8 Ways You Can Enjoy The Holidays & Be Healthy, Too!

For many, Halloween is the start of holiday food pitfalls. Candy is everywhere. Before you know it, you’re at a beautiful Thanksgiving table with friends, family and tons of food. Blink, it’s Christmas. (Scary, right?)

Not to mention all the holiday parties, food gifts, and all the baked cookies, pies, and cakes. It’s almost as if we go into a food coma just thinking about the bounty of food we consume between October 31st and December 31st.  I used to feel complacent to the fact that weight gain was just a part of the holidays. January always included two words I pretty much despise: diet and depravation.

Then I realized, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s all about making healthy choices and the 90/10 rule. The 90/10 rule is eating healthy 90% of the time while allowing some indulgences 10% of the time. Here’s how:

  1. Always start with a healthy, satisfying breakfast! Enjoy a mix of protein, healthy fats, and fiber to kickstart your day.
  2. Exercise. I know time is tight this time of year. But, think about it for a second: If you allow the holidays to cut into your exercise, even if you’re not over indulging, how do you think your body will feel? Probably not too good. It’s important to find time to exercise. Commit to a routine that you can do anywhere in a short period of time (here’s a good tutorial). Make sure you use the stairs all the time instead of an elevator or escalator, park far away from where you need to go. Committing to working out for 10-20 minutes a day during the holidays is far better than not at all.
  3. Snack wisely. It’s easy to grab food and just eat it when we’re hungry. Here’s the thing, that falls under mindless eating which won’t satiate you. You’ll wind up being hungrier and still eating. Pack snacks to keep on hand. Apple slices or Celery with natural peanut butter, veggies and humus, hardboiled egg, 1 ounce of dark chocolate, or a small handful of nuts and seeds.
  4. Portion Control is key! It’s easy to let our eyes do the talking during this time of year. Be mindful of how much food is going on your plate, even with vegetables. Many vegetable sides can have heavy sauces and sugar in them. A taste can go a long way for satiety value.
  5. Limit alcohol. Enjoy a beautiful glass of wine, have a cocktail, just nurse them. Alcohol wreaks havoc on your weight. Lots of empty calories on top of a big meal.
  6. Drink Water. Be sure you’re well hydrated throughout the holidays. When you’re hydrated, you feel full. Plus, you keep your metabolism revving. In fact, your metabolism is 3% faster when your body is hydrated.
  7. Listen to your body. Our bodies are very intuitive. Don’t eat until you’re stuffed. Stop when you’re satisfied.
  8. Stress must be acknowledged during the holidays. It’s a busy time of year. Whether you’re stressed from all the food, shopping, parties, or whatever, remember to breathe.

The holidays are a time to be shared with our families and friends.  Enjoying amazing food is certainly part of that. Just be mindful that food is secondary to our loving relationships. Let gratitude for these relationships envelop your heart and soul to carry you through this holiday season.

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