Everyone’s definition of health is different. But if there’s one thing almost everyone can agree on it’s that the holiday season is usually a time of splurging and eating foods we normally wouldn’t…and in surprising quantities.
For many it can also be a stressful time with endless shopping lists, cooking huge feasts, and keeping track of whose house you’re supposed to go to next.
With all this going on, our physical and mental health gets put on the back burner…but not this year, my friend!
This holiday season will be packed with wise choices, self love, and most importantly no regret. It’s just a matter of intentionally setting your health as a priority.
I’ve pulled together some easy tips to help you accomplish just that, without feeling like you’re missing out on all the holiday cheer.
You don’t have to eat everything in front of you
While it can be tempting to load your plate with a little bit of everything on the table, that’s a good way to pack on the pounds.
A better idea is to dish up only the foods you absolutely love. By doing this, you won’t feel compelled to shovel in foods you normally wouldn’t eat anyway. And you’ll enjoy every bite.
While we’re on this topic, let’s talk about the unwritten “rule” that says you have to eat way more than usual during the holidays. Go against the grain on this one.
Serve yourself the same amount of food you would on any other day. That way, if it’s a bit more fattening than your usual menu, you won’t be overdoing it completely.
Work in a workout
I know it’s cold out and all you want to do is cuddle under a blanket and watch Christmas movies. On top of that, you’re crazy busy and just can’t find the time to exercise in the midst of all the holiday chaos.
Make time, not excuses.
Staying consistent with your exercise routine will not only help you work off that extra piece of pumpkin pie you ate last night, but it will also keep you feeling fit (physically and mentally).
To keep yourself motivated to workout in the winter, you may need to change up your routine so you don’t have to convince yourself to run outside in the cold or wake up when it’s still dark out. Whatever tweaks will help you keep your body moving…do it!
Make time for you
It’s so easy to get caught up in doing everything for everyone else during the holiday season. We tend to put ourselves as last priority in this time of giving to others.
But in order to be effective for others, you need to take time to recharge and recenter yourself so you can be filled. How can you give to others when you are running on E yourself?
Take time for silent meditation, to take a hot bath, to read a good book, or to get an extra hour of sleep. Listen to what your body needs and oblige.
Offer to make the food yourself
A great way to make sure the food served at your holiday dinner won’t throw your health out of whack is to offer to make it yourself…or at least a few dishes.
If you have control over how a dish is made, you have full reign to make as many healthy substitutions as you like.
Know your audience though. If your family is expecting the traditional recipes and isn’t open to change, make small tweaks that will make the dish a bit healthier but won’t change the taste too much.
If you’ll be cooking for a more adventurous clan, try taking a clean-eating spin on your recipes. Play with nixing all butter and cheese. Trade the bird for stuffed acorn squash. Make a meal you will feel good about eating.
Indulge every now and then
Through all of this, to keep positive self-love means that you shouldn’t feel like you have to slap your hand away every time you see a treat you’d like to eat.
It’s so important not to feel like you’re restricting yourself. Instead, you’re choosing to make wise decisions that will affect you long after the here and now.
If you restrict and don’t let yourself enjoy, you will end up binging on that entire plate of sugar cookies. Find a balance of indulgence that you feel good about.
Maybe you just take a bite instead of having the whole piece of pie if you know it’s not going to serve your body well.
Before you eat anything though, think about how you will feel afterward. Will your stomach be curdling from too much cheese? If so, it’s probably better to skip it.
Nix the guilt
When you do allow yourself to indulge in those rich holiday flavors, own it. Be confident with your choice and never feel guilty.
Feeling guilty can lead to a negative relationship with food and take you down a path of poor self-love, mental health and even physical health.
If you feel like eating that extra serving of stuffing is going to lead to guilt, you have two choices.
- Own it. Like I said earlier, when you choose to indulge, accept yourself and the choices you make knowing that you’re making the best choices for you.
- Skip it. Avoid the issue altogether by doing what you subconsciously know is the right thing. But in doing this, you are ignoring tip #4 about indulging.
The holiday season has a way of knocking us all off our game. This year, commit to making the conscious choice to keep your physical and mental health at the top of your priority list.