I’ll only have one small glass of wine at the office holiday party. I’ll still make it to the gym three days a week. I won’t leave gift shopping until the last minute and stress myself out. These are promises plenty of us make to ourselves as the holiday season gets into full swing. And they’re promises most of us will break.
That's because it's easy for healthy intentions to go MIA when a coworker pulls together a last-minute happy hour plan, or you made yourself a way-too-long gift shopping list, or you took on another holiday-related responsibility that's throwing you off your game. 'Tis the season for excess, we know, but striving for balance and maintaining your usual healthy habits during December will also help you avoid starting the new year with a #dietstartstomorrow mentality.
To help you survive the month with your mind and body strong and begin 2018 on the right foot, we rounded up five simple things you can do right now.
Buy a pack of gym classes
Dropping some cash ahead of time for a 10-pack of classes or one-month class pass at your favorite fitness studio may be pricey. But knowing that they're already paid for will motivate you to keep up your sweat sessions all season long—because not even a holiday cookie swap can convince you to throw money out the window. Buy them now, and you'll have a few left over to use during the first week of January, so you're inspired to follow through on your New Year's fitness resolution as well.
Chances are you’ll catch up with friends over drinks or brunch this month. Instead of chatting over high-calorie eggs Benedict or cocktails, connect in a setting where healthy food is the focus—like a cooking class. Book a vegetarian class for you and your girlfriend ahead of time, or make a Sunday meal prep date now, so you’ll have nutritious meal options on hand when the holidays close in. Having good-for-you eats already prepped will help make last-minute holiday cookie dough binges less likely.
Slim down your holiday dinner
Heading to a festive potluck? Do a little research to find recipes similar to yours that use lower-fat ingredients, Wendy Bazilian, RD, nutritionist and co-author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean, suggested in a prior interview with Health. “Even better, find a version that incorporates some healthy foods that simultaneously bump up the nutrition while reducing extra calories, sugars, or fat.”
A few swap ideas we love: If you’re tasked with bringing dip to a party, substitute protein-rich Greek yogurt for sour cream. Or cook up whipped cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Hey, every bit counts.
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Subscribe to a self-care box
Treat yourself to a subscription box today that will make staying healthy through the holiday season so much easier. Sign on with a meal kit delivery service so you already know you have good-for-you meals covered, or subscribe to a beauty box ($30 for 3 months, birchbox.com) that will tame your stressed-out skin during party season. Being proactive will automatically make you feel like you’re starting December on a high note. Plus, who wants to make a last-minute drugstore run for sparkly eye shadow on New Year's Eve?
Download a meditation app
The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most hectic, when your usual routine falls by the wayside and family and friends you've avoided all year long come back into your life. Not surprisingly, your mental health can take a hit. To stress less this December, download one of these apps that take you through guided meditations and mindfulness exercises. We have a feeling they’ll come in handy after your family talks politics at the dinner table.