’Tis the season, right? Ideally, yes, but that’s not always the case. Some unhealthful holiday traditions can bring about stress and depression. This year, give yourself a gift by busting these less-than-merry myths.
Myth 1: Festive celebrations mean weight gain. Only if you let them. Here are a few smart strategies to enjoy special treats without gaining weight:
- Keep a regular eating schedule. This starts with eating breakfast, which may prevent you from eating more throughout the day. If you starve yourself during the day because you’re waiting for that night’s party, you may be overly hungry when that plate of cookies comes around and overindulge.
- Focus on what you truly want – and what’s available for a limited time only. You can still enjoy holiday treats, so long as you eat fewer “ordinary” ones. Ask yourself, “What are my favorite seasonal foods that I can only get now, and what are items I can get any time?” Then, skip those you can find any time.
- Ease up on alcohol. Alcoholic drinks – especially fancy, holiday ones – can be loaded with calories. Alcohol is also an appetite stimulant. What’s more, if you drink too much, you may forget to watch what you’re eating and eat too much as well.
Myth 2: The bigger and more expensive the present, the better. You don’t have to spend a bundle to show how much you care about others. Often the most precious, memorable gifts cost nothing, very little, or are handmade. It really can be “the thought that counts.”
Myth 3: It’s OK to let physical activity go into hibernation over the holidays. Packed schedules and less-than-ideal weather conditions can provide excuses for not exercising, but if you take even 15 minutes here and there to get moving, your energy level and attitude might improve.
Myth 4: Family get-togethers are stressful. Have realistic expectations, accept individuals for whom they are (not all people are alike, even if they do come from the same clan), and avoid negative talk (and, if needed, negative people).