Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Christmas is my favorite time of year. All the beautiful lights, the family gatherings and of course, the food 🤤. It is the most fabulous time of year! ..unless you have an unhealthy relationship with food, than it becomes the most stressful time of year! I know, because I have been there. To me, Christmas was like the ultimate will power test.. and I always failed and then hated myself for it. Every year, I would put so much pressure on myself and inevitably set my self up for failure. Let's just say, that is NOT a good time.
So here are a few tips I learned over the years to keep my stress levels down, truly enjoy the holidays AND stay on track with my fitness goals.
1. Create boundaries & keep your regular routine
Keeping your routine is a HUGE factor in how you will be feeling. If you feel great in your body and mind, you have a better chance of gliding through the holidays stress free. It's important if you are visiting or have guest over that you make time for yourself to do your usual grounding activity. It might feel weird to set boundaries, because we are not use to it and we want to please everyone. However this time for yourself to stick to your routine will allow you to be fully present for the rest of day with your loved ones.
For example, I will be travelling to my inlaws for over a week during the holidays, during my stay, I made it clear that every day I will leave for 1 hour to go workout in the am before any family activity. This will allow me to have 1 hour to myself to decompress, move my body and come back with more energy!
2. Moderation is key. NO FOMO
It's no secret that the holiday season brings a parade of food, and usually not the healthiest ones.. Moderation and balance are your best friends!! It's ok to eat foods you usually wouldn't and add desserts here and there. However you do not need to taste EVERYTHING. Food will be there tomorrow, next year and forever! Don't make yourself sick with food by fear of missing out. Here are a few ways to do this: Aim to take only 1 serving. Always fill your plate with vegetables first, then add your protein and lastly your carbs. Allow yourself to have your favourite dessert or treat in moderation.
3. Throw guilt out the window
Chances are, you will have an ''unhealthy'' meal, snack or dessert. And you know what? THAT'S OK. One (or two or three) treats during the holidays won't make you gain weight. However, being stressed will!! High cortisol levels (your body's stress hormone) leads to increased hunger signals, weight gain and is correlated with poor food choices. So throw the guilt out the window and enjoy yourself!
4. Don't set yourself up for failures
If you tell yourself in advance that you will have ZERO desserts or treats and you WON'T deviate from your plan at all, you are playing, what I call, the ultimate willpower game! And trust me, it’s a hard one to win. Telling yourself you CAN'T have certain foods just creates a bigger desire to have it! This behaviour leads to the "all or nothing" mindset, which is very dangerous because as soon as you have a little you tend to have EVERYTHING. Allowing yourself to eat treats in moderation removes that unnecessary stress.
5. BYOF (Bring your own food)
If you know you are going to a party where the food choices won't be optimal, bring your own! What's great about holiday parties is that most of time it's potluck style, so bringing something healthy will not be disrespectful to the host. This allows you to have some control over what you eat. Plus you get to share healthy food with your loved ones.
6. Get moving
MOVE YOUR BODY EVERYDAY. It doesn’t matter if it’s a walk, run, yoga or strength training. You need to do something. You will most likely be eating more than you usually do and might be feeling sluggish/lazy which will lead to more eating. Don't go down that path. After a meal, get up and get moving!
7. Don't skip meals
Skipping meals is a bad idea. If you have a big dinner planned, you might be tempted to skip lunch to “save” on calories. However, if you get to dinner starving, chances are you will overeat and you will make poor food choices. On top of that, you might feel entitled to eating more because you skipped lunch therefore you end up eating a lot more than you should. Make sure to eat your regular meals to avoid this situation
8. Drink water
Drink lots of water!! Staying hydrated is key to avoid overeating. Many people confuse theirs thirst and hunger signal and tend to eat when their body is really thirsty. So make sure you keep a water bottle with you at all times so you can sip throughout the day. Check out my other article to get all the benefits of water.
Last but not least, sleep. Getting 7-8.5 hours of sleep every night is crucial to your overall wellness. Feeling tired is just not fun plus research shows that lack of sleep increases daily calorie consumption and altered your mood. Make sure you get the sleep you need in order to feel your best during the holidays!
I hope these 9 tips will help you go through the holidays stress-free, while having fun and staying fit!! Any questions or comments, message me :)