It is entirely possible to enjoy the holiday season without excessively indulging or feeling like a crazed person running from task to task. This week I’ve been working with my clients on the topics of being intentional with your time, + indulging with intention during this season. I thought I’d share here too in case you need a pep-talk.
Living with intention this season means you pause & create a plan for the events (two -three) that bring you and your family JOY. Then you strategically schedule idyllic moments in your calendar. Things like–baking cookies with the kids on Sunday AM or Fun Family Holiday movie night, or go ice skating Friday after work.
The goal is to enJOY each moment without feeling hurried or rushed.
If you are not in control of your pacing, there is a high chance you will find yourself cramming everything in. I don’t know about you, but cramming doesn’t really evoke feelings of festivity.
Indulging with Intention means you take the time to create awareness around what’s worth the splurge to YOU!
Then you plan to enjoy the treats or meals of the season, that bring you the most happiness. If your are like me, it’s a batch of Hello Dollies. They evoke a feeling of nostalgia from my childhood, and they are special, because we only bake them once per year.
Do I bake Hello Dollies and then eat the entire batch? NO! That notion doesn’t lend itself to enjoyment with intention. Instead–I make a batch, savor the experience, enjoy a couple fresh from the oven and then keep the remaining squares out of sight in the freezer, to defrost as needed.
I recommend you take the time to grow awareness around which food and beverages bring you happy this season + are are worth the splurge. Then simply pass on the items that are just mediocre. Your satisfaction level will already be high from really treating yourself to the items that matter, so passing won’t feel like a defeat.
Here’s my advice for enjoying the holiday season while still making gains toward your health & wellness goals!
Balance Your Plate
Use this as a flexible guide to create your meals this season. No matter where you are. The key is to keep your blood sugar balanced without thinking too much. Need some ideas? Check out my posts on creating a Grain Free Holiday Dinner & The Best Christmas Brunch
Fill half of your plate with non-starchy “green” vegetables like a salad or roasted brussels sprouts. Add 5 oz. of quality protein from turkey, chicken, lamb or grass fed beef. Incorporate 2 TB of healthy fats which will likely already be cooked into the dishes (ex: olive oil, avocado, etc.). Then layer in starchy carbohydrates like mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, delicata squash or bread as a quarter of your plate. Then opt for one serving of your favorite dessert. Sit down and enjoy every bite.
This is not about eating good foods or cheat meals. Food is not bad or good. The goal is to simply make optimal food choices whenever possible and to plan to indulge in those less optimal foods sporadically–and with intention.
Offer to bring a Salad or Veggie Side Dish
Headed to a holiday gathering? Challenge yourself to bring a veggie dish or salad. This way you can guarantee your meal will be balanced, and you might even entice your family or friends to try your veggie-fiber-packed diet. Some great options include This Jicama, Orange Salad or This Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe or THIS festive Brussels Sprouts Salad.
Drink One Glass of Water for every Cocktail
I always have a Topo Chico with a lime along side my cocktails. It helps me stay hydrated, and I slowly “weaken” my margarita or my fav Paloma as I’m drinking.
Drinking too much alcohol will not only spike blood sugar levels, but it can also lead to eating foods you wouldn’t otherwise eat. In addition to that, alcohol interferes with quality sleep. Research shows that inadequate sleep alters your hormone levels, driving you to eat more high glycemic foods the next day. It’s a spiral y’all!
Avoid All or Nothing “Perfectionist” Thinking
It’s the act of getting off track with your diet (that actually might be too limiting!) for one meal and allowing it to sabotage you in the future.
Example: “I ate a piece of pie last night with the kids, what the hell, I might as well eat a piece of cake with lunch today.” It’s this idea of that you’ve already “messed up” so just keep going…that interferes with a sustainable approach to eating. Remember you can STOP a behavior at any time and pick your healthy eating habits right back up.
Rather than letting yourself feel like a failure for abandoning your plan, give yourself grace and flexibility. If you eat something “off plan” it does not make you a bad person. It means you made a less optimal choice. Simply make a better choice at your next meal.
Quickly Rebound after Over Indulging
Hey–It happens! We all overeat and indulge in more sugar, carbs, fat and alcohol than we are used to. There are three simple tricks I use to help lower glucose levels and keep insulin (and future food cravings) in check
- Add 1-2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar & lemon juice to 8 fluid ounces of water after your meal
- Go for a walk!
- Start the next day with a green smoothie. The veggies, fiber and protein balance my blood sugar and illicit future veggie cravings the rest of the day.
Commit to Your Workout Schedule
I know your schedule might be busier than usual this time of year, but this is not the time to skip your workouts. Movement will keep you energized, motivated to nourish your body with balanced nutrition, and it does wonders for your mood and state of mind! Look at your schedule this week and “pencil in” four workouts. Commit to them as you would any work meeting or family obligation. You are worth it and you need it!!!
I believe it’s totally possible to enjoy the treats of the holiday season while still making gains toward your health & wellness goals!! It just takes mindfulness, planning and intentional thinking. Let me know if I can help coach you through the season, and beyond!!