Sounds too good to be true right? But it really does come down to one thing:
You don’t want to overindulge, of course, but you don’t want to over-stress either. That goes food and partying as well as gifting, decorating and all other aspects of the season. Celebrate within your means and you will come out on the other side just as happy as you went in.
It’s a known statistic that the average person gains 3-5 lbs over the holiday season. If you don’t work that off next year, in two years time that’s 6-10 lbs. That’s enough to stress anyone into a bowl of party mix.
I know there are loads of posts out there like this, but I think when the advice comes from a familiar source, people tend to relate a little more. So for my family, friends, & faithful followers, here are my personal suggestions for finding balance this holiday season; for sticking to your commitment to live a healthy lifestyle and enjoying every minute of it!
* Eat before you eat
Yes, you heard right. It’s better to eat a healthy snack before an event with food than to “save up” all day. Eat lighter foods throughout the day like salads & veggies but don’t allow yourself to arrive at a party starving. Eating beforehand is especially important for vegans & vegetarians because the options may be limited.
* Balance your plate
Scan the food table before making any selections. Fill the majority of your plate with the healthiest foods available then take a little bit of the limited edition foods. These L.E. foods are those that are only around during the holidays, like your mom’s famous potato stuffing for example. Think of these foods as being “heavier” so you need less of them to balance your plate. Dessert is always considered an L.E. food.
* Don’t drink your calories
Easier said than done, I know. I’ve learned that I enjoy a “drink” most before my meal, while socializing and waiting for the food to be ready. If you’re one who prefers a drink with food, sip on club soda with lime beforehand. If you know you’re in for more than a one drink, try to have one glass of water for every drink to slow your consumption.
If holiday lattes are your thing, save them for special occasions like parades and tree lightings. Try my healthier candy cane hot chocolate on a regular night, which you may find will substitute for the sugary version just fine 😉
* Sweat first
I’m much more likely to get my workout in if I do it first thing in the morning, before the day gets ahead of me. If you don’t have time for a full session, break it up into two smaller workouts or at least aim for a balanced week of both strength training and cardio. Try some of these 30 minute holiday workouts.
* Fuel your body
Start your day with a balanced breakfast: protein, carbs & healthy fats. For a quick breakfast or snack try one of my smoothies of the month from the recipe page. You can add some protein powder or hemp seeds to any recipe for a macronutrient boost!
If you’re heading out for a day of shopping, pack your purse (or girlfriend’s purse) with healthy snacks so you won’t be tempted by the food court; protein bars, fruit, veggie sticks, or my warrior balls are perfect for this. If stopping for lunch is part of the day, plan it so you can eat somewhere with a healthy option.
* Be mindful
This applies to everything. Savour your limited edition foods, focus on your form in that 30 minute workout, and “be” in each moment with your family & friends. You get the most of out of life when you are truly present in each moment. This one’s tough for me but yoga is a big help! Maybe it’s all of the balance postures?
* Don’t stress!
Seriously. The holidays are supposed to be a happy time. No one expects you to be perfect except you. Give yourself a break and just enjoy the season for what its really about – friends, family, peace, love, and for me, J.C! Stress is the #1 thing that leads to overeating and then we enter that vicious cycle of stress-eat-stress (i.e. no balance at all).
Stick to your gifting budget.
Don’t strive for perfection.
Skip that visit to your least favourite person’s house.
Last but certainly not least, take some time for yourself to recharge. To give people your best, you need to first take care of YOU!
It’s never going to be easy, and unfortunately I can’t give you willpower in a box for Christmas, but if you strive for balance not only will you have a happier, healthier holiday season, but an enhanced life on all levels.