There is no shortage of advice on how to stay healthy over the holidays. You can find information on how to stay fit, eat healthier, choose this over food over that, and so on. I could tell you to load up on veggies, satisfy your hunger with protein, stay hydrated, and bring your own healthy dessert, but you probably already know those things.
Instead, I want to give you advice that might make a difference for you this year. The truth is, you don’t need to deprive yourself of the special foods and experiences that are worth indulging in, but you also don’t need to completely ditch your goals and feel unhealthy.
Speaking of goals: make it a goal to simply feel great at the end of each day. For me, it’s somewhere in between enjoying myself but not overdoing it or feeling guilty about any of my decisions. Decide what this looks and feels for you and write it down. Here are a few tips to get you through the rest of the holidays:
Do you ever feel like the harder you try NOT to have a something, the more you think about it and want it? No sugar for seven days? All you want is sugar. No alcohol for the rest of the year? You’re probably going to want that glass of wine (or two) even more. If you tell yourself “I’m not going to eat any pie” you’re automatically instilling an image in your head of you eating pie. But if you say something like “I’m going to eat a lot of turkey, fill my plate with veggies, and drink a ton of water” you’re not even bringing the pie into the situation. When we deem something as off limits, our body goes into deprivation mode and that perceived scarcity is enough to make you eat five cookies instead of just one. You might be surprised to find that when you give yourself permission to eat what you what, you will inevitably end up eating less.
This helps you abide by the “moderation” rule, which we all hear but probably have trouble finding out if it actually exists. Eating until you’re 80 percent full feels like you have a little bit of pressure in your stomach and are no longer hungry, but you don’t feel stuffed. It forces you to tune in, check in with yourself throughout the meal, ask yourself “how am I feeling; am I satisfied yet?” and stop when you are still feeling good.
This requires sitting, eating slowly, and chewing your food, which can also help with digestion and prevent bloating. Don’t eat standing in the kitchen or while engaging in an emotional conversation with a family member. Take the time to slow down and actually enjoy every bite. You can eat what you want (and make sure you truly want it), but pay attention to when you feel satisfied.
You don’t need to write off the entire season as if it’s an all out overindulgence for an entire month. Take it one holiday party or celebration at a time. Do your best to eat and do what makes you happy, and keep going back to the commitment to feel good at the end of each day.
Don’t wait until January 1. These are tools you can bring into the New Year, so start practicing now.
If you’re looking for more strategies and tips to stay on track, nourish your body, feel satisfied, and ultimately be healthy for the rest of the holiday season, join me on December 7 for a free webinar: How to Feel Nourished, Satisfied, & Healthy over the Holidays. With the information in this class, you’ll leave feeling ready and motivated to make some changes, feel less stressed, and treat your body in a way that makes you feel good.
Fitness on the Run is Fitness for Life. Combining a focus on strong bodies and strong minds with a robust wellness education program and unparalleled personalized attention, we provide fitness for health, longevity and functionality.
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