I do not start playing Christmas music in October. My decorations are still up on the top shelf of my garage and that’s where they will stay until November 24th…not because I don’t love Christmas! I do! But there is always a little bit of stress that comes along with it. Buying presents, visiting family and getting pulled into those White Elephant gift exchanges at work. But that’s not the worst part.

There is delicious food EVERYWHERE. Potlucks. Family gatherings. Tins of cookies, pumpkin pies and chocolate Santas in your stocking. It’s never ending and everyone around you is saying, “Go ahead! Have some! It’s the holidays!”

True, it IS the holidays. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel like a crazy person, or that you have to eat until you pop. Here are my tips and tricks for staying sane (and not completely undoing all your hard work at the gym) during this time of year.

  1. BOUNDARIES. Set them. Don’t let other people push you into eating something you don’t want to. Even Grandma. If someone is pressuring you to eat more than you want, try changing the subject. Ask them about themselves (people LOVE talking about themselves) or fake an allergy (Just kidding! Kinda!).
  2. HAVE A PLAN. Don’t walk into your Aunt’s house on Christmas Eve without considering your course of action. Trust me, that’s how you end up overeating. I like to bring one or two dishes of my own if I’m a guest at someone else’s event. Usually two, because I will bring one “healthy” dish and one “splurge” dish. That way I know there’s at least one serving of veggies guaranteed!
  3. SPEAKING OF VEGGIES. I like to eat them first. My initial plate (yes, I do go back for seconds if I’m still hungry!) has heaps of vegetables and some lean meat on it. If I am still hungry, that’s when I’ll snack on some peppermint bark or brownies. Or pumpkin pie with ice cream…YUM.
  4. STAY HYDRATED. Not with wine. Although obviously, that is part of any real holiday! Haha. But seriously, if you don’t drink enough water you will feel hungrier then you really are. Drinking water throughout the day is great. But if you’re like me and don’t want to run to the bathroom every five minutes, there is another way. I chug a big ole 72-ounce cup of H2O as soon as I wake up. That way I’m already ahead of the game for the day!
  5. MOVE THAT BODY. It’s understandable for even the most dedicated gym rat to miss a day or two around this time of year. So instead of crashing on the couch immediately after dinner, get up and do something! Help your mom with the dishes, then grab your cousins for a game of flag football. Or invite everyone for a walk around the neighborhood. Not only will you be getting your steps in for the day, you’ll be bonding with your family more than you would watching “A Christmas Story” for the hundredth time.
  6. BE MINDFUL. This is one to carry along with you even after New Years. Slow down and enjoy the moment. Really taste that plate of delicious food instead of scarfing it down. Sit next to your Grandfather, ask him to tell you a story you haven’t heard before, and actually listen. Trust me, it will make your holidays so much more enjoyable.
  7. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. So what if you have one or two days of decadence out of the year? Or you ate that second piece of pie? Making yourself feel guilty is pointless and can put you in a serious post-holiday funk


What’s your favorite way to take care of yourself during the holidays? Share with us in the comments below!