The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes the celebrations, parties and social gatherings. While many people equate this time of year with over-indulgence and the inevitable weight gain that often comes along with it, this doesn’t have to be your story at all!
Knowing how to healthfully navigate the holidays just takes a bit of smart strategizing, and if you follow the tips I’ve outlined below you can hit up those holiday gatherings and still fit into the same size pants (maybe even a size smaller) when Jan 1st rolls around.
1. Choose Your Indulgences Wisely
You don’t need to deprive yourself during the holidays, but set your standards high. Your body is your temple, after all. Would you rather have the store-bought cookies that taste just alright, or would you rather have Grandma’s homemade plum pudding made with love? You get the point. Skip the mediocre stuff that you can have anytime of the year and save your indulgences for those few treats that you really look forward to eating once a year.
2. Keep it “Clean” in the Daytime
Most holiday gatherings and feasts tend to occur later in the day and around the dinner hour. If you can keep the rest of your day relatively clean and in order, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a few indulgences later on. Be sure to include as much fresh and water-containing foods as possible earlier in the day with a heavy focus on veggies and greens.
For example, you could start your day off with an alkalizing green drink, snack on raw veggie sticks between meals, and make lunch a huge raw salad topped off with some quality protein and healthy fat. Don’t forget to hydrate with plenty of water (between meals) and swap out some of those caffeinated drinks with herbal teas.
3. Party/Dine Smartly
Never show up at an event overly hungry. This only sets the stage for temptation when you’re presented with a full smorgasbord of goodies to choose from.
Skip the fried hors d’oeuvres in favour of the vegetable crudités, olives, bean-based dips, and quality cheeses (in moderation).
Fill your plate with as much salad and vegetable-based dishes as possible and opt for smaller portions of more calorie-dense foods.
Limit carb-rich foods which can negatively affect your blood sugar (and your waistline), and balance them out with plenty of quality protein and healthy fats which will also keep you satiated longer.
Choose the highest quality food given the circumstance. At the very least opt for whole, real food.
Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks especially if you have many social gatherings lined up where you know you’re going to be drinking. Stick with wine or spirits mixed with soda water, and skip the sugary drinks and cocktails.
Sparkling water with fresh lemon, berries, or pomegranate seeds makes a refreshing and healthier alternative to alcohol (which of course is always optional).
Check out the mocktails I made with Joy in this recipe video.
4. Keep on Moving
Although the holidays can be a busy time for many of us, this isn’t the time to throw your exercise priorities out the window. If you can stick to your regular workout routine then great, but at the very least commit to getting outside and walking for at least 30 minutes each day. Sure, it may be cold outside but that hit of fresh oxygen will do your body good. If you’re staying with family recruit a walking partner to take morning walks with you, or round-up the troops for a post-dinner stroll and marvel at all the pretty and festive lights in the neighborhood.
5. Start Each Day Fresh
It’s easy to just roll last night’s gluttony into the next day, but you don’t really want to do that. Just because you overdid it last night doesn’t mean you need to just throw-in-the-towel today. This kind of thinking is self-destructive to the core.
If you do happen to go a bit overboard one day, or even a few, don’t waste even one minute feeling guilty or berating yourself for it. Just commit to getting back on track the next day or ideally at the next meal, by reverting back to tip #2 and #3. Add in a daily dose of tip #4 and you’ll be well on your way.
And if you need a little more motivation, keep this fun quote in the back of your mind:
Summer bodies are made in the winter
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!