Let’s face it, the holidays are not an easy time of year for those of us trying to keep our health goals in check! In fact, most of us give it up entirely from Thanksgiving through the New Year and then set resolutions that are hard to stick with and prone to fail.
Let’s start by accepting that it’s ok to have trouble keeping up with our usual routines around the holidays. Afterall, no one is perfect! This is the time of year that we should be having fun, practicing gratitude and spending quality time with the people we love, not counting calories and panicking about carbs. We should enjoy this time of year and not get down on ourselves for dropping the ball for a month, but we also don’t want to feel horrible while we’re doing so much celebrating.
Here are a few tips to keep you happy and healthy this holiday season:
Practice the 30/70 Rule
In the world of holistic wellness we recommend that our clients strive to maintain an 80/20 eating pattern, that’s 80% healthy whole foods and 20% everything else. Let’s be real though, with holiday parties and tables full of cookies everywhere you turn that may not be possible. Practice some leeway this time of year and work towards 30/70 instead. Try to keep alcohol to a minimum by abstaining on nights that you don’t have plans and don’t keep sugary treats at home. Stock the fridge with greens, veggies and simple healthy dinner options to keep your weeknight meals in check and help prepare meals when visiting family to keep some healthy options on the table and not derail your normal eating habits. It may sound crazy but chewing each bite of food as long as possible in order to slow down and really enjoy it is a great way to avoid overeating.
It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger and when the table is full of sweet, salty, high calorie foods it’s important to know the difference and eat mindfully to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain. Try this: drink a large glass of water before every meal and throughout the day to avoid over snacking and help keep your body’s energy levels in check.
Staying cool and collected during the holiday’s may seem nearly impossible; maybe your family makes you crazy or you have three parties scheduled in one evening. Remind yourself that you can handle anything and will make it through the hecticness of the season! Take time every morning before the day begins to practice meditation, breathing exercises or yoga. Set an intention if that helps you get in the zone, try “stop and smell the roses,” “ I am enough,” “ I surrender and let go,” repeat these throughout the day when you need stress relief like when you’re shopping at the mall, visiting family, or making sure you have all of the gifts checked off your list.
Move When You Can
These days there are so many ways to get moving without going to the gym ( thank goodness)! It’s not always easy to get to your favorite cardio class or take a long walk after work. Keep in mind that you don’t have to go to a gym or spend hours in a class to reap the benefits of exercise. There are so many easy (and cheap) ways to stay healthy and active including YouTube videos and Yogaglo for quick and easy movement opportunities. You can also learn some simple body weight exercises to do anywhere, even in small spaces. If you’re looking for easy ways to get in some movement while spending time with friends and family invite everyone to take a brisk walk or pack a jump rope in your suitcase to get in some quick cardio, finally, try a plank challenge during commercial breaks to get the heart rate up and have fun.
Staying healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your fun holiday plans. Give yourself space and flexibility to have fun and enjoy the time you spend with people you love while also feeling great, avoiding burnout and having ample energy to really enjoy everything life throws at you. Happy Holidays and enjoy the the season, the cookies, the eggnog and everything else that comes along with it!