You may be worried about sabotaging your health and fitness progress during the holiday season, but staying focused on your goals while still enjoying the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult. 

The holidays can be stressful because of concerns about food, but that it doesn’t have to be that way. People sometimes lose hope of staying on their healthy eating program before the holidays even start, but it’s rarely as bad as they think. 

Going into the season with a plan can help you feel more in control, and possibly save you from feeling guilty about your week of indulgence. 

Here are some simple tips on how to stay on track as you navigate the holidays: 

1. Plan your weeks

There may be more holiday activities and requirements, but it likely isn’t so much that you can’t still plan your weeks. Do a shorter workout if you have to get some shopping donebut try to keep the gym in your schedule. Plan and prepare healthy mealsWhen the holiday treats are everywhere, it’s easier to eat them in moderation if you can break it up with healthy alternatives. 

2. Pick one and go all in

If you have some festive events to attend but are worried they’ll disrupt your healthy habitstry  picking one and making the decision to just enjoy itFor the others, go prepared with a few  ideas that will keep you from overindulging. Use your hand as a guide to measure out your  proteins, carbs, and fat: a palm full of turkey, a fist full of mashed potatoes, a thumb sized  measure of fat, and round out your plate with plenty of veggies. Maybe you’re a dessert lover  or enjoy a glass of wine with your meal – alternate which treat you enjoy at each event. 

3. Spread the love

Holiday fare is something we love, but get to enjoy only a few times a year. Why not spread it  out over a few days? Bring some leftovers home and have a festive lunch or dinner in the days  that follow. You may feel less compelled to load up the first time when you know you can enjoy  it more than once! 

4. Take a winter walk

Gather up a few family members or friends (human or fur) to go for a crisp winter walk after  dinner.  It’s a great way to socialize and catch up one-on-one. It’s also an effective way to lower  your blood sugar and speed up digestion, leaving you feeling satisfied sooner. 

5. The little extras 

If you’re headed to the mall or grocery store, park your car farther away to get in a few extra  steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can. When the kids are out building a  snowman or going for a winter skate, get out there and join them. It’s more fun than watching  from the sidelines, and you’ll get in a great outdoor workout. The little things add up! 

6. Don't forget your water bottle

Drinking more water can help fill you up. When you’re not feeling overly hungry, you’re less  likely to pile up your plate. Water is even more important if you’re celebrating with a few extra  spirits. Alcohol dehydrates your body, so break up those cocktails with plenty of water. It can  help slow your alcohol consumption as well, saving you those empty calories.

7. Don't deprive yourself

Being too strict with your holiday rules can take the fun out of the festive season. Have a plan while still allowing yourself to enjoy the things you love. You’re much more likely to be successful if you give yourself permission to enjoy this exciting time of year.