Happy Healthy Holidays: Tips and tricks for surviving the season
The holidays are here and you know what that means—parties, events, cookies, cakes, and toasting to the year ending and new beginnings! But with all of the holiday cheer can come stress and unwanted extra pounds #NotCool. This week I wanted to give you some tips that Erin and I use during this time of year that help prevent the scale from going up, allowing us to stay on track while still enjoying the holidays without regret!
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
You may recall a previous blog post, "Hydrate your life", where I went into detail on all of the beneficial effects that water has on your body. I also provided scientific data supporting these benefits, as well as tips to help you get in the adequate amount of water on a daily basis. But "hydrating your life" is even more important during the holidays! Alcohol tends to be consumed in large quantities during this time of year, leading to dehydration. Dehydration, even on a mild level, can cause dry and flaky skin, headaches, and brain fog. All of the things we absolutely DON’T want during the holidays. I always make sure to drink at least half my body weight daily (ex: 150 lbs = 75 ounces), but the day of a party or event I try to hit as close to my body weight as possible. This ensures that I am very well hydrated and if I do consume any dehydrating foods or drinks, it wont have as much of an impact on my body.
Erin and I always try to move daily—at least 30 mins of some type of exercise. Whether it's yoga, high intensity interval training, or weight lifting (yes—we have written blog posts on all of these as well!), we try to keep exercise a part of our everyday routine. In addition to unwanted poundage, the holiday season can bring an abundance of stress. This increases with the massive amount of events and parties that can bring very dynamic personalities together all under one roof. Yes—this time of year can be very stressful and scary! As stress increases, so does our cortisol levels. We tend to try to combat these reactions with carbohydrates and alcohol, both of which are in arms length, especially this time of year. On the day of a party or event I try to increase the intensity of my workout to help suppress those stress hormones and allow me to enjoy the festivities. If you already have a workout routine, try to increase the intensity on those days where you have a party to go to or an event to attend. If you don’t have a routine as of right now, start TODAY! Don’t wait until after the holidays or the new year—start your routine now. This will allow you to start benefiting from the positive effects during this most stressful time of year and give you the gift of a healthy fitness routine.
Fill your belly before the party
Its 7:30 pm. You arrive to a holiday party and naturally you’re starving. You hope there will be some yummy, healthy food choices. You walk inside, give hugs, and go straight for the food table—only to see chips, cheesy dips, and fried chicken. There is not a single vegetable, lean protein, or piece of fruit in sight. #WTH. Has this ever happened to you? Insert us raising our hands with ya! This is why I have learned to fill my belly with a healthy snack (or even a meal) prior to arriving to a party or event, especially if there is not a dinner option. A yummy protein shake (Erin and I both love Amare and Shakeology), avocado wrapped with turkey breast, or kale chicken salad stuffed in romaine beds are just a few of healthy food choices you can eat before the party. When you arrive with a full belly and have already satisfied your appetite, you will have less of a tendency to be forced to eat things you normally might not eat. This tip has saved me so many times!
Bring something healthy
At most parties, it is expected that everyone will bring either an appetizer or side option for the main course. This is where you have the option to add something healthy to the mix! Bringing an appetizer or side not only gives YOU a healthy option, it provides one for others at the party. Instead of chips and cheesy dip you could bring a vegetable platter with various types of hummus or guacamole. Our bacon-wrapped brussel sprouts are always a hit at any party—my husband is actually requesting that i make them twice this holiday season!
There is usually that one (or even three!) tables that have all of the foods and drinks that normally you wouldn’t have—but oh, those brownies with green frosting look so good! I'm not saying don’t have the brownie—have the brownie—but once you have it go circle the party. Socialize and converse with the other people there. Walk around. Play games. Fact of the matter is, you are there to be with others and to celebrate the holiday season with them. This will decrease the chances of eating more than one treat and avoid any post -“I ate the whole batch” guilt.
Choose your spirits wisely
Part of the holiday season includes toasting to friendships, accomplishments of the year ,and the possibilities to come in the new year. If you do drink alcohol, you know there are many different spirits out there and some are better choices than others. Swap the cranberry juice for club soda. Choose a light beer such as Michelob Ultra versus the heavy-calorie IPA like Sierra Nevada. Go for the red wine (remember the antioxidant effects that were discussed in our anti-inflammatory diet blog post?) instead of the high-sugar white wine. Making changes such as these allow for you to still toast to the new year, but with better choices for your body and avoiding any increase to your waistline.
Moderation is key—don’t deprive yourself!
“Life is meant to be enjoyed in moderation. Not can’ts and cans” - Kylee Claire
Now do not get me wrong—I am NOT saying don’t enjoy yourself. You should! Yes, the holiday season does bring many different temptations in the form of chocolate, cocktails, and cheeseballs (yes—these exist and my mom makes the best ones!). But this is not the time to deprive yourself and not enjoy all the things. Just do it in moderation. Having multiple cookies, eating fried jalapeño poppers, or drinking that extremely sugary peppermint cocktail does not mean that all of the hard work you have been putting in the last 364 days is gone.
Remember, if you “fall off the wagon” just pick yourself right back up and get back on track. Often if we have one bad night or day during the holiday season we will think “Well I screwed up last night—what's the point of even caring now?” In all honesty, this conversation should go more like this: “The cookies/jalepeno poppers/peppermint cocktail were/was amazing last night, but let’s get back into my normal routine so that I can continue enjoying those treats in moderation.” You are in control of your decisions and only you can keep your mindset and routine in balance.
I hope that you have found these tips and tricks to be helpful and are able to implement them this holiday season! Let us know if you do—via email or social media. And if you have any tips and tricks of your own or have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.
Always remember to Follow Your Gut