The holiday season is a special time to gather with friends and family, celebrate and rejoice, and is often also associated with parties, parties….and more parties. Unfortunately, this schedule of events sometimes leads to falling off the fitness wagon, drinking like a fish, and eating with wild abandon.
We’ve all been there and it’s not pretty, but don’t worry – you’ve got this.
Here are SEVEN TIPS to keep you on track throughout your holiday social schedule!
1. Set Your Intentions
Remember: You want to feel great! You don’t want to feel tired or bloated, so don’t overindulge. Before heading out, remind yourself WHY you take such great care of your body: “I like being happy and having the best health EVER.” Whatever it is, write it down on paper and post it somewhere where you can see it often. Then when you are heading out for the festivities, set a reminder with this intention on your phone to go off after you arrive at the party. Set it to go off again a few hours later…
2. Arrive Half Full
Right before heading out to a holiday gathering, make yourself a healthy and filling snack, like a superfood smoothie with some vegan super food protein powder and/or a handful of raw cashews to curb carb cravings. Drink plenty of water as well. Many times we think we are hungry when we are really just thirsty – and when you are ravenously hungry, you are WAY more likely to make food choices that are other than the best ever. This way, you arrive well-hydrated and satiated enough to keep your head on straight when perusing the buffet. Plus, with that dose of superfood smoothie, you’ve given yourself a nice antioxidant boost to survive any guests with wintery sniffles. BONUS: Offer to bring something with you, like an organic fruit tray, or an organic veggie tray with hummus. Your host will probably be thrilled and you will be assured a healthy option to nibble on.
3. Limit or Omit Alcohol
Not only are most festive drinks filled with a lot of sugary mixers, drinking also impairs your judgement. You are less likely to stick to your meal plan if your inhibitions have been reduced. If you feel weird walking around without a cocktail, order a sparkling water on the rocks with a lemon and sip on it so it looks like you’re partaking. Or if you do choose to imbibe, stick with wine or simple cocktails with only one unsweetened mixer and limit yourself to a few drinks. Drink a large glass of water before and after each one.
4. Be Mindful of Your Mouthful
Every time you take a bite, take a few moments to feel gratitude for your food. Think about how it will nourish you, and note how each bite looks and smells. Did you know that on average, people only chew their food 2-3 times before devouring their food? Commit to at least 10 chews before swallowing to really get those salivary glands moving and your digestion juices flowing. Breathe through your nose while you eat and really savor the flavor of what you are eating. Every few bites, put your fork down for a few minutes to tune in to whether or not you are still hungry.
5. Exercise First Thing in the Morning
Regardless of what works best for you the rest of the year, schedule your workouts for first thing in the morning throughout the holiday season. You are sure to get some activity in no matter what and then are free to enjoy your plans. I’m not saying this relieves you from having to make smart decisions for the rest of the day, but if you SHOULD end up at happy hour to celebrate the holidays after work rather than the gym, at least you know you got some fat-burning in (plus knowing you need to be up early the next morning will help you get home at a reasonable hour.)
6. Release Toxic Emotions
If you do happen to indulge, don’t beat yourself up. I mean, be realistic – ‘Tis The Season! The party stuff is going to be in your face 24/7 so you are bound to cave occasionally. When you recognize this happening, try be cognizant of portion control. Grab the smallest slice of cake. Split a piece of dessert with a friend or loved one… You may not be able to avoid second helpings of grandma’s famous pie and sometimes refusing is just not appropriate… Again, it happens – don’t sweat it. Wallowing in guilt will be way more damaging than a few pieces of fudge. Without judgement, gently assess what your next best decision should be to get you back on track – and then do that.
7. Get Your Beauty Sleep
Trying to muster through your day on less than 7 hours sleep can result in higher cortisol levels (not great for your waistline) and hyper-cravings for sweet and salty carbs. When you’re exhausted, you are far more likely to order take-out than to take-yourself-out for that evening power walk…Stick to your regular sleep schedule, and make sure you leave your revelry early enough to allow some downtime for your bedtime routine so you slip into slumbers more easily, ensuring better quality zzz’s. You’ll wake up refreshed and ready to tackle another day of your best laid plans….