Having the discipline to exercise and eat well is hard, especially toward the end of the year when we’re all thinking about the holidays and possibly being reunited with family. If you’ve fallen off the wagon by now, it’s human nature to want to wait for the new year to get back into a healthy routine, but you don’t have to wait to start making small changes. Below, we bring you tips and our holiday gift guide to help you build better habits over the holidays and beyond.

Don’t skip your workout

It might be tempting to skip your workout during the last few days of the year, but even if you don’t do the workouts you usually do, you can still keep active and maybe even involve those you live with! You could try a new workout program  together or do something fun outdoors if it’s not too cold where you live.  If you prefer to stay indoors, don’t think you have to exercise for hours or be dripping in sweat for it to count. Even just 20 minutes of aerobic activity can reduce inflammation and improve your immune system. Most importantly, you won’t be throwing your routine down the drain, which will make it easier to resume your regular exercise schedule (or start one!) once the holidays are over.

Get adequate sleep

Poor sleep is associated with a higher BMI and lower sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The current recommendation of the National sleep foundation is to sleep 7-9 hours per night. If you usually have trouble sleeping,  practice good sleep hygiene habits including avoiding late-night meals, avoiding screens 30 minutes before bed, and practicing relaxing night rituals such as taking a warm bath. Increases in nighttime temperatures worsen sleep quality, so it’s important to keep a cool bedroom to prevent high temperatures from waking you up. Try this cooling sleep system to actively manage your body temperature and stay asleep.

Fast before the feast- Try waiting till dinner time to eat or, if that’s too much, fast for at least 12 hours

Give OMAD a try

OMAD or one meal a day is a type of intermittent fasting that has become popular as a weight loss strategy, and it may be just what you need to enjoy event nights, such as Thanksgiving  and Christmas, guilt-free this holiday season.  Waiting until dinner to have your day’s calories can help you enjoy your food more as you will be more sensitive to all the different taste and textures of your favorite dishes. OMAD can also minimize excess calorie intake without having to deprive yourself of anything. If you decide to try OMAD, you will have to consume no calories for at least 20 hours. If you have never gone without eating for that long but you would like to give this a try, prep the right way. Have a fulfilling meal the night before consisting of mostly protein and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil. During the morning, drink plenty of water, and if you need caffeine, go for black coffee or tea. You can also try Pique teas to help you control your cravings and boost your mood. Stay busy throughout the day. Decorate, catch up with loved ones on the phone, exercise, and if you have to cook, keep water around and ask someone else to taste the food for you. 

Fast before the feast, even if it’s just for 12 hours

If OMAD sounds like too optimistic a goal to have during the holidays, try shorter fasts that you can easily do every day. Fasting for 12 hours overnight can still give your gut some time to rest and can still prompt your body to start the metabolic switch from burning sugar to burning fat. 

Weight yourself regularly

If you are actively trying to lose weight,  keeping tabs on your weight can show you whether your daily habits are killing your progress. If you’re in maintenance mode, knowing if you are falling off track sooner rather than later can help you take corrective action. Go for a scale such as the FITINDEX Bluetooth scale, which can calculate your body weight and BMI and measure your body fat percentage, fat-free body weight, muscle mass, body water, basal metabolic rate, bone mass, metabolic age, protein, and skeletal muscle. Ryan Hilliard, LifeOmic’s VP of marketing, lost 30 lbs by tracking his weight daily with this scale. While having a pulse on your own body weight is important, remind yourself that it is not the only measure of health. Keep track of things other than the number on the scale: Are you feeling more energy? Is your health improving? Are your clothes fitting better? Are you losing inches? 

mindfulness-based practices have been shown to lead to weight loss.

Practice meditation

Stress leads to fat accumulation in the abdomen and increases your preference for foods that are high in fat and sugar. Conversely, Mindfulness-based practices have been shown to reduce stress, help with weight loss, and reduce binging and disordered eating. If you need help incorporating mindfulness practices to reduce stress, check out these 31 daily challenges. If you need extra help, this headband uses brain-sensing technology to measure whether your mind is calm or active, and translates those signals into guiding sounds. 

If you don’t want to cook, be mindful when ordering out

When you get bored of the Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve leftovers, there will be times when you’ll want to order out to change things up a bit. Try to go for healthier choices like dishes that contain mostly protein and veggies, and go for whole-grain breads, pasta, and rice, as well as grilled (not fried) items.  If you’d rather not think about what to cook or what to order, go for meal-delivery services like Sun Basket. They deliver prepared meals using fresh organic produce, antibiotic and hormone-free meats, and sustainably sourced seafood.

Whether you’re shopping for loved ones or yourself, our Holiday Gift Guide has a variety of deals. Shop the Gift Guide here.