No this is not an oxymoron! You can have a healthy holiday and it’s all about being realistic and creating some holiday non-negotiables. This is a busy time of year for most people – so take that into consideration, and instead of feeling crummy about not sticking to your usual routine & habits – re-negotiate them. By re-negotiating them you create a greater probability of success. And success snowballs! When you feel successful you’re far less likely to “throw in the towel” and really go off track! But here’s the thing about non-negotiables – they’re NON-NEGOTIABLE. They happen NO MATTER WHAT! Barring sickness, you stick to them. And that may mean getting creative at times. Here are some examples…

Fitness & Activity:

  • Non-negotiable: Keep up with your fitness, but modified! if you normally exercise 5-6 days per week – adjust to a new holiday non-negotiable of 2-3 days per week. If you normally exercise 2-3 days per week maybe you set a new holiday non-negotiable of 5-minutes per day of your favourite exercises
  • Non-negotiable: Get out for a 10-minute walk each day! Not only will this help with keeping your body moving, that daily commitment will mean that come January you have kept up with a daily commitment to your health so you can start to expand the scope of what that daily habit includes!
  • Non-negotaible: wear your activity tracker and make a non-negotiable steps goal! Activity trackers are a bit of a double edged sword (people can get a little obsessive with them)…but they can also be a great tool to see how active (or inactive) you really are. Use yours to your benefit and get in those steps in fun & fabulous ways like dance parties with your kids or a quick stair set during your lunch break!


  • Non-negotiable: Drink 6 glasses per day (water, not eggnog). This time of year is notorious for dehydration – salty foods, more dehydrating beverages (caffeine & alcohol) – so make sure you’re achieving your hydration goals (general rule is 1/2 your body weight in ounces, but consider a scaled down holiday non-negotiable of 6 glasses, one with each meal & one at each snack or between each meal. And remember, all HYDRATING beverages count! Water, herbal teas, sparkling waters, juices and smoothies. H
  • Non-negotiable:  eat 5 servings of fruit & veggies each day! This is helpful for a few reasons. One is that you’ll be sure you’re getting good quality nutrition IN. The other is that it FILLS you up (because fruit & veggies are generally voluminous) – which means you’re LESS likely to overeat!)
  • Non-negotiable: don’t go in hungry. And when it comes to parties – don’t go to holiday parties RAVENOUS. Don’t “save up” all day by restricting. This generally backfires when you arrive ready to eat the buffet table. Sure, eat leaner through the day, but fill your body with whole, healthy foods so when you arrive you’re better able to make healthy choices.

And a final tip – choose your days.

Choose a few key days or parties where you know you’ll want to indulge. And fully ENJOY them, but make it non-negotiable that the very NEXT meal or NEXT day you’re back to eating well and focusing on healthy whole foods & good quality nutrition. Don’t take all the fun out of the holidays – and don’t skip your mom’s famous homemade eggnog and feel all deprived! One glass wont’ undo all the great work you’ve done this year to move your health forward – but feeling miserable & sad will really put a damper on your memories. SO indulge responsibly & be mindful. Savour and enjoy the treats you choose.

Now it’s your turn!

Set your non-negotiables. I recommend setting one for each: nutrition and fitness. As you develop it consider these questions:

  1. What will you? Like, ACTUALLY do. Be realistic and consider all your commitments.
  2. What do you need to do to feel your best? What activities are the most important to your overall health and well being? Which ones can slide?
  3. How will you keep track of your non-negotiable? Technically it should be so straightforward it is like brushing your teeth. But much like any habit, in the early phase of change tracking is a great way to know you’ve done it. A simple check mark on the calendar or a note in your phone can do the trick!
  4. What is your timeline? When will this non-negotiable period start and more importantly when will it END.
  5. What will you do to ramp back up to your regular habits? Create an action plan now!

Happy holidays and if you’re getting stuck, contact me! I love helping people get un-stuck!