Many of the women I coach ask me how they can have a healthier holiday season while still having fun, so they can confidently walk into social situations, feel in control of their choices and not feel doomed to start over again in the New Year.
And the answer just might surprise you. It's not a recipe of "eat this, not that". It's not using extra workouts to earn or burn fun seasonal foods. And it's certainly not focused on doing all-the-things, each incredibly well.
The key is to learn how to make conscious choices and find a balance between indulgence and self-care. Because the truth is your holiday season may look a bit different than other times of the year and your routine will need to have some flexibility. Scoring food and fitness wins this time of year isn't as hard as you might think. In fact, there are many ways you can keep moving forward this season... and here are fifteen tips to help you do it!
Plan Ahead: Before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season starts, create a rough plan for your weekly meals and activities. This can help you make better choices and avoid falling into the All or Nothing food and fitness trap.
Stay Active: Even when you're on vacation, you can find creative ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. This could be a walk outside, a hike with family and friends, a bike ride to explore the area, or starting your day with a morning stretch routine.
Mindful Eating: Enjoy your favorite holiday treats in moderation. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues, and be present, savoring every bite. This will help you prevent overeating and allow you to fully enjoy all of the sights, smells and flavors of your favorite fun foods.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, leading to increased snacking. Prioritizing your daily water intakes will not only help you support healthy body function so you can feel your best, but reduce mindless snacking and overeating too.
Load Up On Fruits and Vegetables: Including fruits and vegetables in your daily snacks and meals is a simple and effective way to support healthy body function, maintain energy levels and increase feelings of fullness and satisfaction too. And foods from the rainbow are loaded with all sorts of essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and fiber too!
Limit Alcohol Intake: If you choose to consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Alcohol can be high in calories and often impair your judgment when it comes to food choices. Look for "skinny" versions of your favorite beverages and be mindful of balancing water intakes with fun sips to help you stay healthily hydrated.
Choose Lean Proteins: Opt for lean sources of protein, such as turkey, chicken, fish, or plant-based options like legumes and tofu. Protein will help you feel full and satisfied while supporting healthy metabolism, hormones and other important body functions.
Practice Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes, especially when surrounded by holiday treats. Use smaller plates and serving utensils to help control portions. Sit down and enjoy your food rather than grazing the counter or buffet table. And wait 20 minutes before going back for more, giving your mind - body connection time to register feelings of fullness.
Get Adequate Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule and prioritizing getting enough rest will help regulate your appetite and support your energy levels.
Go Stress-Free: The holidays can be stressful, so finding ways to manage any increased stress is essential. Mindful practices such as deep breathing, meditation, physical activity or engaging in hobbies you enjoy are all great ways to reduce the impacts of stress.
Healthy Snacking: Keep healthier snacks on hand to avoid mindless munching on less healthy options. Unsalted nuts, seeds, fruit, Greek yogurt, and vegetables paired with hummus or a low fat dip are excellent for sustaining energy between meals and supplying your body with important nutrients too.
Cook at Home: When possible, prepare some of your weekly meals at home. This will give you more control over the ingredients and preparation methods used, and will help you minimize unhealthy fats, added sugars and salt.
Socialize and Connect: The holidays are a great time to engage in meaningful conversations and spend quality time with those you love. Putting your attention on the people and experiences will take your focus off the food and allow for a more connected and positive holiday experience.
Be Kind to Yourself: Remember that the holiday season is a time to enjoy and celebrate. Don't beat yourself up for enjoying fun, the occasional over indulgence or a skipped workout. An important part of a healthy, happy life is discovering balance.
Set Realistic Expectations: Aim for progress, not perfection. If you slip up on your healthy habits, don't let one moment (or day) derail your entire holiday season. You can start your day over anytime and make your next best in the moment choice. Choose to get back on track and continue making empowering and positive choices for you.
Key takeaway: remember a healthier holiday is about finding a balance between enjoying the festivities and taking care of your well-being. Listen to your body, be mindful of your choices, and prioritize self-care.
Are you tired of starting over every Monday, hopping from diet to diet, wondering if you'll ever get it "right" so that you can lose the weight and become the best version of you? I’ve got you friend! Come join me inside my FREE women’s-only Facebook community: Eat Better with Coach Mindy. It’s where women learn how to stop yo-yo dieting and find balance with food and fitness so they can eat better, think better and feel their best!