Holiday Health: Tips for staying balanced and Well through the New Year
It’s a familiar scene:
Crispy leaves once colorful and robust fall at our feet. Squirrels start to gnaw at the remains of our pumpkin jack-o-lanterns and New Englanders scurry to complete their Winter accoutrements like boots, gloves and earmuffs. We all start hunkering down what is often a long and snowy winter.
The holidays are lurking and while for many this means lots of roaring fires, presents and glee; for others, it’s the begin of a difficult onslaught through weeks abundant, decadent food, holiday party after holiday party and the unexpected visit from neighbors bearing 15 different types of Christmas cookies.
It’s just a fact: Americans tend to gain a lot of weight from now until the end of winter.
The allure of the Holidays with respect to food and drink is so strong and so unrelenting that many of us out of sheer overwhelm just shrug our shoulders, give up and just hope for the best until the New Year when they can resolve to start their latest deja vu diet or commit to their Soul Cycle classes again.
What if I were to tell you that it could be different this year?
You’d be pretty psyched right?
What if, instead of an all or nothing approach we often take, we could find 50 shades of grey – holiday style?
It definitely can be done and here are some tips how.
For each holiday party you attend, choose to go full.
Have a smoothie or veggies and dip or even a full cooked meal that you eat ahead of time before going. The idea here is that if you are physiologically full before a party, you will be less inclined to eat everything in site and be more judicious in the holiday treats you choose to consume.
Make a plan to do one non-negotiable healthy behavior each day until the new year.
They can be big things like working out or meditating, or little goals like committing to eating 2 vegetables that day.
Commit to acts of self-care.
The holidays are actually stressful. We may have to see family that we don’t particularly get along with. We have to rush to get all of those last minute gifts. Oh and your Mother just told you Aunt Edna is coming and is expecting your famous sugar cookies! It can be a frenetic time and it’s important to take a minute to reconnect with yourself and your needs. Basically, you’re going to want to create a robust pleasure and self-care inventory and check off daily what you can accomplish from that list each day such as a bubble bath, being in nature, meditation, massage, affirmations, going to bed earlier, etc…
Begin or continue your exercise routine even if it means walking outside.
When the weather gets colder and the sun sets sooner, we go in hibernation mode and it takes a concerted effort to remain active. Our NEAT goes down and we have to proactively look for ways to burn energy. Exercise and movement can help with SAD and helps us get out of a stress response and into a relaxation response.
Bundle up and walk outside
Cross country skiing
Practice Location Organization
This means being aware of, planning ahead of time and advocating for yourself depending on the environment you are in. It means not assuming there will be healthy options at that party and you bringing the crudites platter as your offering. It means moving trigger foods out of the house or at least to a higher cabinet where it’s more difficult to act on impulse and grab them. It may even mean not attending every single party you’ve been invited to so that you can recover from a higher calorie day or a less healthy week. It also means bringing in healthy foods to your home, and being prepared to have grab and go healthy snacks for your car and even your purse in case of a challenge.
The holidays are rough but it needn’t be a scenario where a detox is needed January 1st. I truly believe that balance is doable but elusive for many. It’s one of the things I specialize in so if you’re concerned about the next 8 weeks, schedule a free consult with me!
And don’t forget to join my Wellness Warriors Facebook group where I’ll be checking in daily with our wonderful community to support you all with recipes, challenges and tips for surviving the holidays.