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 if you're trying to adopt healthier habits, but it doesn’t have to be that way. 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 activities and requirements at this time of year, but it can be easier if you plan your weeks. Plan for a shorter workout if you have to get some shopping done, just make sure you keep the gym in your schedule. Plan and prepare healthy meals whenever you canWith more feasts and holiday treats, it’s good to build in healthy alternatives when you can. 

2. Pick one and go all in

Pick your favourite festive events and make the conscious decision to just enjoy themFor the others, go prepared with a few strategies to moderate your eating and drinking. Use your hand as a guide to measure out your proteins, carbs, and fat: aim for portions that are the equivalent of 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 – consider alternating 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 take the edge off your hunger, 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.