Tricks for Surviving this Holiday Season
With the Holiday season upon us we are entering one of the most wonderful times of the year (they wrote a song about it for a reason). Between the get-togethers with family and friends, pumpkin spice everything, Christmas music, time off from work, and watching Christmas Vacation on repeat, there is certainly something to be said for these two special months of the year. However, with the all the good things to look forward to, the Holiday season inevitability brings up some feelings of anxiety around staying on track with your health goals during this extended time of celebration. If this resonates with you, don’t worry, you certainly aren’t alone. To help keep those anxious feelings at bay, here are a few tricks to help you stay on track during this Holiday season.
Set Some Expectations
Taking a quick look at the calendar will quickly help you realize that we are really only talking about 6 or 7 days out of 61 during November and December. That is only about 10% of the entire 2 months. Even if you decide to indulge during those big celebratory days, you still have 54 days to stay within your normal routine. Take those days to cook at home, eat clean, get some movement and get some rest. And don’t forget, if you are doing things well 80-90% of the time, you are doing GREAT!
Don’t be Afraid to Host
When planning your Holiday get togethers this season, think about doing the hosting. As the host, you are in control and can plan the majority of the meal around nutrient dense, whole food, that not only tastes great but is also nourishing to your body. You will walk away from the celebration guilt-free and your guests will find your commitment to your health goals inspiring.
Focus on the Protein
Any time you see a Holiday spread in a magazine, the bird is always the focal point of the meal. However, in reality, we tend to load our plate with the starchy carbs when we are eating these celebratory meals. Protein is the most satisfying of the macronutrients, so give the bird the attention it deserves and enjoy a healthy portion of organic, roasted turkey when making your plate. The protein will help you avoid over-indulging on the, often times, less healthy side dishes.
Don’t Rush the Meal
We spend weeks thinking about and days prepping to get ready for these big holiday meals, yet often times rush through the meal itself. Take a moment before eating to appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into making the meal happen. Taking this minute for gratitude will not only fill your heart with appreciation but will also give your body the chance to relax and prepare for digestion. Digestion begins in the brain with the sight and smell of food and taking a moment before beginning to eat triggers the start of this very complex process. Also, take time to chew your food. During this season of Thanksgiving, your digestive system will thank you for these two very small, and often overlooked, things.
Participate in your local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning or just get out for a walk around the neighborhood after the big meal. This is a great way to keep the dinner conversation going while also sneaking in some movement during a traditionally sedentary holiday. Moderately intense walking has been proven to help control blood glucose levels after eating and the Fall in Charlotte could not be a more beautiful time of year for a walk. Get out and enjoy it.
Focus on the Relaxing Part of the Holiday
The months surrounding the Holidays are generally the time when people have a few extra days off of work. Queue the Christmas music and a hot mug of tea and take some time for yourself. Use this time off to relax and unwind from the stressors of every day life. Do something that makes you happy, even if is only for 15 minutes a day. Slow down and simplify your life in the moments where that is possible.
Give Yourself Some Grace
This may be the most important thing you can do for yourself during the Holiday season. We are all human and as much as we hate to admit it, we aren’t perfect. If you slip up and over-indulge one day, give yourself some grace. The holidays are one of the most difficult times of the year to stay on track with your healthy habits so make the commitment to yourself ahead of time that you will indulge within reason. When you get off track, forgive yourself, move on, and then get back to it. A treat meal is just that…a meal. After that one meal, get back on track and be thankful for all your blessings.
Now, don’t stress and go enjoy this wonderful time of the year!
Bess @ Live Simple Eat Well