Group exercise class doing planks
Healthy choices are always in season, such as at this group fitness class at the Donelson-Hermitage YMCA.

By Casey Seamon, RD, LDN

Research shows that the average American gains about one pound during the holiday season. While this seems like a miniscule amount (and it really is), it can be the start of a downward spiral.

We often look at the holidays as a time to indulge and celebrate and can tend to lose focus of our health and wellness goals. What starts as a yummy meal and celebration with family and friends can quickly turn into weeks of mindless indulgences.

Do something different this year!

It IS possible to stay mindful and make smart choices all year long. The key is to remain focused on your bigger picture. Of course, with so many distractions and temptations surrounding you during the holidays (hello, work Christmas parties!), it’s easy to lose sight of it. So, here’s what to do:

Commit to ONE healthy habit you can carry through the holidays. Let it be your guiding light.

When all else fails, and you’re really feeling like you’re giving in to unhealthy desires, stick to this one goal, no matter what. Find a way to put it into action.

Family on a walk
A stress-relieving walk outside not only helps you feel better-it can bring your family together.

What should your healthy habit be, you ask? It depends on what’s important to you, but the idea is to focus on a small, daily aspect of your health. Examples include:

  • A stress-relieving practice, like 30-minute meditation
  • Drinking three water bottles at work
  • Eating something green at every meal
  • Maintaining a tried-and-true exercise routine that keeps you moving and grooving

Whatever you decide, it should be something that you feel confident you can achieve. When you start to see yourself succeed day after day, it will boost your desire and ability to keep going. This is the power of healthy habits!

It also creates a snowball effect. You’ll likely be inspired to do more small things that will add up to an overall healthier holidays.

So, while this wonderfully busy time of year is sure to present all sorts of unique challenges and bumps on the road to achieving your health and wellness goals, this strategy can help you to not only survive, but thrive.

Don’t forget to check back in with your motivation regularly. Remember why you are working on improving your health in the first place. This keeps you focused. You might just find that you can fuel your fire (or at least stoke the flames) to keep it burning brighter than the yule logs this year.

Working toward a weight loss goal?

Stay accountable and inspired with the YMCA’s Weight Loss Program.

This 12-week course offers weekly small-group discussion and tools to help you design a unique plan, track progress and set yourself on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Learn More