By Chelsea Gloeckner OnMilwaukee contributor Published Dec 21, 2018 at 3:01 PM

The holiday season can be stressful and hectic, filled with temptations to overindulge. Overdoing it during the holidays leaves us feeling sluggish, bloated and tired. And when we try to avoid holiday weight gain, we often end up bingeing and feeling guilty. 

Want to feel healthy, happy, strong and fit this holiday season instead? Then follow these five tips to stay healthy, active and feeling your best.

1. Know your motivation

When you understand your "why" for wanting to be healthy and active, you’re able to make progress and accomplish whatever goals you set for yourself!

Knowing what motivates you to be healthy is key to keeping you on track during a stressful and hectic time. Otherwise, it’s too easy to put off your goals until after the holidays are over.

Ask yourself: Why do I want to stay healthy during the holiday season? How will I feel in January if I lived a healthy, active lifestyle during the holidays?

2. Challenge all or nothing thinking

Ever fall into this trap of thinking: "Since I’ve had this piece of pie with whipped cream, now I’m going to eat more pie, whipped cream, extra stuffing and mashed potatoes ... and then I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow." 

Yes, me too. But let’s not fall into that trap, because it doesn’t lead anywhere healthy – and it certainly doesn’t make us feel good. 

Ask yourself: Why does splurging on one meal or indulging in dessert mean I should eat mindlessly and excessively until I reset tomorrow? How does bingeing and "starting again tomorrow" feel?

3. Bring a healthy recipe 

With dinners, cocktail parties and cookie swaps galore, bring a side dish or dessert that everyone will love, but is also good for everyone’s health (and waistline).  Think carrot apple soup, roasted acorn squash, pear and gorgonzola salad, or cocoa truffles. Everyone will thank you.

4. Gift yourself early

Gift yourself something at the beginning of the holiday season to stay active and motivated throughout the rest of winter. Being active boosts your mood, energy and helps you feel strong and light.

Choose one of the following goodies to help you feel your best this season: resistance bands for home or hotel workouts, new tennis shoes, a foam roller, a healthy cookbook, a fruit of the month subscription or a class pack to a local studio. (Shred415, Healium Hot Yoga, Invivo, Spire or OrangeTheory are fun options.)

5. Remember there are always leftovers

My brother once piled his dinner plate so high for Thanksgiving dinner that my grandmother asked, "Do you eat just once a week?" My family laughed hysterically about this (and still does), but it brings up a great point: There can always be leftovers! You don’t have to stuff yourself. Which means you can enjoy those foods for the next day or two to come.

Ask yourself: What are my favorite holiday dishes that would be delicious as leftovers?

If you want more tips for staying healthy during the holiday season, you can download my free Healthy Holiday Guide! The Healthy Holiday Guide is the ultimate self-care workbook to take you from overindulgence and guilt to energy, balance, joy and improved well-being.

Cheers to 2018 being your healthiest, merriest holiday season yet!

Chelsea Gloeckner OnMilwaukee contributor

Chelsea Gloeckner, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and the founder of VICTAE, a nutrition coaching business helping athletes and professionals reach their dreams and goals through practical and proper fueling.

In her life and here content, Chelsea combines her love of nutrition, science, and food to provide a fresh perspective on how to live a full and vibrant life.