Ah, the holiday season: When there are more calories on the table for one meal than you might otherwise eat in a week!
Here are a few tips to help you survive the holidays and enjoy yourself:
Try and focus on the days leading up the big events and in between, stay on top of your meal preparation and physical activity.
Often we have more than a few social gatherings leading up to the holidays, never skip a meal or go to those events hungry. If you take simple steps to fit in healthy foods, along with your favorite indulgences, you can enjoy a guilt-free and tasty holiday season, The secret is not to completely let loose; I’m sure you’ve all heard of the 80/20 Rule?… Right?
80% of the time you eat healthy, clean, unprocessed foods and 20% of the time you allow room for your favorite indulgences. During the festive season, some of us tend to switch 80/20 to more of a 70/30 rule to make a little extra wiggle room for our festive favorites.
Don’t skip meals. I know what you’re thinking: “If I skip breakfast and lunch I can eat more at dinner.” Any knowledgeable dieter knows that skipping meals slows down the metabolism and causes the body to go into survival mode. Meaning the body is not utilizing food as it should and it starts protecting its fat stores — not exactly what we want.
Here are the basic principles:
- Choose natural, wholesome foods
- Mix complex carbohydrates with lean proteins in most of your meals
- Prefer fresh fruits and vegetables
- Consume healthy fats
- Meal-Prep, plan to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day
- Preferably cook your own meals
- Drink sufficient water (downplay that fruit juice!)
Plan and shop ahead to ensure you have lots of healthy foods within reach. Each week, aim to stock your fridge and pantry with fresh and seasonal veggies, (sweet potato, squash, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are all fabulous winter veggies), hearty fruits (pomegranate and oranges are in season), lean proteins including salmon, eggs and chicken, healthy fats like nuts seeds and avocado and plenty of whole grains. It’s a great idea to stock up on a few on-the-go portion containers like that of Goodbyn containers. This will make meal-prep easy and colorful!
Balance is essential. You do not have to be perfect all the time. Feeling guilty after eating foods you don’t usually indulge in, can breed further unhealthy behaviors. So abandon those negative voices in your head, give yourself permission to enjoy the indulgence guilt-free, and then remember to get back on track with your normal eating routine the very next day.
Keep drinking your water, that will keep you busy and will also keep the alcohol intake down.
The holidays tend to be a time when we overindulge in our favorite cocktails, wines and, my fave, specialty coffees (mmmm peppermint mocha). These cause dehydration and dehydration can leave you feeling bloated, achy and downright lazy. Not exactly the way you hope to feel when you’ve been planning that little black dress to socialize in at a party!
Best advice? Go ahead and reach for that glass of bubbly, that peppermint martini, a glass of merlot or a mocha, but keep moderation in mind, and drink plenty of water! Alternate between an alcoholic beverage and a glass of water or, instead of that calorie-laden latte, try one of these Four Sigmatic blends. This not only keeps you hydrated but also forces you to drink less. One or two drinks less in an evening can save up to 500 calories, if not more.
Daily Tip: Try drinking a glass of warm lemon water or Prairie Naturals Morning Rise and Shine first thing in the morning. The alkalinizing effects of warm lemon water have been shown to not only ward off bloating but to help detoxify the body and prep the digestive tract for the day… of eating and drinking ahead. Pleasant-tasting Morning Rise & Shine™ instant drink mix can be used any time of the day – hot or cold – and is great for people of all ages! Alkalizes * Cleanses * Energizes. 100% vegan. Tested gluten-free.
Self-care – Are you on your list? This year, give to yourself first in order to be emotionally and physically satisfied to give to others.
The beginning of self-care is to allow yourself to do whatever it is that “you” want; if you don’t feel like going to a certain event or overspending on certain gifts, then give yourself permission to say “no”. By learning to value the importance of setting boundaries, you allow yourself to slow down from the hustle and bustle of the season and to simply enjoy those traditions that are important to you.
Daily Tip: Take 15-30 minutes each day to pamper yourself. Have a candlelight bubble bath scented with aromatic bath salts. Sit and watch your favorite show while wrapped up in a cozy blanket. Play music that is relaxing. Experiment with ways to incorporate all of your senses, invite the power of nature into your home with an essential oil diffuser and fill any space with wellness-enhancing essential oil blends.
Try to get in as much sleep as you can, your brain when tired can send you hunger signals when your body isn’t really hungry. Few things consistently mess with a person’s emotional and physical health like chronic sleeplessness and poor sleep. It leads to weight gain, additional stress, and irritability. Losing sleep over the perfect meal or present will not make you or your family happier or healthier over the holidays. But you know what will? Consistent quality sleep. If you have trouble with chronic sleeplessness, you may want to add a melatonin supplement to your wellness routine.
Yes, it’s cold outside, but keep exercise essential.
Certain days, you may find it virtually impossible to have your normal workout, don’t stress. Just do something for 20-30 min or so, but challenge yourself! Anything counts! It’s a great time to get the whole family moving, dust off your old skates or go snowshoeing! Incrediwear have a fabulous line of Winter Sports Socks to keep those toes cozy; check them out here.
Physical activity is the number one thing recommended to reduce stress, improve mood, improve concentration and to combat depression. Decades of research shows that even just ten minutes of high intensity exercise daily triggers the same hormones in your brain (serotonin and dopamine) targeted by anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications.
If you are celebrating and things don’t go as planned, don’t feel guilty. Tomorrow is another day. Take a moment to reflect and plan what you might do differently at the next event. Keep in mind you can always counterbalance an extra holiday indulgence by staying active. Walk an extra mile after you eat, play games, or put the dance floor to good use. Most importantly, remember to practice self-care! So, whatever Winter holidays you enjoy…be safe and stay healthy!