The holidays are a fun time filled with family, friends and FOOD! As great as this time of year is, it can also be super hard on our efforts to stay healthy. WhiIe I am ALL for enjoying yourself and not depriving yourself from your favorite foods and activities, if you have multiples parties and dinners to attend, then you may end up feeling less than great by the end! I strongly believe in enjoying this time with your loved ones and giving yourself a break, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you to put that piece of cake down or start a ruthless exercise regime.
Instead, I thought I would take a realistic approach to the holidays and give you some tips you can actually use, that are easy to follow, and won’t make you feel like you are depriving yourself!
This is one of my biggest tips. Don’t quit your exercise routine just because it is Christmas, BUT do make it easier on yourself! Staying active is super important not only for your weight loss efforts but for your health in general. Exercising releases your endorphins so you get that “happy” feeling afterwards and it can help to de-stress and relax you.
Instead of heading to the gym or doing your regular workouts, try to be more social. Grab your friends and family, go for that hike you have always been meaning to take. If you live in a warm climate go for a beach walk. And if you are somewhere where it is cold, take a new gym class you have never tried before.
Switch up the times of day you workout, and if nothing else try to aim for a 30-minute walk on most days. You can do this first thing in the morning so any distractions that pop up during the day won’t stop you from doing this.
Get Enough Sleep
There are so many end of year celebrations taking place at this time of the year, so it is inevitable you are going to have some late nights. The problem with not getting enough sleep is that it can lead to bad food choices and cancelled workout plans. When you are tired, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin and less of the hormone leptin. Together these hormones generally result in you wanting to eat more and also feeling less satisfied after you eat. Hello unwanted binges!
The occasional late night won’t totally disrupt your health, but be conscious of just how many happen over the holiday period. Take advantage of any chance you have to sleep in, take a nap or have a break.
Say Hello To Creativity in the Kitchen
While I do like to indulge in some of my favorites over Christmas time ,(I just love apple pie with vanilla ice cream and nothing is better than my mom’s sweet potato pie) I try not to eat too many foods filled with sugar and saturated fats, as they tend to leave me feeling really sick and bloated.
There are so many healthy swaps you can make for all of your favorite Christmas foods, and sometimes just omitting a few ingredients can make all the difference to the way your body feels. For example, try to make raw cacao balls instead of rum balls and a healthy banana nut recipe like this light banana bread, which is a perfect substitute for store bought banana bread.
If you are in charge of bringing food to a party, try to find a healthier version of all your favorites. This way you know what is in your food and it will help you to make better food choices. I know we all love to eat it, but the bloated feeling after overindulging is definitely one of the less enjoyable aspects of the holidays!
Water is going to be your best friend this Christmas! Even when you are mildly dehydrated your body can mistake hunger for thirst. So before you head to any event make sure to drink a glass full of water. It is also super important to drink lots of water after a big day of eating, as this can help to alleviate bloating and improve digestion. I carry my water bottle around everywhere, so I have water readily available.
If you are feeling sick because you have eaten too much, I recommend a glass of chamomile or peppermint tea before bed as these can help to ease your discomfort.
This may seem like a silly thing to say, as generally the holidays are the busiest time of the year for many people. However, I am not talking only about things such as parties, events, shopping and cleaning. If you have some time off of work or school during the holiday period, use this time to do something you haven’t had time for all year. This can be something as simple as a craft project, room organization or catching up with all those friends you haven’t had a chance to see.
If you need the time off just to relax, spend some time outside reading a book instead of grazing on junk food while watching TV. Find other activities such as cleaning out a wardrobe or makeup drawer that require your hands so you can’t mindlessly snack.
I hope everyone has a lovely and safe holiday season. Fill up with nothing but Pure Joy!