It’s that time of year again, the Holidays! With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s creeping upon us it’s that time to let loose, let your dietary habits go, dive in and indulge for 6 weeks. After all, you can always go back to healthy dietary habits in January, right? Here’s where I say, false. We all know that the #1 New Years resolution is to get healthy, change poor habits, join a gym and get ready for that beach body during hibernation season. This is a great resolution to have but why spend the 6 weeks leading up to that resolution letting go and making it harder on yourself come the New Year? Yes, the holidays are about relaxing, indulging and celebrating with close friends and family. BUT, that is not a reason to get wild with your diet!
I understand that staying healthy and on track can be a challenge during the holidays. Trust me, I’m in those temptation environments as well so I get it! Just know that you can still stay healthy all while enjoying at the same time. You shouldn’t ever have the feeling of deprivation during the “happiest time of the year”. SO, how do you stay healthy and focused? Here are some sensible rules to navigate during this holiday season!
Rule #1 – Don’t Feel Guilty
As mentioned, this time of year is meant to be with family, close friends and celebrating all things that we are grateful and thankful for. With that comes rich meals and delicious treats! Take your moment, enjoy the foods and treats you love the most and move on. Don’t spend this time eating what you love while feeling guilty about it. Where’s the fun in that? Feeling guilty about enjoying foods you don’t normally eat can lead to additional unhealthy behaviors. So, ignore those negative voices in your head, give yourself the acceptance to enjoy guilt-free and remember to get back on track with your health goals the very next day. Every day is a new day and a few days out of the 6 week holiday gap will not hurt you – I promise!
Rule #2 – Indulge in What You Love the Most
When you’ve allowed yourself to indulge in what you love, make sure that you are filling your plate with what you love the most. Avoid adding food or treats to your plate that you're kind of “eh” about. If you’re going to get wild, go wild on the foods that you only get to enjoy once or twice a year. Leave the “eh” foods at the sideline.
Rule #3 – Enjoy Every Bite
When we surround ourselves with the foods that we don’t normally eat we tend to turn into scavengers and eat as fast as we can. Getting in that moment of “oh my god, where have you been all my life?”. I know you’ve all had that moment biting into something you love. Take the time to slow down and enjoy every bite. This will avoid grabbing for second, thirds and I’m sure some of you, fourths. Remember, it takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain that it’s full so the slower you eat, the better off you’ll be from over eating AND you get to enjoy each bite that much longer. So rather than racing to finish your plate first to grab onto seconds so your older brother doesn’t beat you to it (if you have older brothers, you know exactly what I mean!), see if you can outlast that need to rush to seconds…or thirds…or fourths, and enjoy every single bite!
Rule #4 – Take Advantage of Nutritionally Dense Foods
Just because it’s a holiday season doesn’t mean that every single food item on the table carries little or no nutritional value. Yes, of course there will be some but most holiday staples are packed with protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. So, when diving in, make sure you’re grabbing the foods you love the most but additionally, fill your plate with a balance of those nutritional dense staple items.
Rule #5 – Alcohol Consumption
If you chose to drink alcohol, try to save yourself those extra 100 calories per glass and alternate between one glass of alcohol of choice and one glass of water or sparkling water with a lime. Not only will this help save you calorically and avoid those empty calories (and easy weight gain) but it will keep you hydrated and avoid that nasty headache the following day. Double win!
Rule #6 – Stay Active
Planning a work out before or after the Holiday will help you with Rule #1 in addition to helping your body digest, burn and detox from which ever vice you’ve chosen. Don’t wait until January 2nd to hit that reset physical activity button. Stay physically active during the holiday season. This will help keep your mind guilt-free in the environments as well as keep your body on track so you’re at a head start at tackling your 2017 health and fitness goals.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!