Maintaining “balance” over the holidays can seem extremely unrealistic for a lot of folks. The holidays are quite literally the “over the top” season; overspending, overindulging, overeating, and some people are frankly “over” the holidays in general before they even begin. From overeating at parties to stress-eating cookies while wrapping presents late into the night, it is important to stay on track with healthy habits:

1. Budget your spending

It may be too little too late to talk about budgeting but allocating yourself a certain amount of money to spend on gifts this season will set you up for success. If you’re like me and you have the tendency to go shopping for others only to end up buying things for yourself, you’ll find budgeting helps out with this issue- as long as you actually follow it! It’s not just gifts that we find ourselves spending money on either- it’s the extra money for food, desserts, snacks, treats- whether we bring in treats for our coworkers to enjoy, a family function, or a small gathering- food costs money too!

2. You are not hungry, you are thirsty
Often times, what we perceive as hunger pangs are actually due to dehydration. Before diving into a plate of appetizers, test your hunger signal by drinking an 8-ounce glass of water. Wait a minimum of five minutes and pay attention to see if you are indeed still hungry. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when there are so many tasty snacks and treats lingering nearby. Bring your water bottle with you wherever you go to help with feelings of “fullness”.

3. Fill up on salads/soup

Holiday foods tend to be richer and heavier than our average meals, which can mean we are consuming excess calories. Fill up on salad or a broth-based soup so it is easier to control portioning the richer foods that can contribute to overeating.

4. Indulge a little bit

Depriving yourself of your favorite holiday-only treats (eggnog please!) can lead to an unplanned binge, especially if you have elevated stress levels. Treat yourself a little bit during the festive season, but always follow the rule of moderation.

5. Stick to your routine

Sticking to your routine as much as possible will help you stay on track more so than if you did not stick to your routine. If you normally prioritize going to a fitness class, a morning walk, daily yoga, etc. then continue to practice those habits. Plan your activities around your routine, don’t let festivities impede on your feel-good habits.

As a general rule during the holiday season, stop eating by 7pm. If you feel the urge to snack, keep a stock of healthier snacks like popcorn, fruits/veggies, and tea. Even if you do go “over the top” just a tad, the best thing to do is get back on track as soon as possible- whether it is with healthy eating and exercising or financially budgeting moving forward.

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!