Holiday Survival Guide

There are approximately 9,000 billion articles and posts about how to stay healthy during the holidays but seriously, who do those things work for? I mean, I want them to work for me but the idea of staying on my regular healthy eating plan without enjoying my holiday favorites would actually kind of depresses me. And no disrespect to the people who figure out how to make all the recipes with no fat, low fat, no carbs, etc but dang it… I really like the occasional cream cheese icing over Christmas break and so that kind of recipe wizardy just doesn’t work for me. For the longest time I committed myself to eating healthy all year and then come December I’d go hog wild… that didn’t work out well at all. It meant that 1. I went into January feeling like crap / having gained a bunch of unnecessary pounds and 2. I always, always got sick right after Christmas.

Now I have some hard and fast rules to keep me on my game this time of year. As always, I am not a trained professional (😂 as-if!) these are just the habits that work for me so hopefully, you’ll find them helpful.

1️⃣ Stick to your regular diet – Dude. Don’t roll your eyes at this totally obvious piece of advice because you know as well as I do that in December we start to do things we’d NEVER do during a Tuesday in May or a Thursday in August. Commit to sticking to your regular diet and then indulging at times of celebration: the office holiday party, your friend’s cookie exchange, etc. There are going to be plenty of opportunities to have some fun, but in the meantime, keep at it with the salad for lunch so you can enjoy the pumpkin roll at Aunt Linda’s gift exchange this weekend!

2️⃣ Fill your plate, but leave half for veggies- Now here’s the deal, when you get to said celebration: enjoy yourself! But enjoy yourself with a plate. Snacking on random appetizers makes it hard to keep track of how much you’re eating so use a plate instead. When something looks AMAZING I want you to add it to your plate but then here’s your mission… leave that plate half full! If you’re like me then you grew up in a culture where we loaded up our buffet plate like we needed that single meal to help us survive the winter. There’s a solid chance you’re putting way more than you need onto that plate. BUT, if I’m forced to pick and choose I feel deprived and then I end up binging. So, instead, I let myself add everything to the plate and then I eat it slowly so the feeling of being full will hit me long before the plate is empty.

3️⃣Is it worth it? – A BIG helper for me a to keep in check with indulgent food? We always take a bite and then ask ourselves “is this worth the calories, fat, sugar, etc I’m about to consume?” If it is, enjoy! But more often than not the cookie is just “OK” and I don’t want to go totally off track for an OK baked good… I’d rather save up for something that makes me pee my pants.

4️⃣ Workout, every single day – Chances are, you’re going to consume more this month than you normally do and a surefire way to still feel great is to make sure your workouts are set to accommodate the increase. Even if you just take the dog for a long walk or dance around your kitchen while you bake the cookies promise me you’ll get your heart rate up for at least thirty minutes every day!

5️⃣ Pay attention to how certain foods make you feel – I believe that being healthy isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you feel. To that end, it’s imperative that you start to pay attention to (and care about) how the foods you eat make you feel. Does your face break out when you eat dairy? Does your back hurt or your feet swell up when you eat sugar? Does your stomach get upset when you eat fried food? It took me most of my life to understand that those side effects are symptoms– that’s your body telling you it doesn’t process that particular food well but most of us ignore it. If you just paid attention to what is throwing your off physically you’d be able to indulge in foods that are delicious but don’t make you feel badly.

5️⃣ Drink water like it’s your job – You must, must, must be hydrating this month! I mean really, you must be hydrating every day all year long but most especially if you’re going to be taking in more indulgent food and drinks than normal. The water will help flush things out of your system and will help keep you from getting sick.

6️⃣ Eat something healthy before you go to the party – I fully expect to eat the party food at any holiday party I attend… but, I also ALWAYS eat a big leafy green salad or a green Shake before I go so I’m not as hungry. It’s much easier to leave half my plate full that wayl

7️⃣ Don’t sabotage your future self –  Listen up, don’t fall for the lie that you can do whatever you want this month because you’ll “work it off in January…” Seriously, how’s that gone in the past? If you do actually work it off, well then you started your year off just getting back to where you were already. That’s not especially motivating and if you don’t get back to healthy then you’ve sabotaged yourself. Who you are today is awesome and you should enjoy your life… but not at the detriment to who you’re going to be next month.

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