Do the holidays make you stressed? This time of year usually means packed schedules and temptation to sway from healthy habits. If you’re worried about undoing all of the hard work put in to take control of your health, then keep reading. We’re talking five ways to enjoy the holidays without the guilt!
Practice mindfulness. Becoming aware of your habits and what goes on your plate is a key step to living a nutritious lifestyle. This is especially true over the holiday season where everything seems to be available in an overabundance.
Some of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness include:
- Eliminate distractions while eating and put your fork down in between bites to ease digestion and promote a feeling of fullness.
- Check in with yourself by asking where your cravings might be coming from – dehydration, loneliness, stress or hunger? Chances are, the root cause of your craving runs deeper than the aroma of freshly baked cookies.
- Indulge mindfully by choosing either the bread basket, glass of wine, or dessert (not all three).
Manage expectations. If you’ve incorporated healthier habits this year and you’re not willing to let those go during the holiday season, it’s best to communicate this to family and friends. Managing expectations is a great way for your loved ones to be able to support you in your healthy choices. Maybe you prioritize exercise in the mornings or you are significantly reducing the amount of sweets and treats around the house to minimize temptations. Good for you! Just let others know so that everyone is on the same page.
Create boundaries. Telling yourself that you can’t go to any holiday party or that you can’t indulge in any of the season’s finest treats probably won’t work for long. This leads to resentment and feelings of deprivation (and who wants to feel that?!). Set boundaries that allow for a balance between healthy habits and a nutritious plate while giving yourself freedom to enjoy the things you love most.
A few examples of this include:
- At a cocktail party? Fill your plate with lean protein and veggies, first, then go back for the more indulgent foods
- Save the wine for weekends only
- Love to bake? Have a cookie and give the rest away or try out these simple swaps for a healthy baked treat
Give yourself some grace. So you indulged more than you would have like to, or had one too many glasses of wine. That’s okay! Overindulgence will lead to an increase in inflammation in the body (thanks to the excess sugar, alcohol and carbohydrates). This is also why the scaletends to creep up faster than usual over the holidays. To reduce bloating and puffiness, drink lots of water, fuel up on leafy greens and vegetables and increase the fiber on your plate.
Focus on what’s most important. Shift the emphasis from agonizing over missing a workout or what’s on your plate to being present in the joy of the holiday season. Take some time to yourself to reflect, rest and be present in the presence of your loved ones!