Strategies for Navigating the Holidays
Ahhh, the season is upon us. The season of cookies in the breakroom, chocolates randomly appearing on your desk, social functions with cheese boards and cocktails, it’s the holidays.
Does this sound familiar?
Do you find yourself slipping through November and then completely falling off the wagon in December?
Do you start January 10 lbs heavier and regret the decision you made to let it all go?
This year, what about having a plan?
I’m not saying forgo every cookie at the holiday party while you munch on raw celery in the corner.
But, what about approaching this season with balance?
Here’s what I know, moderation works. November and December are probably not the times to start a hard-core eating regime, but there are ways to mitigate the damage.
Control what you can!
Start your day the same as usual. Keep your breakfast and lunch choices clean by choosing lean proteins, a few carbs, a little fat and a big serving of veggies. Just because you splurged last night and ate too many cookies doesn’t mean you should start today with a cinnamon roll. Balance means making smart choices. So if you chose to have the cookies and an extra glass of wine get right back on track in the morning.
Watch your water
For most of us the holidays mean we’re consuming more sugar and less protein and vegetables than normal. This can leave you feeling sluggish and being dehydrated makes it worse. Getting adequate water in doesn’t just happen without making a plan to stay on track.
Set a timer or alert on your phone for every hour. If you drink 12 oz of water every hour for 8 hours that’s almost 100 oz in a day! Not everyone needs that much, but find what works for you (we generally recommend drinking half your bodyweight in ounces).
Water before coffee. If you’re a coffee drinker or even if you’re not, starting the day with a big glass of water BEFORE your morning beverage is a great way to give your body a head start. It’s pretty easy to get 16 oz in while your coffee brews.
Take it with you. Meet your new best friend, your water bottle. It goes where you go. Choose one that you love and find a size that isn’t cumbersome to cart around. Choosing a clear water bottle helps give visual cues for how much you’ve consumed.
Find what works for you. You might drink more water if you have a straw, or maybe you like ice, perhaps sparkling water is a better bet than still or maybe adding some lemon slices is a game changer. Whatever it is, find it and stick to it.
Make Smart Choices
I’m not advocating moderation on the actual holiday. You’ll find me going back for seconds. But, the events surrounding the holidays are another story. Small choices (good or bad) add up. Here are a few strategies to stay on track…
Eat your veggies first. Whether you’re dining out or at a cocktail party you’ll most likely have the option to order a side salad or snack on a veggie tray. Start there. Filling up on leafy greens means you’re less likely to overeat the cheese puffs later in t. Aim for getting in a handful of veggies in before you move to something else.
Betcha can’t eat just one. Actually, we bet you can. If you’re going to indulge in a sweet treat, try to keep it to one. Chose something you love, savor it slowly, enjoy every flavor and then move on. Following it up with a glass of water is a great way to cleanse your pallet. Sugar is addictive so this practice can be tricky. Once our body has one taste, it wants more. Setting an intention to only have one puts us in control of our cravings.
Offer to bring something. This is our favorite strategy for navigating holiday parties. Offering to bring a big salad guarantees you’ll have at least one healthy choice. Make something you love, fill it with a healthy protein, some nuts and seeds and a delicious dressing on the side.
Even if you only implement half of these strategies, you’ll be ahead of the game. Choosing moderation and solid eating habits this holiday season will leave you feeling empowered and not deprived. And if you’re looking for help and accountability we’re always here to help!
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