I don't know about you but every year, starting at Thanksgiving, I find so many more chances to eat gobs of sugar, drink more alcohol and generally let my self-care routine go out the window. Of course we all want to go to the office X-mas party and enjoy mom's homemade eggnog but this IS the month where you decide how you start 2017 (do you want to feel healthy, light and energized or like a hungover sloth who now has an extra 5-7lbs to drop?) In recent years, I've found a way to enjoy all that the holidays bring without totally derailing my generally healthy lifestyle.
Here are a few tips to help you this month:
1. Prioritize your sleep-Any time you are sleep deprived, your ability to resist sugar or crappy carbs (bread, crackers, fried things) is massively disrupted. As a tired human, after denying yourself candies and cookies all day, there will be a point you can no longer say no. If you are rested, you are in a better mindset to make good choices. Getting whatever your nightly sleep number is (mine is 7 1/2-8hrs) has to be a non-negotiable. This means you might have to pick and choose the holiday parties you attend or do some shopping online instead of late nights at the mall. Whatever it takes, do it. This is the number one thing you can do to help reduce cravings and stress.
2. Stay hydrated-This is a basic but if you aren't drinking enough water, your body often mistakes calls for hydration as cries for food. And if the closest food is M&Ms or the big popcorn tin, that's what you'll grab. If you are having a craving, first drink 8-16oz room temp water and wait 5-7 minutes. Often times the craving will pass. Repeat as you see fit.
3. Ask family/friends to support you-Everyone wants to share their bomb brownies or fudge with you at the holidays. But that's the problem-everyone is a lot of people (you have a lot of friends-what can you say?). If you know certain people always bring you holiday treats that are nearly irresistible, kindly and lovingly ask them to skip you this year. Make sure they know it's not about what they bring or them-you love them the most-but that you are doing your best to take good care of yourself and don't trust yourself in the house with their s'mores cookies.
4. Eat a normal dinner before attending a "heavy apps" party-Seems weird but if you are going to more of an appetizer/grazing party, no one will notice if all you do is drink sparkling water (perhaps a glass of wine) and skip the heavy/non-nutritious apps. Eat a dinner that is heavy on fat and fiber (lots of veggies sauteed in ghee, butter or coconut oil with some sort of protein is my go to) so that you are full when you arrive. If you are attending a sit-down dinner, obviously this isn't as easy but still eat something before going, skip the passed apps and eat small portions. Pass on anything that doesn't serve you-dessert, extra booze, anything you don't really love. You probably don't have to even explain yourself to your host but if they ask, just let them know that you are trying to stay balanced during the holidays. And of course thank them graciously.
5. Move, move, move-I will say this until I'm blue in the face-doesn't matter what you do or for how long, just move your body every day. Today I did a five minute strength routine and that's it. I'm ok with that. Just do something. Walk around the block (take your dog or kids with you if you want or just jet out the door and let them know you'll be back in 10), do 10 minutes of yoga or dancing at your house, take a boxing class you've wanted to take, do jumping jacks/plank/pushups/squats/lunges for one minute each. Even a small effort will pay off and it communicates to your body that you love it and you are looking out for it.
If you end up eating a whole pan of brownies or a pound of dark chocolate covered almonds all in one sitting (completely hypothetical situations, of course), stop, breathe and move on from it. Don't let even a big indulgence ruin the rest of your day, week or month. Course correct and commit to have something nutritious at the next meal.
This is also the time where extra support can pay HUGE rewards to your health/wellness. Consider scheduling a complimentary health consultation with me this month (that's right-before New Year's) so you can get some tips for staying on track and see what working with me could do for your health, energy, stress and body. Get details here and have a healthy and happy holiday season!