Take Charge of the Holidays to Maintain Optimal Health

feature_holiday-bootsAt this time of the year, it may be difficult to choose healthy foods and be physically active. In this post, we’ll share tips that you can use in coaching to help your participants maintain a healthy lifestyle this holiday season.

By Diabetes Prevention Support Center Faculty

As the holiday season progresses, it is likely that the home and work environment will change, and the usual daily routine will be disrupted. Holiday candy, cookies, and other high calorie/high fat foods begin to appear in our surroundings. Many also find that it is more difficult to fit in physical activity during this busy time of year.  

To stay on track in reaching or maintaining healthy lifestyle goals, it is helpful to take some time to think about the potential challenges that could be faced during the holiday season:

  • First, what are the biggest challenges you will face?
  • Are you willing to make some changes to your holiday traditions?
  • What changes can you make?
  • How will you make these changes?

It is useful to consider one or two significant obstacles or situations that will need to be addressed in order to successfully manage maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is not necessary to completely give up a personal holiday habit or tradition! Making some minor adjustments to behaviors can result in a healthy and successful holiday.

Think about what modifications you are willing to make and what strategies you can implement to successfully manage your personal environment during the holiday season. For example, if staying active is a major challenge, try adding a few extra steps during the workday or an additional lap or two around the mall when shopping.  If the concern is unhealthy food offered at holiday parties, when possible, plan to bring a healthy dish that you and others can enjoy, or try adapting a favorite recipe using healthier ingredients. These small efforts can make a significant difference in maintaining healthy lifestyle practices during the holiday season.

Finally, remember that a slip doesn’t mean failure!  If a slip in eating and/or activity does occur during the holidays (or anytime!), getting back on track as soon as possible is the key to long-term success.  

As a coach, how do you plan to help individuals overcome challenges this holiday season? What do your participants plan to do to stay on track? Share your experience in the comments section below.