Healthy Holiday Habits
10 Ways to Celebrate without Compromising your Health Goals:
- Be ACTIVE with family and friends. Look for activities that get you moving, and still promote interaction. Going for a walk together, team hide and seek or playing charades for example.
- Find your GRATITUDE. The more emotionally fulfilled you are, the less likely you are to look to food to meet those needs or comfort you. Find things to be thankful for, and put your focus on all that is going well.
- Keep your STRESS levels in check. Do some Yoga or Meditate. Even 5 minutes of focusing on your breath and stilling the mind can be rejuvenating, and lower your stress level. If you need to remove yourself from a stressful situation, do it! Excuse yourself and get out for some fresh air and a short walk.
- PLAN AHEAD: Understand your dietary needs and figure out where they’re going to come from. Take a hard look at all of the food options and decide in advance which you will have, and which you’re going to skip. If you’re hosting, make sure there are plenty of healthy and fresh options. If you’re going somewhere else, inquire in advance what’s on the menu.
- Bring a healthy dish to SHARE: don’t rely on others to meet your needs and help you stay on track. When someone asks about your dish, use it as an opportunity to discuss your health goals and bring others into the conversation.
- ENJOY your food. If you’re going to eat something, then enjoy it! Apply this principle in the reverse as well: if you’re not enjoying it, don’t eat it! Just because something is on the table/buffet, doesn’t mean you have to eat it, or even try it. It’s OK not to take some of everything. SLOW DOWN and enjoy what you’re eating.
- PORTION CONTROL: Load up on fresh and/or cooked veggies that aren’t weighed down in sauces and dressings. If you have favorite holiday foods that you want to enjoy, keep portions under control and take just a small taste…..SLOW DOWN and savor what you are eating.
- RETHINK SECONDS: Eat slowly, so you don’t finish first and have to just sit watching others eat. If you allow at least 20 minutes (and a full glass of water) to pass after you’ve finished what’s on your plate, you will give your body a chance to start the digestive process and then it will be easier to determine if you’re actually hungry, or just feel like eating. Confront your inner dialog on that one and stay true to your bigger goals. Get up from the table, and move along to conversation in another room so you won’t be tempted by all of the food and confronted with others who are still eating.
- Be mindful of LIQUID CALORIES, they add up! Try drinking a large glass of water before drinking anything else and another large glass of water in between other beverages. The extra water will help move that food through your system and also fill you up, and the water is naturally calorie free.
- Put a healthy boundary around the Thanksgiving meal. Remember, what you do once in awhile will not affect your health as much as what you do most of the time. So, it’s not so much about the one Thanksgiving meal that you enjoy, but what you do afterwards that will determine how much further from your goals you are. If you over indulged during the Thanksgiving meal or in the dessert table after the meal, it’s OK. It was one meal/day. Move on. Indulging in left overs multiple times a day for multiple days, however, will take you way off your target goals.
Your expectations will largely determine your perception and reality of the holiday. Be reasonable, generous and kind to yourself and others.
Wishing you access to all of the abundance and joy of the holiday!