We had some fun with last week’s article. This week we want to focus on how to actually have healthier holidays. There are some easy steps teachers (or anyone) can take during the holidays to offset those little indulgences that sneak their way into the work day.
5 tips to healthier holidays:
1. Don’t diet during the holidays:
In fact don’t diet at all. The word “diet” implies that you are only watching what you eat for a short while. If you truly want to be healthy, you need to continually work towards that goal always. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge (see # 2), but it does mean you should start by making small changes and substitutions (that you can stick to over time). Keep the idea of overall health in mind, rather than focusing on a number on the scale. Besides, nobody likes a Debbie Downer at the potluck telling everyone how bad what they are eating is. We recommend starting any “diets” Jan 1st, and following rule # 2 during the holidays.
2. Everything in moderation:
Too much of anything, can be a bad thing, right? (Except bacon, we LOVE bacon!). Try to enjoy yourself during the holidays, but don’t go overboard. If there is a potluck don’t choose the giant plate and fill it to the brim. Choose the smaller plate, don’t fill it all the way. Only go through the food line once and choose that smaller piece of pie rather than the largest slice. If there are healthy choices (check out this yummy dish), make sure to fill up on those first. Save the indulgences for when you are fuller, so you won’t overeat.
3. Stock up on healthy snacks:
Don’t stock up on unhealthy things you can’t say no to. As teachers, we are always pressed for time and it is so easy to grab that bag of chips or eat that bowl of cereal if they are handy. Make sure to keep healthy and nutritional snacks on hand and eat them BEFORE you feel starved. It’s harder to say not to the bad stuff when you are hungry.
4. Be mindful:
There are so many little treats that sneak their way into your day. You have the student who gives you cookies, the potlucks, and the treats that make their way into the teacher’s lounge; it’s easy to snack your way through the day. Be mindful of what you are eating. There are times I have literally been three bites into something before I even realized I was eating it. If this ever happens to you, keep gum and mints on hand. It will make you think twice before you take that bite of brownie.
5. Build exercise into your day:
This is probably the area people let go most easily. When you are overloaded with papers to grade and leaving school late, it’s hard to be motivated to hit the gym on your way home. Try to build exercise into your day wherever you can. Park farthest from the door at school or at the supermarket to get some extra walking in. Do some lunges or push-ups during the commercial breaks when you do get some free time to watch TV. These are really small things that can make a big difference.
Be kind to yourself. Everybody has bad days (or week’s) when it comes to exercise and eating, especially during the holidays when there is something to indulge in at every turn of the corner. It’s okay. Concentrate on the overall goal of staying healthy and don’t be afraid to treat yourself (just don’t go overboard).