Prepare ye, prepare ye…for having a Healthier Holiday season!
The period from Thanksgiving (heck, even Halloween!) to New Year’s Eve seems like this magical time…and it CAN be!
It’s a magical time to be with family and friends, a magical time to feel cozy and special, a magical time to give and receive!
It’s NOT, however, a magical time when what you eat, how much you sleep and your activity levels don’t affect your weight, your mood AND your overall health! It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our actions somehow don’t matter because it’s the holidays!
Sure…have that 4th cookie and another glass of wine! Of course, I will have cheese with that! The temptations are endless…and SO delicious!
It all feels so special and MAGICAL…until it’s January 1st and we realize that we don’t feel so well, our heady is kinda muddy, we’ve gained weight and we CRAVE all the stuff we just indulged in! Salad doesn’t sound so good when we’ve been eating party food for a month!
I’ve written about preparing for vacations before. Preparing and living through the holidays is very similar.
One of the things I try to do is to eat extremely well, get sufficient sleep and be especially diligent with exercise in the days leading up to whatever period I’m going to be surrounded by “party food”. For our family, that’s usually the 5 days leading up to Christmas.
You may want to try out some Intermittent Fasting in the weeks leading up to a challenging time or just be mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth, read my post on fasting here. Staying really hydrated will also help, both before and during your planned festivities.
Once you’re in the midst of it all, water and sleep will still be your best friends and planning what treats you will have can really help, along with making time for exercise, even if it’s just a brisk walk.
If you ARE exercising, however, avoid the temptation to think your walk around the block is going to burn off all the calories you may want to ingest!
Some experts suggest that you choose 1 of 3: dessert, drinks or bread at every holiday meal. I don’t know if I could do that at EVERY holiday meal but I do think it’s good advice and something I try to follow in non-holiday times!
It’s also helpful to not show up hungry to Holiday parties. When I choose to eat at home before the party, I almost always make much better choices and also enjoy the company instead of being obsessed with the food being offered.
Lastly, remember that chances are, this is NOT the last time you’re ever going to be offered a gingerbread man or a special glass of champagne…chances are you will live to see another holiday season and you will, once again, have the opportunity to choose!
Whatever path you take, most of all, relax and enjoy your family and friends and know that even if you make some choices you wish you hadn’t, tomorrow is a new day and we will always be there to support you when you’re ready to make a plan to improve your health.