It’s that time of year, isn’t it? You can just feel it in the air (literally). The temperatures are dropping, the holiday decorations are out, and the Christmas songs are on the radio. What is not to love about the holiday season, right? Let’s not kid ourselves though. The sun is now setting around 4:30 pm, Christmas cookies have never looked better, and comfort food is calling your name. This is a time of year that is filled with so much joy, but also a lot of anxiety because as much as we all want to stay warm, we don’t need to add an extra layer for the winter. In a previous blog post I wrote about not living in the moment and enjoying situations because I was too afraid of the unhealthy choices I would make. The holidays only come once a year. This is a time for celebration, love and joy. Don’t let the fear of food get in the way of living in these moments! I have created a little list of tips that help me during this time of year, and I hope they help you as well. I hope in my heart that you truly enjoy the holiday season, are surrounded by people you love, and remember what the true meaning of the holidays is all about.
My Holiday Tips and Tricks
- Never go to a holiday party hungry
- As much as you want to “save calories” (plug: don’t count calories. It doesn’t work! What are they anyway??? 😉 you may end up being so starving that the cream cheese puff on the appetizer table MUST go into your stomach this minute! When we are hungry we often times make irrational, in-the-moment decisions that we end up regretting later. Before a get together, I make sure I have something in my stomach. Whether it be a protein smoothie, bowl of veggie soup, crackers and hummus, it is always good to have something to hold you over.
- Workout in the Morning
- Even if you aren’t a morning person, I would suggest switching up your workout routine to the morning. Because the sun sets so early, all possible motivation for getting your sweat on is pretty much gone (at least it is for me). I have found in the winter I have more energy and I start my day off with a more positive attitude if I get a good sweat in in the morning. I often do a 20 – 30 minute HIIT routine in the morning to avoid waking up extra early, and then go for a walk (inside on the treadmill, sigh) after dinner. Breaking up my workouts like that allows me to still feel active during the day when all you want to do is snuggle up by the fireplace.
- Avoid Sugar During the Week
- Life is all about balance, am I right? Notice how I didn’t say “eliminate sugar during the week” ? Save the sugar intake for your weekend glass of wine or sugar cookie at the cookie exchange. If you focus on avoiding sugar during the week your body will have time to cleanse itself and not intake too much sugar each week. I personally know some people who allow themselves one “cheat day” a week. This isn’t something I do, but if it works for you do it! I try to just enjoy everything in moderation, but whatever your body responds best to is what you should practice.
- There are so many amazing ways to volunteer throughout the year, specifically during the holiday season. Not everyone is surrounded by friends and family, a warm home, and a delicious meal on the table. Take the time to give back to others in need, and reflect and give thanks for what you have. Sometimes it is helpful to put life into perspective. It makes eating that extra cookie not seem so bad compared to what others deal with on a daily basis.
- Love Yourself
- I am stating this with zero scientific evidence. This is honestly just a personal opinion so take it or leave it. I truly believe that our body responds to the energy we put out. If I feel disappointed in myself for not working out enough, not eating well, or my jeans feel too tight, I swear my body responds. Don’t be too hard on yourself any day of the year. If you love your body, it will love you right back. Stress gives off cortisol which completely messes up our blood sugar levels and hormones. Love yourself. Thank your body for everything it does for you every single day. Celebrate that you don’t look like everyone else. You are unique. You are beautiful. You are you.
Happy Holidays. Love your Gut.