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3 Strategies for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

The holidays.

We look forward to them with excitement and also some fear and trepidation.

While they are a wonderful time to gather around family and friends, the holidays can be full of traps and ambushes for those on a journey to take back their health. If you’re still healing from old wounds or need mindset work around past relationships, holiday gatherings can trigger a stress reaction and old feelings. One way we buffer these feelings is to over-consume. And, during the holidays, the opportunities to over-eat and over-drink abound.

Here’s the good news:

You can waltz through the holidays, satisfying all your cravings but keeping yourself on the path to reach your goals!

Here are some strategies to implement before you attend your next holiday function.

1. List your triggers – Your Uncle Bob’s year-end slide show or cousin Susie’s endless complaining may get your feathers ruffled. The truth of the situation is that the pics and gripes are circumstances you can’t change. However, you do have control over your thoughts about the situation. Instead, when “Here we go again” passes through your brain, change the thought to, “I can decide how to spend my time.” When you think this thought, rather than diving into another glass of wine, you’ll feel more in control. You’ll discover you have choices and can decide to politely excuse yourself to go help with the dishes or take a walk around the block. When you’ve identified the things that irk you ahead of time, you’ll recognize the thoughts around them and change them to thoughts that serve instead of sabotage you.

2. Eat mindfully – While there are many yummy things on the holiday groaning board, pick your absolute favorite. This treat is the one you wait all year for – and usually overindulge in. Think about what you love about it. Is it the flaky pie crust, silky pumpkin center, and creamy whipped-cream topping of grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe? Or, maybe it’s the crispy bits of bread on top, spicy sausage, and crunchy celery of Aunt Marge’s scratch dressing? Once you’ve identified in your mind all the things that make that dish special, sit down properly and savor every bite. Check off all the things you love as you eat it – did you get that crunch, notice the spices, and enjoy the texture? This level of awareness is mindful eating. Notice, there’s no mention of serving size or amount. That’s because when you’re mindful and take the time to pay attention to what you eat, your body and brain become satiated. You’ll stop when you’ve had enough, and you’ll feel fabulous, not just full.

3. Keep moving – A holiday event doesn’t mean you have to take a holiday from healthy movement! It’s understandable if you can’t make you regular sweat sesh, but there’s so much benefit from taking a walk, playing catch in the yard, kicking the ball in a family soccer game, or starting and ending the day with 20 minutes of yoga. Staying active helps with stress, digestion, and managing hunger. If you know you’re needed as wide receiver in the afternoon, you’ll be less likely to over-indulge in the morning mimosas and croissants. So before your holiday get-together, think about how you can sprinkle some healthy movement into your day. Starting with a plan helps alleviate any anxiety you might have about spending all day on the couch.

If you need a plan to get healthy and hiking-ready during the holidays and beyond, I can help! Message me and set up a time for a free consult call!

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