Follow these tips to stay healthy and happy during the holidays:
Rule 1: Keep off the holiday pounds
Most people gain at least two pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day - weight that tends to stick around all year long. But that doesn't have to be you. Use healthy substitutions and take smaller portions for a fun and delicious Thanksgiving that won't tip the bathroom scale.
Rule 2: Fight family pressure to eat
They mean well when they urge you to try the pie or take a second helping of mashed potatoes. But family pressure can make it awfully hard to stay on plan and avoid overeating uncomfortably. One way to help make sure your family respects your diet choices is to talk to a family member in advance and ask them to be your advocate. When you start getting pressured to eat, you and your advocate can push back and handle the situation together.
Rule 3: Cultivate gratitude
Studies show that gratitude is the ultimate worry-buster; it's actually impossible for your psyche to feel grateful and stressed out at the same time. So replace each anxious thought with the image of something you're grateful for and savor the ease it brings to your mind.
Rule 4: Schedule time for yourself
It's all too easy to get so busy taking care of everyone else that you run yourself into the ground. Make it a daily habit to schedule in some ""me"" time, whether it's for a walk, an exercise class, or just a few minutes of peace to read or drink a cup of tea. Remember the airplane safety rule: you have to put the oxygen on yourself first before you can save others.
Rule 5: Make exercise a must-do
If your doctor prescribed medication, would you stop taking it every time you got too busy? Think of exercise the same way - as a doctor-ordered prescription for health. Set a regular time and do 15 to 30 minutes every day, no matter what.
Rule 6: Savor vacations - they help you live longer
Taking time off - and truly relaxing - reduces the risk of conditions such as heart disease that can take years off your life. Don't let that happen to you.
Rule 7: Sleep to boost metabolism, lower stress
Studies show that getting too little shut-eye slows your metabolism by as much as 20 percent while raising levels of stress hormones. So take the time to give yourself the gift of great sleep, especially during the holidays.