Stay Healthy Through the Holidays with a 30 Day Challenge

The fall is an amazing time of year full of fun, family, celebrations, and lots and lots of sugar.

Diets don’t work because they are short-term all or nothing solutions to long-term chronic problems. Don’t get caught off guard this season by Halloween candy, pumpkin pie, and Christmas cookies.

As a Fort Collins Nutritionist, I’ll be the first to tell you that the holidays are a really bad time of year to lose weight. All the healthy baking and healthy snacks tips I could give you will help sure, but they won’t change the environment of an abundance of food, alcohol, and sugar that surrounds us this time of year. You’re going to have some pumpkin pie, mulled wine, and that one Christmas cookie is going to lead to several. Don’t sweat it. Food is one of the reasons that we love the holidays!

Instead of worrying about weight gain, ward it off by creating your own 30 Day Challenge.

I’ll admit to being a total nerd on occasion and yes, I watch TED talks when I have a few minutes and need a mental break. This past weekend, I watched a few of the “TED talks in less than 6 minutes” and I think you’ll have to agree that the talk titled “Try something new for 30 days” by Matt Cutts is not just inspiring, it can be an effective strategy to ward off weight gain this holiday season! Check it out. . . this video is only about 3 minutes long:

So, how can you apply the 30 Day Challenge idea to prevent sugar overload or weight gain this holiday season?

Its simple– set a 30 Day Challenge for yourself or invite some friends or family members to do a challenge with you.

Here are a few 30 Day Challenge ideas:

1. Commit to 30+ minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day for the next 30 days. Why? Because if you increase your calorie intake this holiday season, you’ll be burning the extra calories off and won’t gain weight as a result. [This is my holiday health challenge and I’m doing a combo of running, P90X, TurboFire, and gym classes each day to make my challenge work for me.]

2. Reach 10,000 steps each day for the next 30 days. Get a pedometer if you don’t own one. Why? This is yet another way to increase your physical activity to compensate for eating more calories and also, exercise helps to suppress appetite so you’ll feel better about yourself and won’t be as tempted to eat as many sweet treats!

3. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day for the next 30 days. Why? Drinking water and hydrating your body will reduce your cravings because normally when you crave foods, 9 out of 10 times is due to dehydration. If you are craving foods (for real), try drinking a glass of water first.

Choose one of these ideas or create a 30 Day Challenge of your own. It will give you something to be excited about and focus on (and make the holidays a whole lot healthier too)! But please, DO NOT challenge yourself to eliminate all forms of sugar for your 30 day challenge. Set yourself up for success. Enjoy the holidays and the occasional sweet. Life is sweet, enjoy it!

Go ahead and leave a comment with your 30 Day Challenge idea to inspire others. . .

Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

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