The holidays are officially here, y’all!
It’s both an extremely joyful and overwhelming time, all at once…am I right?!
It’s also the time of year when people are most likely to let themselves go…for a number reasons! More stress, more parties, sugar everywhere and SO many reasons to celebrate.
Don’t have time to read this? Catch the video replay here.
Holiday stress is a massive trigger for weight gain–let’s not understate the fact that it’s a very busy time of year! You have all of the obligations of your normal life, like work, family, self-care, etc., plus all of the festivities, which include tons of holiday parties, time with your relatives and extended family, travel, big meals, more drinking and lots of money spending (a big stress trigger!).
All of these factors contribute to temptation overload and may cause you to get out of your routine. The really crazy thing is that it’s so easy to put on 5 to 10 pounds within a period of weeks, but this can take months to take off!
A pitfall you don’t want to find yourself in.
In truth, real health doesn’t work like this–it’s not an on-again, off-again thing. Drastic weight fluctuations and yo-yo dieting wreak havoc on your body and your long-term health.
But here’s a little secret…
You can enjoy the holidays with a little bit of indulgence (and all the goodness that comes with life) without it being setback to your health and your figure. All it takes is a little bit of strategy!
So, how can you maintain your headspace and your health without falling off the wagon? Follow these simple guidelines:
- Eat before you go out. Not necessarily every single time–but, if you’ve had a long day and you’re feeling stressed or hungry, definitely make a point to do this! You never want to show up at an indulgent meal feeling starving or overwhelmed, because guess what? You are ten times more likely to stuff your face with rich, indulgent foods! If you have a bite of something healthy beforehand, like some leftover stir-fry veggies or carrots and hummus, you’ll eliminate your unhealthy cravings along with the urge to overeat.
- Limit your drinking. It seems like there’s always a reason to go out this time of year. Work holiday parties, friend holiday parties, family holiday parties…you get the gist. My best advice is go easy on the bubbly! One drink may not leave you with a hangover, but it will affect your energy, appetite and cravings the next day. The more you drink the more likely you are to eat junk, so keep it to only three nights a week! Whether it’s one glass or a whole bottle (which I definitely don’t recommend), keeping your consumption contained within a few days will yield more energy and better health habits on all of the other days–so you don’t end up sacrificing your workouts or vegetables!
- Limit your sugar intake. Same as alcohol! Eating dessert three nights a week is more than I would recommend in your “normal” life, but over the holidays there’s temptation lurking in every corner and every night feels like a special occasion. I get it. Try to keep your daytime life sugar-free for more energy less bloating. Set yourself up for success by planning ahead for the nights you will indulge in a sweet treat–and stick to your guns!
- Don’t sacrifice vegetables. NO MATTER WHAT. Regardless of everything else you eat, drink or sweat out in a day, always consume your normal veggie intake (which should be at least one giant plateful every day). I suggest making some roasted veggies on your meal prep day to snack on throughout the week, or if you’re super busy, stock up on some pre-made veggie medleys at the grocery store. It’s a perfect thing to eat before you go out to a big, heavy meal. Also, when you’re out at a restaurant, you can almost always order veggie sides to complete your meal. You don’t have to sacrifice vegetables or healthy habits if you’re traveling!
- Don’t sacrifice your workouts. Just like your vegetables 👆. Since you’re smart enough not to drink every night, you should have no problem getting up early and fitting in a workout before your workday (even if you have evening holiday plans) at least four days a week. If you’re traveling, scout out a gym, yoga studio or fitness class nearby. If you’re traveling somewhere remote, make time for an outdoor jog or hike. No excuses on this one, you only need one hour to get a substantial workout!
- Make it official. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead! Schedule your workouts, your drinking days and your dessert days on your calendar. It may sound silly and elementary, but you’re ten times more likely to succeed if you make it official. In doing this you are setting personal boundaries and therefore you know exactly what to expect. It also makes it easier to say N-O to temptation. If you can get in a good habit of doing this for your everyday life (not just for the holidays), you’ll be unstoppable! 😜
- Bring something healthy to the table. When you go to a holiday party or family affair, take something healthy to share–like a gluten-free dessert or vegetarian casserole. It’s a perfect way to contribute and gives you (and everyone) a healthier option. Trust me when I say people will appreciate you!
- Fill your plate to 3/4 capacity. This is a big one for rich holiday meals! Instead of filling your plate like you normally would, only fill your plate 3/4 of the way full. Don’t worry about it not being enough–nine out of ten times you won’t feel the need for anything more! After you eat, wait at least 20 minutes before you consider refilling. If you feel the urge to go back for seconds, drink a glass of water first. If you still feel the urge, have seconds!
- Most importantly, enjoy yourself! A huge part of having a healthy body and mind is freedom. Freedom around food and your habits–which means not being too strict, too restrictive, too regimented, too obsessed. Food and exercise shouldn’t consume your every thought, and you certainly don’t need to plan your life around them. Stay focused on the non-material things that bring you joy, and the rest will fall into place.