Staying on Track During Holiday Season

By Leigh Saner

We all know that during the holidays, there tends to be a lot of traveling, parties, events and most of all, food. From mid-November through the beginning of January, our mindset usually ends up being “in the new year, I will exercise and eat healthier”, which gives us an excuse to fall off the wagon, with the idea that we will jump back on it in January. When January rolls around, what happens? We feel guilty about falling off track, beat ourselves up about all those cookies and pumpkin pie we’ve eaten and then slowly work towards getting back into a routine.

This year, let’s change the script! The holiday season is filled with a lot of different things, and yes, it can be really busy, but it doesn’t mean some of those things can’t be healthy and help us nourish and support our health and wellness. Here are five tips to help keep you on track during the holidays that will help you finish 2019, and start 2020, strong and healthy!

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Your calendar can get jam packed during the holidays with family events, school events, work parties, traveling, etc. Taking a look at your schedule now will help you plan out times you can exercise, events you can bring a healthy side dish to or afternoons you can spend resting and relaxing. Planning ahead will set you up for success and leave you feeling less stressed and more prepared.

Set small goals for the final weeks of 2019. Many of us put off goal setting until the new year. If you can set a few small goals for this upcoming season, such as exercising for 20 minutes a day, or eating breakfast 5 days a week, it will give you something specific to focus on and be more mindful of, even when you are busy. When setting your goals, make sure they are simple, realistic and attainable. Setting goals that you can meet daily will help keep you motivated because you will be focusing on something each day. 

Eat breakfast. Eating a balanced breakfast will jump-start your metabolism, give you more energy and increases your likelihood of eating healthy food throughout the day. By eating first thing in the morning, and then every three  hours or so throughout the day, you will keep your metabolism functioning at its best. If you eat a balanced amount of nutrients for breakfast, you are fueling your body and allowing it to increase your energy stores. Do you ever get in that 10am or 2pm slump during the holiday season where you are feeling groggy and begin to think that those sugar cookies or peppermint bark chocolate squares are the answer? By eating breakfast, you are telling your body it’s time to wake up for the day and get moving, which in turn, will leave you feeling more energetic! A balanced breakfast, which is defined as a breakfast containing more than one food group, gives your body what it needs to wake up and get going. A yogurt with a piece of fruit, like a banana, or two scrambled eggs with a piece of whole wheat toast are a few simple options! 

Be the good example. By staying on track with healthy habits and your goals throughout the holidays, you set a good example for the people around you. When you’re asked to bring a dish to a party, bring a healthy and tasty dish that others can enjoy such as a fruit salad or an avocado, tomato and corn salad.   If you’re spending time with family, go on a family walk while catching up with one another; that way, you are not only hearing what everyone has been up to, but are also getting in some physical activity! 

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy your holiday season! Eat those holiday treats, but also have a veggie or two. If you’re struggling to fit in your usual 30-minute workout, commit to doing a 15-minute workout, and be proud of yourself for moving your body. The worst thing you can do is be too hard on yourself and have an all or nothing approach to your health and wellness. Healthy habits are not based on perfection and should not feel restrictive; they are based on being mindful of your choices and prioritizing your health and happiness. Things will happen and unexpected events will come up. Give yourself permission to find balance in indulging and nourishing your body. After all, ‘tis the season!

Leigh Saner is the founder of Define YOU, LLC. She is dedicated to helping you create plans to achieve your health goals. Learn more about wellness coaching and follow Leigh’s blog at, or email for more information. Follow Leigh on Instagram @defineyou.coaching


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