Health & Happiness this Holiday Season

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RunningAdmit it. You want to have it all. Cocktails, decadent sweets and a lot of one-on-one time with your couch, right? When in moderation, these holiday traditions are not the main culprits of healthy-living sabatoge. In actuality, it is more about the stress and busyness.
‘Tis the season of extreme activity with all the commitments and of course the looming deadline when all things must be bought and wrapped. All the hustle and bustle causes most people to turn to unhealthy habits all in the name of convenience. Stressed-out shoppers dart from one store to the next without a seconds thought about food. Before they know it, they’ve skipped a meal or decide to suck down a latte and muffin to power through to the next shop. Like all things health and fitness related, the key to enjoying the holiday cheer is still the same…plan, plan and plan some more! Take a look at these healthy habits reminders before you head out on your merry way.

1. Stock Your Sleigh- Because you’ll be in your car more hours than not, make sure you keep healthy snacks in the console! It takes less than five minutes to throw a piece of fruit, smoothie in a thermos (yes, I’ve been caught sipping from a Hello Kitty straw cup before), a pre-packaged bar (Lara and Kind are my favorite…check out Kind’s tasty Dark Chocolate Pecan with only 5 grams of sugar!!), or a homemade trail mix (almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate chips, raisins, sunflower seeds). Try to aim for something with protein as well as carbs because you will stay full longer. And don’t forget to bring your water bottle. So many times thirst is mistaken for hunger. Stay hydrated and you are more likely to eat when you are hungry.

2. Santa Needs Supper- There is no worse feeling than getting home after a day of errands to find your refridgerator is empty and all the sudden your whole family is HANGRY!! Just like the snacks, take the time to decide what you are making for dinner at least the day before. The crockpot is an effortless way to prepare a healthful meal at the end of the day and include veggies might I add. I have found several family hits on these sites:

3. Dashing Through the Snow- Exercise. You knew I was going to say this and I know what you are thinking, this is the hardest part. When stressed and/or busy, exercise is likely the first thing to go. I can testify if you get that workout in, you will be more productive, less tired and stressed than if you skipped. Now, it may not be feasible to exercise as often as you do in the “off season” and that’s a concession I’ll accept as long as you are breaking a sweat a couple times per week. Though an hour is the most popular length of a workout, remember only 20 minutes of exercise gets the job done in terms of the endorphins boots and cardiovascular benefits. Plus there are so many fun holiday races if you want to get in the holiday spirit with the whole family. Look at this list of race JUST for December!!!!

Jingle Bell Run, December 14th *
Casa Jingle All the Way 5K, December 14th
JB 5K, December 14
Patrons of the Heart 5K, December 21st (don’t forget the JAXSTROLLER $5 off promo code) The Last Gasp, December 21st
Winter Blast 6K Run, December 28th
Jacksonville Bank Marathon, December 29th * *

Gator Bowl 5k, December 31st * *

Even the most organized person will have one of “those” days-no exercise, too many treats, too many cocktails what have you. The decision to start the next meal or even the next day with a CLEAN slate so to speak is what matters most. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll start over in 2014 when you can do it today. May you have a healthy and happy holiday season!

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