End the Holiday Sabotage!

The Holiday Sabotage

The countdown to Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday season is upon us, and with this comes an interruption to our everyday habits and routine.

Now is when we start to slip, say “to hell with it!” and deck the halls so hard that come January 1st, we feel AWFUL!

All those festive parties, decadent charcuterie boards and adult bevs got us feeling tired, bloated, sluggish, and uncomfortable. We wake up January 1 with a major holiday hangover, and it’s not the New Year’s Eve bubbly to blame!

It’s the entire holiday season, the weeks we spent neglecting healthy habits like exercise, sleep, and eating real food finally catching up and taking its toll:

….hours spent stressing over and shopping for the perfect Christmas gift.

….visits to the drive through for a quick bite on the go.

….office parties and tequila to muster up the confidence for Mariah Carey karaoke.

….jelly-filled donuts and latkes shared during Hanukah.

…trays of holiday cookies infiltrating the home and office.

If you think about the typical holiday season, most of us go off the rails, eat all the things, drink all the drinks, and run ourselves into the ground with all of the hustle and bustle.

Come January 1st, you make the resolution to finally change your lifestyle once and for all (and so begins the yearly cycle of starting out with a resolution that will likely fizzle within a few weeks).

Studies show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions only last until the first week of February!

But what if there was a way that you could maintain healthy habits and still enjoy your holiday season?

What if there was a guarantee you could wake up January 1st feeling as good as you do today, if not better!?

Don’t regret what you’re going to do the next 6 weeks, and don’t rely on the New Year to undo the damage and “start over”. Instead, have your holiday fruit cake and eat it, too!

Curious how to navigate the holidays without sacrificing your health, gaining weight and feeling run down?

With Thanksgiving is just 2 days, we are sharing the 6 strategies you need to maintain healthy habits without sacrificing the holiday festivities PLUS 7 tips to overcome the day(s) you holiday too hard and need to get back into control.

6 Strategies For the Holidays

The holiday season lasts approximately 6 weeks and during that time, you will eat about 126 meals.

Here’s the kicker: only 6 of those are actually holiday meals.

That gives you 120 meals (opportunities) to be in more control and focus on fueling your body with real food!

Those other 120 meals? Those do NOT need to be all out, balls to the wall feasts.

There are lots and lots of meals you can prepare and eat consisting of healthier choices and all your macronutrients: protein, heart healthy fats and SMART carbohydrates (this includes veggies).

Now, realistically, there are going to be parties and luncheons mixed in to celebrate the season, but you see where I’m going with this. There is so much in your control during the holiday season. Here are 6 strategies to maintain healthy habits while still enjoying your favorites holiday. festivites!

#1. Eat 3 Balanced Meals/Day:

For those 100+ meals you can control, eat 3 balanced meals/day. A balanced meal includes lean protein, SMART carbs, heart-healthy fats, and veggies. As for the meals you have little to no control over:

  •  Plan out your splurges: The best way to strike a balance is planning ahead. For example, if dinner’s at a restaurant, prepare and eat breakfast and lunch at home.

  • If you are brunching at the local hot spot, opt to prepare and eat your other meals at home.

  • Do not skip meals in anticipation of splurges and larger meals. You will be HANGRY and more likely to OVER eat! Instead, focus on eating balanced meals the rest of the day to stay keep full and stay satisfied.

  • Prioritize veggies and protein: Always eat proteins and fresh veggies first at every meal, regardless if you are dining in or out. This keeps you satisfied and reduces the urge to binge.

  • Eat mindfully: Slow down! Pick foods you wouldn’t normally eat/are unique to holiday traditions and take the time to slow down and really enjoy! If needed, set your utensils down in between bites to better recognize fullness cues.

#2. Drink Water!

Staying properly hydrated keeps you feeling your best, digestion flowing and offsets some of the effects you feel when typical habits are interrupted.

Aim to drink at least 60 ounces of water daily. Pro-tip: drink a glass of water first thing in the morning after waking.

#3. Limit Alcohol

Alcohol is a big part of holiday traditions so will preface by saying, drinking in moderation will be beneficial IF you want to want to avoid holiday weight/fat gain and stay healthy.

Here’s how alcohol slows down and / or stops your progress and results:

  • Empty Calories:  Alcohol provides little to no nutritional value and calorie wise, quickly adds up! Remember, gaining weight is simple math: if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. All’s it takes is 2-3 drinks to hit 300+ extra calories!

  • Impairs Judgement: Alcohol impairs decision-making so the more you drink, the fewer inhibitions you have when it comes to food choices. Plus, it increases your appetite and cravings for highly processed foods, especially when hungover.

  • Slows down progress: Alcohol slows down our bodies ability to burn fat because it’s too busy burning off the alcohol. It also inhibits muscle growth and recovery – working against all that hard work you put in exercising!

  • Disrupts Sleep: Alcohol may make you fall asleep faster but as it wears off, disrupts your deep sleep and REM cycles – the most important part of sleep for physical and mental restoration.

So, what can you do to enjoy a few drinks without sabotaging your health and goals?

  • Prime your body with nutrients! Before drinking, focus on eating lean proteins and plenty of fresh veggies.

  • Limit your intake: Choose the number of drinks you will have and stick to that number!

  • Hydrate! Be sure to stay hydrated and have a glass of water between each drink.

  • Drink the basics: Avoid drinks containing sugary mixers or heavy syrups – these contain TONS of added sugars, making for one wicked hangover and will dehydrate you much faster!

  • Mocktails: You also have the choice to abstain from alcohol altogether. Mocktails can serve the same purpose and can be as simple as sparkling water infused with fresh fruit.

 #4. Exercise & Move Daily!

Daily exercise and movement are invaluable for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your goal is exercising at least 3x/week and hitting between 8-10K steps/day, especially if you spend most of the day sitting at a desk. Plan and schedule your workouts in advance on your calendar or mobile device.

#5. Get QUALITY Sleep!

Sleep is very underrated yet SUPER important to your health. Your daily goal is 7-9 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep so your body can rest, repair and recharge. Lack of sleep increases appetite/cravings for highly processed foods, hormonal disruptions and leads to poorer lifestyle choices.

Aim to stay consistent with both your bedtime and waking times to keep your sleep on track. It only takes a night or two of poor sleep to feel the negative effects.

#6. Manage Stress

Stress can also have a negative effect on how you feel and the decisions you make throughout the day. While this is a very stressful time of year, schedule some time with yourself to check in mentally, meditate or, simply just breathe. The “go go go” mentality of the holiday hustle leaves us little to no time to do this.

Schedule self-care windows into your day. Aim for at least 20 minutes and use that time to do something you enjoy. If 30 minutes isn’t manageable on busier days, aim to hit at least 5-10!

7 Tips When Festivities Hit HARD:

Did you have a day that did not go as planned and the holiday festivities hit HARD? Here are 7 tips to start feeling better and back in control:

  1. Check your mindset! DO NOT beat yourself up or feel guilty about overindulging. Today is a new day!

  2. Hydrate! Water will help keep your digestive system moving – this is a good thing!

  3. Take a walk! GENTLE movement helps to promote digestion, too!

  4. Get twisting! Think yoga poses such as downward dog, ragdoll, seated twists, and knees to chest. Gentle twists can help ease bloating and discomfort.

  5. Sip some tea! Ginger, peppermint and licorice tea ease discomfort and aid in digestion.

  6. Focus on well-balanced meals! Aim for well balanced meals we talked about earlier. Remember, a balanced meal consists of a lean protein, SMART carbs, heart-healthy fats and veggies.

  7. Skip difficult-to-digest foods! Avoid spicy or fried foods and focus on lean proteins and leafy greens.

The holidays are a time for family, friends and coming together. These times should absolutely be enjoyed so remember, be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself and most importantly, take the time to love yourself! Control what you can and schedule the healthy habits to prevent the onset of the holiday spiral and holiday hangover!

Stay Fueled!

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