As fans of holiday celebrations and baked goods ourselves, we at Life’s Abundance know it’s difficult to keep healthy around the holiday season. The abundance of treats and busy schedules are the two main reasons we let go of our wellness efforts during the holidays, so here are some tips to enjoy the season, stay stress-free, fit in fitness, and not be caught lying on your bed to zip up your jeans come January.
Schedule Your Workouts
Plan your sweat sessions. Actually put them in your calendar and treat them like an important meeting you can’t miss - that way you’re more likely to stick with them. When squeezing in a condensed workout, choose exercises that move as many parts of the body as possible.
Don’t overlook small opportunities to get your heart rate up. Keep small weights next to your pantry and grab them while water is boiling or broccoli is steaming. Instead of staring at the stove, you can jam out a few squats or bicep curls. That way if you don’t have time to do a full workout, you can still get in about 15 minutes of strength training while cooking. When spending time with family and friends during the holidays, go for a walk between dinner and dessert.
Engage VS Indulge
Yes, there is a huge focus on food during the holidays but this year, how about focusing on the people you’re surrounded by? Forget counting calories as you repeatedly visit the dessert bar, instead sit down and catch up with that aunt you haven’t seen all year, or say hi to the intern who looks lost at the company party.
According to The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, “Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, and spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.” So, instead of filling your belly with comfort foods, comfort your soul with friends and family members.
“Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”
This time of year, we can get trapped into two different modes: “Oh it’s the holidays, I deserve to eat it” or “I’ll start eating healthy again on January 1st.” The problem with both of these mindsets is they trigger the “feast or famine response.” If you think you’re never going to eat another cookie once January comes, then you’ll stuff as many cookies in your mouth between Thanksgiving and New Years as possible! So instead of limiting our indulgent eating to two or three-holiday celebrations, many of us overeat for six weeks straight and tell ourselves we’ll figure it out in January. Instead focus on eating mindfully DURING this time so you don’t wind up with 10 pounds to lose. (2 or 3, no worries!)
That being said, don’t go to a holiday gathering hungry. Thinking you can starve all day and “save” the calories for later is a recipe for disaster. Your metabolism will slow down and you’ll arrive at the party ravenous. A light breakfast and a big bowl of soup for lunch will keep you satisfied, or a health bar made with our Vanilla Plant Protein will do the trick. Then pick a few of your favorite treats and eat them in moderation. That doesn’t mean to pick a 500 calorie peppermint latte or holiday cookies and have one every day, but to mentally visualize what it is you want to splurge on and imagine being satisfied with just a few bites, or one drink.
In other words, don’t let a few holiday treats turn into feeling stuffed and guilty until the ball drops in Times Square. When there is no judgment around what you’re eating, you’ll eat less, won’t feel the need to overindulge, and like the song’s title suggests - you’ll catch yourself before it’s too late.
Listen To Your Gut, Literally
Along with all the holiday indulging, usually comes a little pushback from your digestive system. Make sure you keep your gut healthy and in proper working order with some help from a probiotic supplement. There are enough variations in strains to make your head spin, but in this case, make sure you’re taking one that is specifically formulated for gut health, like the one we’ve developed, with an award-winning probiotics manufacturer in the USA. It specifically includes multiple strains focused on keeping your digestion on point.
Batch Cook Quick Healthy Meals
Don’t wait until you’re ravenous after a long day at the office, followed by last minute shopping, to figure out what you’re going to have for dinner. Plan ahead and batch a few meals with simple and healthy ingredients- then freeze them, so they’re ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice.
Here are a few tips when figuring out what to cook:
- Plan ahead and choose a few meals the whole family will eat
- Get organized by making a shopping list and printing out or bookmarking recipes
- Choose a few recipes that use the oven, and others on the stove or in a slow cooker so you can cook them at once without having to wait until one pan is clean to start another recipe.
- Choose recipes that have five or less healthy ingredients
- Cut staples such as onions, carrots, celery, and freeze ahead of time so they are ready to add to recipes anytime
- Partner with 3 friends and each make 4 servings of two meals, and then you each wind up with 8 different meals
- Have glass containers on hand to store food- they aren’t the most convenient, but the healthiest. You can also store soups and grain meals in canning jar
Don’t Sweat The Holiday Stuff
It’s inevitable that you’ll have more social engagements and things to check off of your to-do list this month, so make sure you’re taking the time to chill amidst the holiday whirlwind.
Stress takes its toll right away and can diminish the healthy return of that kale salad and spin class if we’re otherwise running on empty. Give yourself extra time to finish your holiday shopping, or bake those cookies for the class party; then make sure to drop in on family gatherings with a positive attitude no matter what type of angst certain people have brought on in the past. When we leave everything for the last minute or enter a situation wearing emotional armor, the residual stress can raise our cortisol levels and cause more weight gain than a vat full of chocolate truffles.
B R E A T H E. This is one present that won’t be wrapped up by someone else and put into the yankee swap, you have to gift this one to yourself. Reverse all that stress by taking time to stop and…do nothing. The process of getting still and breathing - anytime, anywhere, is the best gift you can give yourself. All it takes is a few minutes away from your computer, your kids, or your co-workers. Find a place to sit comfortably and just breathe.
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