The Holidays can be an anxiety-provoking time for a lot of reasons, it’s an expensive time of year and also a time that focuses a lot on social gathering and of course food! Two years ago I remember waking up, anticipating Thanksgiving dinner and dreading it. I was so scared that this indulgent weekend was going to ruin my progress no matter what I did. This wasn’t the first time I’d felt this way, there was also moments similar such as during weddings, summer weekends at the beach, and during my birthday, remember when Stephen gifted me protein bars instead of cake?! (No blame on Stephen, I wouldn’t have eaten cake…sad, I know).
But it was that specific Thanksgiving morning that I thought okay no, I cannot keep letting this stress run my life. I knew it was an internal fear that no one else around me was concerned with. No one around me was watching the portion of mashed potatoes I took, or wondering in their head if I was going over my grams of carbs for the day, it was only me. And with that realization I recognized that all of this stress was my choice, my goals were ones that I set for myself and the only one who stressed about them was me. I knew I couldn’t continue my life doing constant ab checks and being constantly worried about my progress. SO I decided it was time for a mindset shift, I was going to enjoy my weekend without strictly counting my macros but just being mindful of how I felt. This is a pretty fine line to walk and easier said then done. Because when we let ourselves relax for a little our minds may go into panic mode and think “okay, this is only a short term ‘treat’ so I better enjoy it fully because come next week I’ll never get to do this again”. Wrong. This is the exact thought pattern we DON’T want to go through. Instead I would remind myself that all the candy, donuts, chocolate and cake in the world will always be there, whenever I want it. Just like the broccoli, chicken and rice will be too.
With that being said I’m personally going into the holidays this year with an open mind and I try and put little to no pressure on myself when it comes to working out or eating specifically. However, I do want to feel good and I like working out! So it’s not like I throw everything out the door.
Here are some tips I follow to help find that healthy balance and feel well while enjoying all that the holidays have to offer.
Please know I’m not trying to suck the fun out of the holidays! I just don’t want anyone to feel shame, guilt or out of control so I encourage you only pick some tips that feel right and implement them whenever it suits you.
1. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast.
You know when you eat something kinda junky for breakfast and then you feel like “oh well today is a write off” and continue to eat poorly for the rest of the day? Okay it might just be me but I find if I start the day off right I’m more likely to make good choices for the rest of the day or at least not feel crappy or feel guilty for having a more rich meal later!
2. Scheduling some non-negotiable workouts through the holidays.
Morning workouts tend to be the best because they aren’t as easy to ditch, when things come up later in the day or we get busy it can be tempting to take the workout off the to-do list all together. Ways to hold yourself even more accountable include; planning a workout with a friend, signing up for a workout class when there is a penalty for not showing up. I don’t want to be charged $10! I have presents to buy lol
3. Fill your plate with 50% vegetables, 25% protein and 25% starch.
If you still want more of anything after that I’d eat it! You already had a ton of vegetables and some solid protein, your body got a ton of nutrients and are you really going to say no to your Grandma’s baking? Cmon now.
4. Staying hydrated.
8+ cups a day helps with digestion, cravings and bloated. Enough said right?!
5. Be the person that brings a healthy dish to the potluck.
If you bring a dish you can feel good about then worst case scenario you just eat a bunch of your own food! I listed 5 fun and festive vegetable side dish recipes in the facebook group the other day so feel free to join that group here and check those out.
6. When it comes to alcohol there are some more ‘friendly’ choices we can make such as vodka or gin with soda and lemon or lime juice (did you know tonic has as much sugar as coke?!), you can also mix with diet coke, or sprite zero etc. I personally almost always drink wine, and will try and drink a cup of water between each drink. It can be helpful to set a drink limit for ourselves before going out so we can hold that in the back of our minds. My limit is usually 2. I also hate feeling sluggish the next morning so I know my limits and stick to it!
7. Relax – the holidays are a time for relaxing and socializing with friends and family but also a good time to take time for ourselves whether it’s binging on Netflix, taking hot baths, setting New Year resolutions or a combination of all of the above make sure you’re giving yourself time to reset before Jan 1!
8. Experiment with health versions of your holiday favorites.
If you like to create in the kitchen check out health alternatives to holiday classics like pumpkin pie, eggnog lattes, gingersnaps, etc. Might be a good date night idea too 😉
Okay guys that’s all my tips for now! If there’s anything else you want to expand on or any tips you have to add I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Happy Holidays! xxC