The Holiday season is fast-approaching! Halloween is coming up this week, followed up by Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. As a child, I always thought the time between each of these events took FOREVER, but now I realize we get busy, and the weeks fly by, and soon we are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season wondering how in the heck we got there. All in all though, it is truly my favorite time of year. I love the crispness in the air as summer turns into fall and fall turns into winter. And I love the coziness and the warmth of blankets and fireplaces. I also love the food.
Although the holidays are really meant to celebrate the ones we love, we often do this by joining together over food. For some people, this is a wonderful thing. But for some people, the idea of an expanding waistline during the holidays can be a bit daunting. It is possible though, to celebrate with friends and family, enjoy delicious food, and not lose track of a healthy lifestyle.
These are 5 simple, easy tips to keep yourself on track throughout the holiday season and into the New Year.
1) As with every meal, focus on whole foods and ingredients. This is probably the absolute most important tip of all. Try to limit the amount of processed foods you are consuming and bump up the amount of leafy greens (both raw and cooked) that you eat every day. Shoot for plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. When you eat real food, the need to stay on a restricted diet, counting calories/fats/carbs can be thrown out the window. Eat real food, and your body will respond. You will stay fuller and satisfied longer, with less. Your body will feel more energized, your mind will feel sharper, and your skin might even glow 😉
2) Drink water. You have heard this one many, many times, but it really is essential – especially during the holiday season. As we attend parties, and are tempted to eat sweets and drink cocktails, we can easily become dehydrated. Sugar and alcohol both suck the liquid from our systems and can leave you feeling parched and your skin feeling dry. Aim to stay on track with 8 glasses of water (and/or herbal tea) a day.
3) Exercise regularly. Shoot for moving your body 5 days a week. Take at least 30 minutes each day (more if you are able) and find some sort of exercise. Anything at all is fine, as long as you get your heart rate up a bit, breathe a little deeper, and sweat a tiny bit. Remember to find something you enjoy , so you are more likely to stick with it.
4) Don’t deprive yourself. If you are sticking to whole foods, this is no problem. Usually cravings happen when we are missing a component in our diet. If you find you are craving something sweet, go ahead and have something. The more you deprive yourself, the more likely you are to binge and overindulge. Look for something made with real ingredients – the fewer the better. Vegan, organic options are usually a good idea, because they tend to be lower in unhealthy fats and higher in plant –based, healthier fats. Also, remember that food is just food – missing out on a treat will not be the end of the world, chances are you may forget about the importance of it in a day or two. Sometimes we have cravings because we are bored, or thirsty, or angry, or happy, or sad, etc. Check in with your feelings and see if you are truly hungry.
5) Get a regular 8 hours of sleep. This can be a tough one. With the holidays, our busy lives become even busier. Make sure to carve out the time to get enough sleep, otherwise you may start to rely on caffeine throughout the day to keep you awake. The more caffeine, the more we stay stimulated and the harder it becomes to sleep…and then the more caffeine we need to stay awake. It’s a vicious cycle. Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep, depending on your needs. In the morning, see how you feel and maybe have one cup of coffee or tea to ease you into the day. The more sleep you have, the more your body can restore from the previous day, and the more energy you will have.
There you have it, easy holiday tips. Take them one at a time and slowly see you energy levels changing and your health maintaining (if not improving!).
Coming up this week – a delicious fall harvest dinner recipe, some Halloween treats, and healthier options for your trick-or-treaters!
Until then, take care!
Peace, love, and good health,