With the holidays upon us, I know how hard it is to stay on track with your diet and active lifestyle. Especially if you’re traveling a ton, like me. But are the holidays still the holidays without food?! Big fat NO. One of the main reasons I love the holidays is because it’s such a nice time to cuddle up and eat warm things like cookies and hot cocoa. Food makes me happy, and I’m a big fan of indulging during this time of year. Here are some of the things I keep in mind during these feasting festive times (say that 5 times fast).
CHILL ON THE SUGAR
This is extremely hard for me to do, because I have the biggest sweet tooth known to mankind. I’m eating a chocolate bar as I type this (not kidding). But you gotta do it. I’m not saying to cry next to the dessert table, but just pick one sweet snack you’ll be having that night...or day, but I always try to tell my mind “you’ll be having dessert tonight” and if the time has come and you’re not really feeling any dessert, skip it! There’s always tomorrow. You also want to make sure you have a smart portion. You can have a cookie and a half, but don’t have 5. You can have some cake, but don’t have a giant chunk. Be smart about how much you eat. Think of it like a small sweet treat to yourself. Another thing you want to remember is to serve yourself a smart portion, and then walk awaaaay from the dessert table. That’s it. You’ve said your “hello” to those brownies, but now it’s time to go and enjoy every .single. bite.
START YOUR DAY OFF LIGHT
I always find that if I have a heavy or sugary breakfast, I’m always prone to say “eff” it for the rest of the day. It’s cool to do that once in a while, but since there is so much more food-related events this time of year, try your best to stick to this rule. I like chia pudding or oatmeal for breakfast, because it keeps me fuller longer and I can top it off with some fresh fruit if I really want something sweet. Avoid things like bagels and fake breakfast sandwiches. They’re filled with “empty” carbs, meaning you’ll be hungry and unsatisfied about an hour later.
SPREAD OUT YOUR EATING TIME
Do a mental check in when you’re eating throughout the day. Sometimes we tend to think we’re hungry but we’re really just thirsty. Or the delicious smelling food tricks your brain into thinking your body needs it. Try to eat about every 4 hours. Especially if you’ve got a big meal (Christmas dinner) at the end of your day. Your body often confuses thirst as hunger since the sensations are similar. Try chugging some water and waiting it out for about 10-15 min. If you find yourself feeling dizzy, nauseas, or have a rumbling tummy, then go for a healthy snack. Some fruit or veggies can do the trick. I always carry around an apple in my bag with me for this reason. Grapes, bananas, carrots, cucumbers, pears, blueberries, and strawberries also do the trick.
SWEAT IT OUT
Wake up and get it done. I find it’s easier to schedule a work out class first thing in the AM before my brain has time to think. Before I know it, I’ve actively moved my body for 45 minutes and I feel great. There’s also less likely of a chance you will over indulging since you woke up so early and dedicated your morning to exercise. If you can’t book a class or make it to the gym, no biggie. Go for a run, climb up and down some stairs, or even do some body weight exercises at home (tip: YouTube has endless examples you can do at home). Point is, just get moving. And if you normally workout 3x a week, try adding in an extra day or two during the month of December. Your body (and love handles) will thank you in the New Year.
ALCOHOL OR SUGAR
Let's be real, we can’t deal with aunt Susan if there’s no red wine. For some, alcohol can make the holidays a lot easier. But if you’re going to go heavy on the Havana Club, try not to touch that triple chocolate cake. Alcohol is an empty carb, but it is also a fun carb. If I know I will be spending the night drinking, I try to avoid sweets as much as possible. That way you can have your holiday meal and not feel too guilty about it the next day. I always implement this rule during all of those holiday parties; and if I’m hungover the next day, at least I didn’t gain a pound of chocolate cake ;)
If I find that I ate a ton of sweets or fried food one night, my body is always extra thirsty the next day. I try to drink between a half to a full gallon of water a day, especially when flying. I’d like to think of the water flushing out all of the toxins and sugars from your body before they get a chance to sit there and wreak havoc. I always carry around my water bottle with me so there a better chance of me drinking my allotted amount throughout the day.
Imagine this: its August, you’re going to the Bahamas with your friends and you will be in a bikini all week long. Normally, for a trip like this you’d be hitting the gym and making healthy food choices, wouldn’t you? Just because its December and you’re in sweaters all day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing the same things. As much as I would love to eat all the holiday food in sight, I remind myself that I will have my chance to enjoy it at the end of the week. Suddenly my week becomes that much easier. Remind your brain of this and you’ll see how much more will power you have.
That’s me. I’m always bringing healthy snack everywhere I go, especially when I travel. Traveling during the holidays can be quite a lot on your body, so you want to make sure you replenish it with healthy, nutrient dense foods. As I mentioned earlier, I always have some fruit or veggies on hand. Having lunch at the airport? Go for the lighter option. You can indulge in some real good food when you arrive at your destination. Some snacks I always travel with are: dried veggies, nut mixes, protein bars, nut bars, and almost any type of fruit. Since I love sweets so much, I find that fruits are always what satisfy me the most.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
I will leave you with this: our bodies use the foods we eat to give us energy. Do you think that s'mores sandwich is going to provide any useful energy? Hell no. Will it taste like everything you’ve ever wanted and more? Hell yes. It’s ok; have the s'mores sandwich, but after you’ve had the roasted carrots and zucchini noodles. Make your main meals the nutritious ones, but definitely save room for that decadent dessert you wanted to try.
You don’t want to hate your life around the holidays. After all, it is the “most wonderful time of the year”. Learn to balance eating for energy and eating for fun and your body + mind will love you. Who knows, if you implement a few of these things throughout the month of December, they might just become life habits. And you’ll see how amazing eating can be.