Healthy Holiday Hacks
If you're like me, the holidays bring about a little bit of anxiety in regards to being healthy and staying on track with your fitness goals. They're supposed to be about fun, rest, relaxation and a little indulgence, right? So how are we supposed to do that without getting anxious about all the extra calories we're consuming and workouts we're missing?
Here are a few of my tips and tricks, both mental and physical, to approaching the holidays in a healthy and stress-free way:
1) Accept that you will stray just a little.
Once you accept that you will likely not adhere 100% to whatever your plan is, you will feel a sense of relief during all those moments where you sort of "fall off the wagon" a little. This is not a free pass to give up and hop off completely, but being honest with yourself and realizing that it's not realistic to stay 100% within the lines this season is important to your mental health. Don't waste time beating yourself up for every individual occasion where you "slip." Instead, give yourself some wiggle room to begin with, and take away some of the future guilt.
2) Drink plenty of water.
For satiation purposes and to get the toxins movin'! Water will not only help you feel full and hydrated, but it will help move the not-so-healthy consumptions out faster and more efficiently. It's also going to give you more energy and overall "lightness"-- two things which are definitely lacking during this time of year.
3) Go for a walk!
You're probably not hitting the gym as often as you want to be, and I'm all about family time over iron time. BUT, there are still ways to get moving and stay mobile. Going for a walk with your fam after a big meal or taking a bike ride instead of a nap are simple things you can do to help digest a big meal or just feel a little better about all the extra goodies.
4) Stay loose.
Again, even if you're not lifting or running as much as you normally are, use this as a time to hyper-focus on the small things, like mobility and flexibility. If you're not spending an hour in the gym or 30 minutes running, spend 15 minutes foam rolling, stretching, or doing body weight movements just to keep your joints from getting stiff and achy.
5) Party tip: plates & protein.
Parties are the best (and the worst) amirite? There's sweets and dips and crackers and cheese everywhere, how are you supposed to say no?! First of all-- you don't have to! You are allowed to indulge and treat your body with some not-so-nutrient-dense goodies here and there. One party tip I have is to get a small plate and put your snacks on there rather than simple stand around the snack table. This helps you a) eat a little less and b) stay away from the temptations.
Before parties, it's also a good idea to eat something high in protein because #MuscleSynthesis but also to help you feel full and thus avoid snacking too much. Of course, I'm not suggesting that having a bowl of tuna or protein bar is going to fend off a fudge brownie or delicious cheeseball, but if you listen to your body even just a little while you're out and about, you may realize you're not even hungry, which can help you say "no" to unnecessary indulgences you might otherwise be tempted to eat on an empty stomach.
6) Choose wisely.
Whether it's a holiday party or just being in a kitchen that isn't yours for an extended period of time, eating "healthy" is just a matter of re-budgetig calories and nutrients. Typically, our indulgences tend to be high fat and high carbohydrate treats. If you know you're going to be having a few extra cookies or more toast than eggs for breakfast, just budget accordingly.
This might mean skipping the added fat of the avocado you might normally have on a sandwich at lunch or saving the carbohydrates from your morning oats for pasta out at dinner. You don't have to pass up treats and dinners out entirely. You can simply re-alot your nutrients and calories an plan accordingly.
Overall, I hope that you truly enjoy the holidays and remember that there is always time to workout and meal prep later. Don't skip out on memories (either mentally or physically) just to be "healthy." Likewise, eat mindfully, listen to your body, stretch it out, go for a walk, stay hydrated, and laugh extra hard with your friends and family!