Written by Lauren MacDonald
Every year when the holidays come I get lulled into a pattern of coziness, good food, and inactivity. Inevitably, come January, it is a harsh realization when the holidays are gone and I take a good long hard look at my choices—oftentimes I find those choices on the less healthy side. This year, in the slow build up to the holidays, I’ve vowed to do better. I thought I’d share some of the ways I’m trying (and hopefully succeeding) at being healthier this year.
Running when you can, for how long you can.
When winter arrives my motivation to step outside decreases along with the daylight. In past years, I’ve found that the best way to combat this is to run with the light. With my job, I’m lucky enough to be able to run at lunchtime. If you have this ability, take advantage of it! If you’re like me and you get home from work in the dark, you’re more likely to end up on the couch than to lace up your sneakers. Running at lunchtime is a great way to combat this phenomenon. When I don’t have the ability to run at lunch, I look at my week and feasibly find 4 (or more) days when I can run. Once I’ve identified those days, I put them on my calendar and the rule is, if I can run, I must run.
Salad (or veggies) first.
Not only are the days shorter (and busier) during the holiday season, but the food is richer. I love bread, pasta, sweets and all kinds of rich food that is best eaten in small qualities. Instead of enforcing strict rules on myself during the holiday season (trust me, I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work), I follow a simple rule: before I eat anything else, I must eat a salad or vegetable. This ensures that I don’t lose all semblance of a healthy diet and that I fill up a little on good food and thus don’t gorge myself on rich, heavy food. Denying yourself the good holiday food altogether backfires more frequently than it helps. If you eat your salad first, you can indulge in a sweet (or two) with a little less guilt.
Bring your running stuff when you travel.
If you’re traveling long distances, you can read my post about how to pack and plan to run while traveling. But even if you’re just going an hour or two away to a friend or family’s house, put your running clothes in your car! My dad almost always has a pair of sneakers and running clothes in the car. More often than not we’ve been at a relative’s house or visiting someone for a holiday (Thanksgiving, etc) and there’s been an opportunity to go for a run. If you are always prepared to pop out for a run, you are more likely to find a minute or two to do it.
Participate in a holiday race!
This is a great way to get in the holiday spirit, stay healthy and enjoy the company of friends and/or family. Thanksgiving Turkey Trots help you earn that extra serving of stuffing and help you feel (relatively) guiltless about laying on the couch watching football for the rest of the day. Races like the Jingle Bell Run get you in the Christmas spirit and get you out (even in cold weather). If you’re looking for a great holiday run or Turkey Trot, check out Fleet Feet’s event calendar here.
I hope everyone has a wonderful (and somewhat healthy) holiday season!