I can’t believe we are already halfway through December! Parties and festivities have begun to roll in, and there is no end in sight to the plates of cookies, overflow of cocktails, and last-minute, gift-gathering escapades. All of the activity of the season can really cause unwanted stress and a build up of anxiety. Plus, with the environment of indulgence all around, it’s not unusual to battle weight gain, and you may feel that you are not eating as well as you normally would.
I know how hard it can be to be on the ball as all of the trays of desserts and appetizers make their way in front of your face. No joke, it is a challenge. I’ve fallen victim enough times (this year included) to know how to pull in the reigns, and what is most helpful to keep me feeling my best. So, I’ve put together a list of tips that will help you through all the treats, celebrations, and craziness.
- For mental sanity and de-stressing, set aside a few minutes for Christmas yoga/meditation! I love to just get on my mat with some instrumental Christmas music (I find this type of christmas music to be the most relaxing), light some balsam-cedar candles, and just breathe or stretch. I know this is a busy season, and you may not have time to yourself, but even if you take one song’s worth of time to tune out all the chaos the season brings, you will feel so much more level-headed, and you will find your shoulders getting further away from your ears 🙂 . Stressed people get in fights over parking spaces and yell at Santa’s elves at the mall. Don’t be that person- do some Christmas yoga.
- Fit in time for fitness. Give yourself a present this year: some time to get your body moving, because you are absolutely worth it! Exercise boosts heart health, reduces stress, improves energy levels, improves blood sugar levels, and just makes you feel better afterward. Plus, exercise will help stave off holiday weight gain, so those New Year’s Resolutions won’t come from a place of discouragement from the aftermath of the holidays.
- Have a “goal” outfit, and/or wear something more form-fitting to a party. If you have a fabulous ensemble in mind that you are aiming to wear to a New Year’s party, it gives you some incentive not to go back for a third cookie in the office break room. Alternatively, when at said party, if you wear something more snug, you will notice much sooner the amount food you have noshed on than if you had on a loose, billowy get-up. This technique prevents you from stuffing yourself at the buffet table.
- In the same vein as the above tip, absolutely under no circumstances should you starve yourself all day before an outing to “prepare” yourself for all the calories you will consume during any festivities. This plan always backfires, as it causes you to be ravished by the time of the party, and to eat more than you originally planned. Plus, if you are hangry, your judgement is impaired, and you may just eat anything you can get your hands on (even that funky fruitcake starts to look appetizing). Have meals during the day that are heavy on the greens and contain lean protein, and you will set yourself up for level-headed dining come party time.
- Drink hot tea before/after/during any holiday bonanzas. Hot tea is great for filling you up without any calories. A cup of hot tea before you go out is a perfect way to help keep portions in check, since you won’t feel like eating more just because the food is there. As an added bonus, ginger or peppermint tea after a big meal is a great tummy-soother and helps with digestion.
- Perhaps the most important tip, and possibly the most difficult to implement: Don’t beat yourself up after a day/week/season of plenty. We are all human, and we all go overboard from time to time, especially during the holiday season. (It’s also perfectly fine to allow yourself a few celebratory indulgences! What is life without a cup of hot cocoa on a chilly Christmas Eve?!) If you do find that you indulged a little too hard, remember you can pick yourself up and start fresh each day, each meal, each snack. Make a grocery list for the week that is full of vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. Schedule in some physical activity each day. Give away heavy holiday leftovers and desserts to those who are less fortunate and hungry. Feeling guilty, ashamed, or depressed are de-motivators that can send you into a downward spiral. Take that frustrated energy and turn it into the fire that keeps you focused on making more nutritious choices moving forward… into 2016!
Tell me- what trips you up most during the holidays? For me, it’s desserts that are set out. If I see them, I am automatically drawn to eat them. I have to find ways to keep myself away from the dessert table and focused on the more important things, like spending time with friends and family. I also ask myself if the dessert is “wow” or “meh”. If it’s homemade, one of my favorites, or everyone is raving about it, perhaps I will give it a try. But why waste my time of something mediocre, right?!
Have a fabulous weekend!!