November and December are the hardest months to maneuver through when it comes to making healthy choices for a healthier you. Whether your goal is to maintain weight, lose weight or gain just a few pounds, there are days that you feel like it's next to impossible to stay the course. But is POSSIBLE if you have a plan.
Here are some amazing tips to keep you accountable. Use the ones that speak to YOU so you can reach January feeling good and ready to enjoy the new year! There's a lot more where these came from so make sure you are subscribed to my weekly inspirational health newsletters!
#1 - Take time for self care
Read a good book, take a bubble bath, watch a movie, take a walk, meditate, do some yoga, or anything else that will allow you to decompress from all the activity and possible stress from the holidays. Just note that, eating is not one of the self-care options........ 😁
#2 - Get the recommended number of hours of sleep
During the holidays we tend to shorten our sleep cycle because we have so much more to juggle. If we are already struggling with just our normal daily routine and commitments, adding holiday 'stuff' can keep us awake a lot later than normal. Make it a point to get at least 6-8 hours a night. Lack of sleep causes grumpiness, unhappiness, frustration and stress.
#3 - Choose smaller portions
We are surrounded by food during the holidays! Holiday dinners, brunches, lunches, cookie bake-offs and parties can easily tempt us into eating way too much food. So when January rolls around we are miserable, tired, cranky and our clothes don't fit.
It's okay to sample everything at a gathering but if you do so, take smaller portions of each.
#4 - Drink more water
Most of us walk around severely dehydrated, especially around the holidays. By drinking 64 oz of water a day, you will feel satiated and less likely to overindulge. Before a special holiday meal or event drink a large glass of water to head off cravings and overeating. This is also helpful if you are baking. You're less likely to over sample your creations. 😇
#5 - Say NO when necessary
If we are an overachiever we tend to overcommit, overdo and stress about every aspect of the holidays. It's okay if we say NO to that 15th party invite. It's okay if your holiday cards get mailed late or not at all. It's okay if your house is not decorated like the houses in House and Beautiful magazine. It's okay if you do not make everything from scratch. Holidays are not about the food, drink, decorations etc. but spending time with our loved ones. It will be okay. No ONE will think less of you because you didn't personally make the desserts for your holiday meal, go carolling, or have a perfectly shaped and decorated christmas tree.
$6 - Express gratitude
Wake up every morning and express three things you are grateful for. These gratitudes will ward off the holiday grumpies when we may be tired or stressed. We ALL have things to be grateful for so reflect, identify and write them down or say them out loud in the shower. It's a great way to begin your day with a positive mindset and keep you grounded.
#7 - Eat a snack BEFORE going to a party
This is the BEST kept secret to prevent overindulgence! Hunger is the biggest trigger for overindulging. How many of us usually starve ourselves before a holiday meal or party so we can eat as much as we can? Starving yourself is not the answer and it can be really hard on your body. Our bodies our meant to be fueled regularly. Our bodies already go into shock when we overeat but if we haven't given it sustenance for hours... well let's just say it we usually pay the consequences later. We all have probably done it at least once. So how good do you feel after it's all over? Not great, I'm sure.
Going to the grocery store hungry isn't a great idea either. When we do, doesn't EVERYTHING look and smell YUMMY? Do you notice your grocery bill is higher on those trips? It's hard to resist buying (and even tasting) those sugary and salty snacks when your hungry.
Eating some type of protein snack before heading to a holiday dinner, party or brunch will help curb your appetite so you can take smaller portions and maybe even make smarter choices.
#8 - Be careful of heavy and high calorie drinks
Some of the most festive holiday drinks, like Eggnog, peppermint or pumpkin frappuccinos and hot chocolate, can get us into the most trouble. We tend to forget that these drinks are loaded with fat, sugar, and calories. It's okay to splurge on occasion but stick to water or lighter, no-calorie drinks. It's so easy to spruce up seltzer and sparkling water with a lime, lemon, orange slice or even cranberries. And they are refreshing!
#9 - Prioritize what you eat
If you know your attending a number of parties, holiday dinners and such, make a conscious decision to choose ONE splurge at each event. Choose the splurge that is most important to you. Is it that Eggnog? Is it the cookies, pie or chocolate? Is it the chips and dip? Just because all your favorites are there does not mean you need to eat them. Choose! Prioritize what's important to you for splurging.
#10 - Limit the baking
Baking is a staple activity around this time of year. For some of us, baking holiday cookies, strudels, pies and even chocolates is part of the holiday tradition. I used to love to bake holiday cookies between Thanksgiving and New Years. The problem with holiday baking is that we are always sampling during the baking process. We tend to think that sampling won't hurt our waistline. We're only sampling right? Meanwhile ten pounds later....
Choose wisely what you want to bake over the holidays. Try not to spread it out over a period of days and weeks. This drawn out method will just give you the excuse to eat (or sample) them everyday. If you do need to bake a lot of items for holiday events, then FREEZE the goodies until you need them, when possible. One, this will keep them out of your snacking view and two it will keep them fresh and ready to go for your company or party.
#11 - Set a goal for either maintaining or a specific allowable weight gain
Once the holiday season starts, we tend to throw caution to the wind. We think those extra calories we eat will magically disappear OR we think we'll deal with it in January. But once January finally arrives we get frustrated. We feel crappy and tired. We have no idea how to lose those unwanted pounds and get our energy back. So we tell ourselves 'next Monday'.
I know that the scale is the most scariest creature in the world but it does help us stay honest during the holidays. Weigh yourself before Thanksgiving to get your starting weight. Then get on the scale once a week to see if you are meeting, exceeding or failing to reach your goal. Make adjustments where needed. Making smart choices is not easy sometimes but the alternative can be much worse. Trust me, it will be so worth it when the New Year rolls around.
Remember, the most important aspect of the holidays is being with the ones you love. Don't make it about the food.
So I hope these healthy tips help get you where you want to be in January. For more holiday health tips, sign up for my weekly newsletter. Let's keep you motivated and on target for a healthy new year!
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