How to stay on track this Holiday Season

Only two weeks until the New Year (I cannot believe it either!) but that does not mean we have to put our health to the wayside. Here are nine don’ts to help from digging yourself a hole for 2018.

1. Wait Until the New Year to Live Healthy Two weeks can do more damage then you might think. A consistent balance is the name of the game. A day, a few meals spread throughout the two weeks will do little if no damage, however if we “give up” on living healthy the next two weeks, I promise the holiday season will not be as enjoyable nor will the start of 2018. Continue with your healthy practices, this and next week through the celebration, your energy levels, health, and self January 1st will be thanking you. 2. Save Calories for that Evenings Holiday Party, Dinner, Drinks etc. I see this a lot when working with clients. They have a holiday party or event that evening, so decide to eat very little throughout the day, hoping to save up calories for the party. This tactic is actually setting yourself up for FAILURE. I cannot think of a time that “saving calories” would be a good idea…. Our bodies do not work in this way so our mindset should not either. Fasting all day will only increase the odds of your stuffing your face with the unhealthy options (most likely) and eating too much for your body to comfortable handle. Rather, if you know you have a holiday party that night, make sure to eat how you normally do or even better. Start your day with a healthy breakfast (2 eggs and ¼ cup oatmeal with ½ banana and cinnamon anyone?), make sure you pack some power snacks for the day (raw veggies with hummus, and some nuts), grab a salad topped with grilled chicken, quinoa, and cottage cheese with an apple. You are setting yourself and your body up for success going into that party.

3. Push Exercise to the New Years It is all to easy to find excuses to not workout and stay active. And, during the holidays, there are even more excuses… I need to shop for presents, wrap presents, its cold outside, I’ll start in 2018 (look at #1), I’m too busy etc etc etc. Missing a workout on a few occasions will not negatively effect you, however it is important to find time to move our bodies. Again, consistency is the name of the game. This does not even have to mean going to the gym. Start a dance party with the kids, go for a 30 minute walk/jog, or do a 10 minute workout in your bedroom (5 burpees, 5 air squats, 5 pushups, 5 lunges each leg, 10 sits up repeatedly). Get moving, it will help keep you healthy, energized and happy (get those endorphins ladies and gents). 4. Skimp on the Vegetables If you know me, you know I am the BIGGEST fan of vegetables. And for good reason, they are nutrient dense while at the same time low in calorie. Vegetables help keep your immune system strong, inflammation low, and energy levels high. It is even more important to load up on vegetables (and fruit) during this time of year when everyone is getting colds, coughs etc. At a party check out the veggie tray or bring one yourself. Frozen vegetables or steam veggie bags are a quick and nutritious option when in a pinch at home.

5. Skip Meals This somewhat goes along with #2 but thought it was important enough to have its own number 🙂 It is easy to skip meals during this busy time of the year. Whether it be breakfast, lunch or even snacks. Not fueling yourself throughout the day will only leave you extremely hungry, tired and probably grumpy… moreover leading to grabbing anything and everything you can get your hands on (processed fatty foods). Do yourself a favor, eat three square meals, do not go more then four hours without eating something, and always start your day with breakfast (even if its just a piece of peanut butter toast). 6. Eating Mindlessly It is easier then we might think to eat mindlessly, especially during the holidays. This time a year sweet, processed, and fatty foods seem to be all around us. You open your pantry/fridge, visit your friend’s house or walk by a colleagues desk in the office and those homemade cookies will not stop staring at you. Many times we see these foods, and since it’s the holidays, we think its necessary to eat them EVEN when we are full or not hungry. Honor your hunger and know your hunger cues and trigger. Have the discipline to shut the pantry, take a cookie for later or come back for a cookie in a few hours. Just as it is never a good idea to have a bag of chips, bowl of nuts, or plate of cookies in front of you while watching TV on the couch, don’t continue to reach for holiday goodies time and time again just because.

7. Forget to Hydrate Colder weather seems to cause us to drink less water. But with more than 60% of our body being water, it is essential to continue to keep that water bottle with us throughout the winter and holiday parties are not an exception. Many times we forget to drink water when out to dinner or at a party. Your body will make you pay for this the next day. Start the party or dinner with water and follow every beverage with another glass of water. Start your day with a glass of water (have it ready on your night stand) and hydrate throughout the day by bringing your water bottle everywhere your cell phone goes.

8. Not Have a Plan Not having a plan is setting yourself up for failure. Have a plan for the party, the day, the week etc. The more we plan the better off we will be just like an interview, big meeting or presentation. Plan for tomorrow by going through your day and include what and when you are going to eat. Planning for the week may include building your grocery-shopping list, planning out dinners at home or out etc. Last but not least, how do we plan for a party? Do you know there’s going to be lots of sweet treats at the party? Have a plan to pick 2-3 of your favorite cookies or ½ a slice of pie and a cookie. Know there’s going to be a lot of alcoholic beverages? (Look at #7) start the party with water, and drink water between each beverage. Planning your day with good fuel is also planing for the party as well (#2).

9. Have Food Guilt Ate Christmas cookies last night, had a eggnog latte this morning or got food sweats from a delicious dinner night out with friends? DO NOT, I repeat, do not have guilt for that cookie, eggnog latte, prime rib etc. Rather enjoy the homemade cookies you rarely make, take pleasure in your company at dinner and savor each sip of the eggnog latte. A component of food is enjoyment so enjoy and do not think you do not have the right to enjoy. Just do not over enjoy all the time 😉 Remember, it's not about being better than someone else, it's about being better than you were the day before.

Make today great...