The holidays can be a challenging time to maintain our healthy habits. It’s understandable given that our normal routine is in disarray and there are temptations hiding around every corner. And it’s okay for the wheels to fall off.
It is important that you give yourself grace during this time of year and do not beat ourselves up if things don't always go according to plan. When we are too tough on ourselves and have too many restrictions, especially if they are not realistic in our given situation, we often veer further off track than if we had a little flexibility with our goals and guidelines.
As you go into the holidays, it is important to reflect on how we want our healthy habits to look. You can ask yourself:
What healthy habits do I want to maintain over the holidays?
What healthy habits am I going to modify over the holidays?
What healthy habits am I putting on hold over the holidays?
Going into the holidays with a plan on what you are willing to stick to and what you are allowing to be flexible, you are setting a much more realistic outcome for yourself. Once you have chosen what aspects of your healthy habits you want to maintain, modify and pause, be okay with that decision, accept that decision and be okay with making those changes. Beating yourself up about being more lenient with your habits, is not going to change the situation but will cost you so much inner peace.
If you want to try to balance your meals, use the plate method. In this method you want half the plate to be covered in veggies and fruit, one quarter of the plate to be a source of protein, one quarter of the plate to be carbohydrates (including starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn). Add on a small side of healthy fats and you have yourself a balanced meal. Balancing your meals with protein, fats and carbohydrates will help you feel full longer and will also prevent major spikes and dips in your blood sugar.
It can be super helpful to fill up your plate in that order too. Start with veggies and fruits, then move on to sources of proteins and then top it off with our sources of carbohydrates. I am sure we have all been in the situation where we have added a dinner roll and three different styles of potatoes to our plates when we realize we don’t have any room on our plates (or in our bellies) for the other more nourishing foods available.
Try to get as many colours on your plate as possible. When we are talking about whole foods, the different colours of food represent a different set of vitamins and minerals. By eating a rainbow, you are ensuring you are getting as wide of a variety of nutrients as possible.
If you do track calories or macros, give it up this holiday season (and I would even recommend for good). This is going to add unnecessary stress to meal times, plus it isn’t likely to be very accurate if others are preparing meals and you aren’t exactly sure of all the ingredients and quantities of ingredients in food you are eating.
Try to find healthier swaps for your traditional holiday meals. If you are looking for inspiration, check out our Healthier for the Holiday Recipe Books that have 40 recipes covering breakfasts, apps and starters, mains, sides and desserts.
Try to maintain your sleep schedule as much as possible. This means trying to keep your evening and morning routines, bedtimes and wake up times as consistent as possible. It is really challenging to bounce out of the holidays with energy and vigour when our sleep schedule has been all over the place for the past several days and our sleep schedule has been shifted by 3 hours.
Prioritize getting more rest. Rest can take on many forms, it can be actual sleep or anything that you find relaxing and restorative to your body, mind and soul. That includes doing nothing as well if that’s what your body is asking for.
Try to move your body in some way every day. This doesn’t need to mean your usual HIIT program or a run, you can opt for gentler, more relaxing ways of moving such as walking or yoga.
For the added healing benefit of nature, try to get moving outside. Depending on where you live this could maybe include getting out for a hike, going tobogganing with the kids or dusting off the old skates and skis. Embrace all the fun outdoor activities that winter has to offer.
Preventing that Post-Meal Bloat and Discomfort
Take digestive enzymes before meals. Digestive enzymes that have lipase, protease and amylase will help you break down fat, protein and carbohydrates respectively, to give your digestive system a little support.
Drink water with apple cider vinegar. Add1-2 teaspoons of fermented unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar toa cup of water before your meal will your stomach acid, and in turn boost your digestive capacity.
Chew, chew, chew. The more you break down your food by chewing, the less work your digestive system needs to take on.
Eat slower and take breaks. This can help you better listen to those hunger and fullness cues and stop eating before you are overly full. Try to take a 20 minute break before that second or third helping because it takes a bit of time for our body to register when it’s full.
Add in some post-meal movement. Going for a walk after your meal not only helps speed up digestion and gets food moving through your body, it also helps to balance your blood sugar so you don’t experience those energy spikes and crashes and all the symptoms that come with it.
Take time to reflect on how you plan to balance your wellness this holiday season. See how these tips might incorporate into your lifestyle and health goals, but most importantly, check in with yourself and see what your body, mind and soul is asking for this holiday and give it that.
I would love to hear how you plan on incorporating your wellness into your holiday plans, please comment below.
Want to learn more?
Check out this blog on embracing a slower, more intentional holiday.
Check out this blog on how to be more intentional with your wellness goals.
Check out this blog on supporting digestion.
Check out this blog on balancing blood sugar.
Check out this blog on reframing your relationship with exercise through a movement menu.