Hone your healthy habits before the holidays


It’s often easier to have healthy habits during the summer months. Mild temperatures encourage outdoor activities such as walking, gardening and participation in athletic events. Being out in the fresh air, staying active and eating fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables are all ways that help us keep weight under control and stay in good shape. Higher temperatures also tend to keep the appetite in check and encourage cravings for light and low calorie foods. Grocery stores and produce stands offer enticing reminders to purchase healthy foods, which are delicious and refreshing.

When fall arrives, indoor activities increase as well as more sedentary habits. Cooler weather signals the preparation for upcoming holidays and encourages cravings for comfort foods. Warm meals with heavy sauces and creams tend to be served more frequently. Eating more calories and becoming less active can lead to winter weight gain, which can become exacerbated by the holiday season.

Here are a few tips to keep healthy habits going year-round:

Commit to a regular exercise routine.

An outdoor routine can easily continue by investing in cold weather running gear, or transition your activities indoors with a treadmill on frigid days. Consider mixing it up by trying cross-training activities, or join a gym that offers spin classes, weight training or elliptical machines for variety. And indoor training doesn’t have to be expensive. Try videos, resistance bands, jumping rope or stretching and yoga exercises to continue your path to staying in shape during the colder months.

Create a healthy meal plan.

Back to school often means a serious time crunch for busy families. Print off simple slow cooker recipes that are healthy and delicious, and have dinner waiting after work or when kids arrive home from sports practices and school events.

Get more fresh air.

If outdoor training is preferred, then fall can be a wonderful time to get more fresh air. The change of seasons and beautiful fall colors on the trees can be an added bonus to hiking, biking or walking.

Get a good night’s sleep.

As the weather changes and the clocks get turned back, biological rhythms often reset as well. Establish a nightly wind-down routine which will encourage healthy sleep schedules with good habits. Sleep deprivation can lead to a higher risk for illness, weakened immune systems, weight gain and a host of other problems.

Tame hunger at parties and social gatherings.

Tailgate parties and holiday gatherings are known for their delicious – and not so healthy – snacks. Eat before the party to reduce the temptation to indulge in high caloric snacks and treats. Keep the alcohol to a minimum and sample a couple favorite snacks, but avoid overeating.

A slimmer waistline will be the reward in January!

Fall and winter present special challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Make the commitment now to keeping healthy habits all year long. Enjoy the holidays with a focused plan for better health so you can enjoy many more healthy holidays to come!