The holidays can be a crazy busy time for most people…..including me!
During this time of year especially, I get asked how I stay on point with my wellness and nutrition goals. According to the National Institute of Health, holiday eating can result in gaining 1-2 pounds every year, which can really add up. Even though the holiday season can get hectic, there's really no excuse to fall off your healthy eating - you just need some strategies to help you along the way. Believe me, you can still celebrate and indulge, you just need to plan for it.
Here are my top 10 tips for staying healthy over the holidays, so you not only survive, but have a great time and feel good.
1. Watch out for the sugar!!!
Sugar is addictive and when consumed spikes our blood sugar, increases insulin, causes inflammation and sets us up for more cravings. Swap in a piece of fruit, like an apple, if you're really craving something sweet. It will do the trick and you won’t feel guilty afterwards.
2. Eat before the party.
If you have a cocktail or dinner party to attend, have a protein shake or small meal before you go. This will keep you from gorging on too many of those little canapes that can really pack a caloric punch. Also, you’ll have food in your tummy to absorb the cocktails.
3. Get your fibre.
Start with the veggie platter….high fibre foods keep us full longer so you can make better dinner choices.
4. Drink water.
So many people I see are chronically dehydrated. Start your day with a glass of lemon water to help you detoxify from the day before. Also, drinking more water throughout the day will reduce your food cravings and keep you alert to keep up with the holiday rush. Being thirsty is actually the first sign of dehydration. You can even have your phone notify you at regular intervals to grab a glass! Your goal should be 2-3 litres per day.
5. Get your ZZZZZ’s.
Make sure to get enough sleep. When we're sleep deprived, cortisol (our stress hormone) increases and we tend to crave carbohydrate-rich foods that may not be the healthiest. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and inflammation.
6. Don’t skip meals.
Keep your meal timing as regular as possible. If you skip lunch so you can “bring your appetite” to the dinner party, you’ll likely overeat and consume more calories than if you’d had lunch.
7. Bring a dish!
Invited to a dinner party? Help the host and bring your own dish to add. This ensures you have something healthy to eat no matter what is being served.
8. Watch the alcohol consumption.
Although it’s nice to enjoy cocktails with friends and family at this festive time, we do need to be mindful of the excess empty calories. Try having a glass of water between alcoholic drinks to stay clear-headed and keep you from binging on treats.
9. Book an extra session with your trainer.
Don’t give up your workouts. Make sure to stay on schedule and be accountable by seeing your trainer each week. This usually also translates into better food choices since he or she will likely be asking you about your diet.
10. Be mindful.
At this busy, stressful time, we are often thinking about how to get everything done and not being mindful of what we are eating. Pay attention to how you feel and ensure you are eating because you are actually hungry. Sometimes, it takes just a few minutes for a craving to go away.
A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule - stay healthy 80% of the time and then you can "cheat" 20% of the time. Most of all, have fun, appreciate your friends and family, and have a safe and wonderful holiday season.
If you want to know more, I’d be happy to offer you a 15 minute discovery call to chat about your goals and if I can help you! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Article by Dena Ryde CNP, Personal Trainer.
Apple photo by Michał Grosicki.
Lemon water photo by Joanna Kosinska.
Salad photo by Carly Jayne.
Lead photo by Brooke Lark.