It's finally the holiday season!!! This is one of my favorite times of the year, but it's also one of the busiest. As a result, it can be really hard to maintain a healthy routine. There are always a million and one things to do; there are lots of parties to go to; you might be traveling or having family and friends coming into town - it can become pretty overwhelming. One thing I would like to stress is how important it is to not be too hard on yourself. You are supposed to enjoy yourself during the holidays, so allow yourself to be a little indulgent. Normally I like to follow the 80% healthy 20% indulgent rule, but during the holiday season it's more like 70-30.
While it is so important to allow yourself a little extra leeway during the holidays, I promise that you will feel a lot better if you take care of your body and mind throughout this crazy time of year. It will allow you to really enjoy the season. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy during the holidays:
Navigating Holiday Parties: One of the questions I get asked most frequently is how to make healthy choices at holiday parties. This is definitely a valid question seeing as most parties offer tons of unhealthy foods and lots of alcohol, but there are ways you can make your night out a healthier one! I recommend having a small, healthy meal just before heading off to the party. This will help you feel full so that you won't be as tempted to go overboard on the unhealthy options at the party. Try to eat something with high-quality protein such as fish or grilled chicken. When it comes to drinking, moderation is key! It can be tempting to just keep the drinks coming, but try to think about how you want to feel the next day. A few drinks may be fine, but more than two and you might pay for it the next morning!
Plan Ahead: The holidays are always really busy, so it can be difficult to find time every day to cook yourself a healthy meal. That's why it's a great idea to plan ahead and cook some things in advance. Maybe try cooking all your meals for the week on Sunday so that all you have to do on weekdays is heat it back up! Also try to keep some healthy snacks on hand for when you need a quick pick-me-up.
Stay Active: I know from personal experience that it can be really challenging to maintain a fitness routine during the holidays, but you will feel much better if you do! Try to be active for at least 30 minutes a day if not longer. You can even make it a family affair and sign up for a holiday fun run! As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have a non-negotiable 10 minute yoga flow that I do every morning, and I squeeze in some extra exercise when I can.
Get Lots of Rest: The times when you are really busy are actually the times when your body needs the most rest, so try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night! I also recommend that you switch off your technology for a few hours throughout the day. No texting, no emailing, no checking social media (am I the first millennial to ever say this?!). Do something that relaxes you!!!
Remember to Stay Hydrated and Eat Your Vegetables: Try to incorporate some vegetables into every meal, especially leafy greens, and make sure to drink at least 2 liters of water per day (try to get even more than that if you are drinking something with caffeine or alcohol).
Find Healthier Versions of your Favorite Holiday Treats: Just about any recipe can be made healthier by using less sugar and substituting certain ingredients for healthier ones. If you are using chocolate, make sure to use dark chocolate which contains less sugar and fat than milk chocolate. Spices can also add a lot of flavor to food without adding extra calories!
The Most Important Tip of All: Remember that indulgences are okay!!!!! I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again because it is SO SO SO important!!! It is incredibly dangerous to let yourself feel overwhelmed with guilt about what you did or did not eat; that indicates you have a really unhealthy relationship with food. If you went a little overboard, let it go, and start again the next day. The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself and remember the true reason for the holidays!
I would love to answer any questions you may have, so please comment below!! I hope you all have a wonderful, joyful, and relaxing holiday season!