with enough ZZZ’s. Sleep affects so many aspects of our lives, especially appetite and mood, and If I don’t get enough sleep, then, umm, you probably don’t want to be around me.

2. Schedule in Exercise

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For the past month, my schedule has been jam-packed: work, holiday parties, cookie-baking marathons, time with friends. But also included in that schedule are my workouts. Lucky for me, I’m a morning exerciser, which makes it a bit easier for me to squeeze in my workouts for the week. I go to bed every night knowing exactly what my exercise is going to be for the following day, which makes a world of difference not only for my organization, but for my sanity too.

Also, don’t forget – you don’t have to do it all at once! Research has shown that doing three 10-minute workouts during the day are just as- if not MORE- beneficial as doing one 30-minute bout. I’m pretty sure we’ve all got at least 10 minutes in our day, right?! ;)

3. Be Picky!

Whenever I go out to a party or am at an event where there are lots of food options, I try to utilize my “top 5″ rule. Now don’t get me wrong, I am human and this doesn’t always work for me. But for the most part, it has proven to be pretty helpful. Basically, I scope out the scene and see what’s available. If there are options that I either a) could make myself, b) wouldn’t usually go crazy about, or c) have pretty often, then I’ll pass on those. But if there are foods and/or drinks available that I wouldn’t normally make, buy, or choose, then I’ll go for ‘em.

I also try to be picky about the quality of the food, especially when it comes to baked goods. I (almost) always pass on the store-bought cookies and/or cupcakes in favor of the homemade goods. If I’m going to indulge in some treats, then I want it to be the real deal!

4. Prioritize Your To-Do’s

I love making lists. I always have. So it’s inevitable that I end up with a to-do list every day that almost never gets fully completed. At first, this used to really bother me. I’d feel like a total slacker. But then I realized that I was putting things on my to-do lists that could definitely wait for another day. So now, I may make a list with 10 items, but I know that I need to prioritize that list and work from the most important, to the least important. I’ll bet if you take a look at your to-do’s today, there’s a few things that could wait.

5. Allow Some Indulgences

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This is something that is absolutely necessary for me during this time of year. Holidays come with treats…treats should be enjoyed…they should not be inhaled in large quantities every single day, though! Remember, it’s all about balance.

Now…you tell me!

Question for the Afternoon:

What would be some of your “Top 5″ tips for keeping a healthy balance during the holidays?

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile December 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Great tips! I especially love the be picky and indulge. It’s important to be both!

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2 Stellina December 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I agree with all of your suggestions! I also try to think about how I am going to feel after I over-indulge (aka, bloated, overly full etc..) and the sometimes help me pick and choose my treats!
Stellina recently posted..A Very Tacky Christmas

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3 Brandi @ Fitness Faith and Laughter December 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Great list! Mine would probably look the same as well. I would also add; drink plenty of water. During the week I have no issues with this, but on the weekends I do. Let’s face it, most of these parties and get togethers during the holidays are gonna be on the weekend. I could go all day and not drink one drop because I “busy” myself with other things.
I love the balance part. I also have others around me to hold me accountable too!
Brandi @ Fitness Faith and Laughter recently posted..It’s A Good Morning!

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4 Dani December 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I totally agree with you on ALL of your 5 tips! Plus, I would add, if you’re going to a holiday party, don’t go on an empty stomach! eat something beforehand so you don’t overindulge when you arrive!

I love you blog and I’d really appreciate it if you would check out my blog!
chocolatecoveredsneakers.wordpress.com
Dani recently posted..Workout Wednesday

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5 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries December 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

i love all your tips! i couldn’t agree more with them. sleep is definitely in my top 5, as my motivation, healthy eating, and quality of workouts go out the window if i don’t get enough sleep. not to mention, i get pretty crabby! i also just try to make my workouts a priority even through the craziness of the holidays. my morning workouts help me get in a healthy mindset for the rest of the day.
Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..WIAW {What I Ate Wednesday} #12: Trying To Stay On Track

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6 Corey @ Family Fresh Meals December 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Hey Courtney, You talk about your schedule and to-do list :) I need to get more organized. I have tried so many calendars, planners, etc… I can’t seem to find the right one. Is there a planner or calendar program that you use that works well. I am willing to try anything! Thanks girl :)
Corey @ Family Fresh Meals recently posted..Bento Love: Snowflake Stackers

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7 Claire December 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm

As always…wonderful post! My top 5 would be (just for me personally)
1. Remember to relax (often times the hustle and bustle gets to me)
2. Think like a child (they have boundless energy, try all the foods they love…don’t eat the ones they hate…_
3. Remember to socialize with the *entire* family, because it is generally appreciated!
4. Eat desert. Drink TONS of water
5. Remember the reason for the season :)
Claire recently posted..Weekend Activities

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8 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn December 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm

So agreed. Especially about the sleep. I think I need a litttttle bit more of that! #finalsweek
Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn recently posted..Meet My New Web Designer!

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9 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts December 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Great tips!! I am a huge list maker as well, I have to PLAN otherwise it never gets done. I’d have to add “drink lots of water” to the list as well. For me, if I overindulge, I feel like drinking water flushes out all of the bad stuff. (whether it does or not is the question) Plus water keeps your hydrated and feeling fuller, to combat the overeating. (however, I still seem to do it) :)
Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts recently posted..Me and My Heart Rate

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10 Angela @ Health Happiness & Harmony December 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Ever since December 1st, I have done a 25 days of Christmas on my blog, giving a tip everyday on how to stay healthy and balanced during the holidays.

My favorite tip is to remember that while the holidays often focus on food, traditions, and gifts, remind yourself that the one thing that ties all of that together is those special people in your life. Tell the people in your life you love them. Take the time to acknowledge friends and family as being special to you. It’s one thing to get them a card or a gift. It’s another thing to say it. Take the time to tell them how much they mean to you. You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel.

I completely agree with your thoughts, and I love the idea of Fitfluential! Great post Courtney!
Angela @ Health Happiness & Harmony recently posted..Sweet and Savory

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11 Laura @ Backstage Pass December 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I’m a firm believer in eating a mini-meal or substantial snack with carbs, veggies and protein before heading to a holiday party. It helps me get in my nutrients before I hit the buffet table, so I can enjoy a couple more decadent items at the party.
Also, pre-gaming with the nutritious food provides a good base for your stomach if you’re planning to enjoy a holiday cocktail (or three!). Remember, alcohol hits harder on an empty stomach.
Laura @ Backstage Pass recently posted..The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chocolate Cherry Nuggets recipe

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12 Mallory @ Have Your Cake and Eat it December 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Sleep is so important. In fact, I took a mental health day today just to catch up on some zzz’s.. (shh)

For me, I find that a good strategy is to say “ok, on saturday this weekend I’m going to a party with lots of treats, so up until then i’m going to be EXTRA good and workout consistently, and hold off on the treats until then” so that when the time comes I feel like I deserve to indulge a little and it all balances out. I appreciate them more too.
Mallory @ Have Your Cake and Eat it recently posted..A Nice Slow Morning

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13 Stephanie December 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I love your list thanks for sharing. Especially like how you choose which treats to have! good call!

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14 Jenny December 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm

wow this post was really helpful! One of my main problems during the holiday season, or any buffet-style-situation for that matter (!) is options. I always want to try just one of everything! I’m definitely going to bring these tips ot the next holiday party I go to..which is err umm, tomorrow ;)
Jenny recently posted..Luv Wholefoods

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15 Bite Size Wellness December 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Great tips! I love your mental checklist on when to indulge. I also would add to the list “me” time. I think it is important to take some time to relax during the time of year that is always go, go, go. Thanks for sharing!

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16 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles December 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I like your top 5 rule on being picky- and that if I won’t go wild over it, make it myself, or have it pretty often. So smart and not too hard to stick too! Thanks for the tip!
Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles recently posted..Gingerbread Protein Dough

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17 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health December 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Great tips Courtney! My tips would be pretty similar to yours except for the making lists one…I don’t do well with lists haha. Another one of my ways to stay balanced is to know when to say “no”. There are always so many things going on around the holidays but it’s okay to not do every single one of them!
Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Quick Tabata Workout and Christmas Survey

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18 Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

SO true about the sleep!!

Also making most foods on a plate fruits or veggies is a good one!
Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Speedy Sweaty Treadmill Interval Workout (#2)

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19 Kristen @ notsodomesticated December 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Great post! I think I try to eat even healthier during the holidays when I’m eating at home, because I know I’m going to be indulging more at parties and family events. And to keep working out, despite having a busy holiday schedule!
Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..M&M Cookies Rock.

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20 Mary @ Bites and Bliss December 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Good tips! I’d say my biggest tip is not to sweat the little stuff. It’s so easy to get wrapped up and stressed over stupid, trivial things.
Mary @ Bites and Bliss recently posted..Tale of the Gingerbread House

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21 Faith December 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Oh I needed this today!! I actually just posted something similar mostly about my need for this (rather than my knowledge of how to pull it off). Ha. Thanks again! This was GREAT!
Faith recently posted..Holiday Health

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22 Lindsey December 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I like the picky and top 5 rule! I always do that, go for my favorites and homemade treats versus everything in sight. I also make sure to keep with regular exercise, drink lots of water and make sure to keep my non-treat eats as healthy as possible.
Lindsey recently posted..What I’ve Been Eating…

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23 erica December 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

i like your 5 tips! those are all things i need to work on! i really have to work on the “be picky” tip the most!
erica recently posted..the holidays…bring it on!

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24 Rosa - Fitness Food Fulfilled December 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Love the tips!

I find that if I don’t try to eat healthy most of the times during the holidays, it becomes a slippery slope to feeling like it’s a free for all. Not every piece of candy or cookie or indulgent dish needs to be consumed by me all the time.

Exercise is also so key. It’s hard to do when you’re tired or the weather is cold outside, but it’s much easier to maintain fitness through the holidays than it is to start over again afterwards.
Rosa – Fitness Food Fulfilled recently posted..Changing Pace and Goals

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25 briana December 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Great tips! I follow these rules all year long but as a preschool teacher right now the treats are flowing and I’m definately giving in more than I should!

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26 Amanda @ Let Me Be Whats Underneath December 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Great tips– my tip would be make sure to cut yourself a break! Don’t feel guilty about not accomplishing everything, missing a workout, or not eating the healthiest foods. You have to cut yourself a break sometimes! :)
Amanda @ Let Me Be Whats Underneath recently posted..Fake it ’till you make it!

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27 Brittney @ Brittney Breathing December 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Love this! I really like that you pointed out not finishing to do lists. I tend to jam pack a lot of to dos in my lists and never complete them. I’m glad someone else feels the same!
Brittney @ Brittney Breathing recently posted..Zumba Tuesdays

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28 Khushboo December 15, 2011 at 12:24 am

Great tips! Two more I would add to the list is:

1) Do not ‘save’ your calories…it’ll more than likely result in a binge

2) Have a healthy breakfast: even if the rest of your day goes to pot, at least you have one healthy meal under your belt!

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29 Becky @ Fit Chick on the Fly December 15, 2011 at 8:40 am

Great tips and I live by the same during the holiday plus one thing: diet the week before christmas, and try to squeeze in a morning work out on days you have big parties!!!!
Becky @ Fit Chick on the Fly recently posted..Warrior Dash

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30 Shannon December 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Under tip #1′s paragraph, “effected” should be with an “a”. The word “Effect” is for a noun; “affect” is for a verb such as sleeps “affects” your mood, etc.

I think you covered everything under the tips. I can’t think of any others.

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31 Courtney December 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Thanks, Shannon

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32 Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! December 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Awesome tips! I apologize if I missed it before, but any chance you have a link-up to those cookies at the bottom, they look fabulous and festive!
Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! recently posted..Dinner Smorgasbord & Details About My Training

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33 Courtney December 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

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