’Tis the season for excess, 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 the new year on the right foot, here are five simple things you can do right now.
1. Buy a pack of gym classes.
Dropping some cash ahead of time for a 10-pack of classes or a one-month class pass at your favorite fitness studio may be pricy. 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.
2. Get cooking.
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.
3. Slim down your holiday dinner.
Heading to a festive potluck? Do a little research to find recipes similar to your favorites that use lower-fat ingredients, suggests Wendy Bazilian, RD, a nutritionist and co-author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean. “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.
4. 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 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?
5. 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, try downloading an app that takes you through guided meditations and mindfulness exercises.
(Health delivers relevant information in clear, jargon-free language that puts health into context in peoples’ lives. Online at www.health.com.)
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