There is no denying it now- as Thanksgiving has come and pass, the holidays are upon us in full swing! And with gift shopping, party planning, holiday feasting and christmas cookies galore... it's easy to get busy and get out of our healthy habits, this holiday season.
And we say it every year, don't we? "This year will be different. This year I'll stay on top of my workouts, I'll eat clean, I'll drink a gallon of water a day, I'll only have one cookie at the party and I'll stay away from Aunt Julie's chocolate cream pie because I know I can't just have one slice...". We make lofty promises to our selves, that we often end up falling short of in the first week or two, and then we decide it might as well be all over now, and we go for that second slice of pie, skip yet another workout and end the year feeling tired, bloated and out of shape. Sound familiar? No matter what holiday you celebrate, this time of the year is BUSY. It's stressful with seemingly never-ending obligations, kids soon out of school and mounting credit card bills. It's easy to get off track with our healthy intentions and just throw caution to the wind, or in this case, the plate of Christmas cookies. So what do we do? How do we assure that we stay 'on-track' with our goals this Christmas season, we stick to our usual routine and we eat well-- the whole month? We don't.
That's right. I don't want you creating half a dozen unrealistic expectations only to feel defeated by December 7. But I also don't want you feeling sick, tired and weak at the end of the month, either. So what I propose isn't trying to live up to idealistic personal commitments, but to commit to making the season healthier. Perfection is impossible. But healthier is. I want you to know it's OK if your routine gets thrown off this month. It doesn't mean you have to give up completely. It's OK if you go for that second slice of pie (once in a while), it doesn't mean all your goals for the year are shot. But what I want you to avoid is letting it happen again and again. Let's resolve to not have to make resolutions in the new year, by choosing healthier habits now.
"Let's resolve to not have to make resolutions in the new year, by choosing healthier habits now. "
So how can we tackle this busy season and strive for a healthier holiday season? I like to keep it simple, with three simple ways to have a healthier holiday:
1. Stay Active This one seems like a no-brainer, right? Get in those workouts and stay fit, this holiday season. But notice I don't tell you to work out. Not that you shouldn't-- by all means, hit the gym or get that Healthy Mama Life workout done at home! But I don't want you to create a detailed workout plan only to quit a week in because it's just. too. much. with all of the other craziness going on. Rather than committing to 5-day-a-week workouts, why not schedule in THREE good workouts (remember, intensity matters) and the rest of the time, simply stay active. Go for a walk around the neighborhood with some clean hot cocoa (stay tuned for my favorite recipe!) after dinner, take the kids to the park and run around on a particularly nice day, walk the mall and look at the Christmas displays. Simply MOVE that body. As much as you can, every chance you can. 2. Don't Diet. Let's be clear here: I don't ever promote 'dieting', but rather changing habits to create lasting change and a healthier life. However, starting a new meal plan/dietary change/workout routine, even if it's something totally healthy and balanced (like 21 Days to Clean Lean Living) will simply set you up for failure in such a busy season. Forcing yourself to deny treat after treat and avoid events will only create space for an angry/tired/defeated binge, later on. And that's certainly not the goal of starting a new healthy routine! There are healthier tactics we can use to maintain our weight during the holiday season without devoting ourselves to a strict plan this month. Save that for the new year when the holidays are behind us and your mind is fresh!
3. Practice the 80/20 rule like it's your job! I talk about the 80/20 rule ALL the time. It's important to find balance in our efforts to eat whole foods (aka 'eat clean', though I prefer the term whole food eating!), because the more realistic your expectations, the more sustainable your goals. If you haven't heard it before, the 80/20 rule goes something like this: 80% of the time, choose whole, unprocessed foods. Eat at home, avoid packaged foods, drink lots of water, stick to those body type portions and otherwise eat as well as you possibly can, for your health and the health of your family. And then 20% of the time? Go ahead and indulge. However you see fit. Don't go crazy, of course- moderation is key, but whether it's a glass of red wine and a square of extra dark chocolate in the evening (my favorite near-nightly treat), or a square of your Grandma's heavenly lasagna at a family gathering, just enjoy it. Don't sweat it, don't worry about 'you goals', just enjoy it. This can be achieved in any way that works for you. I like making sure I eat before an event so I'm not starving and tempted to over-indulge. Choosing three treats a week and stopping there. Making healthier versions of your favorite holiday treats, but also making some of the 'real stuff', too, because it's ok to indulge. It's all about balance. Food is fuel, but it's also meant to be enjoyed. And this is even moreso important around the holidays when we are constantly surrounded by temptations of all sorts. Set yourself up with a healthy foundation and choose those worth-it treats, wisely. And enjoy them.
"Set yourself up with a healthy foundation and choose those worth-it treats, wisely. And enjoy them." Yes, enjoy them!! Enjoy the season! Don't stress about perfection but strive for healthier, each and every day.
We'll dig deeper into these three steps in the next couple of weeks. But how do we take these steps and start applying them, today? How do we tackle events, create healthier meals and stay healthy on a day-to-day basis, this holiday season? Need some support and accountability, this season? Join us in the Healthy Mama Life Community for our FREE 25 Days to a Healthier Holiday online event, starting tomorrow, December 1!
We'll go over my 7 tips for a Healthier Holiday, share recipes, tricks for managing parties, making holiday treats less indulgent (but just as delicious) and finish off with our 10 Day Christmas Countdown Mini Workout challenge!! Are you in?? Join us in the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1312680132081969/ for the support and motivation you need to make your holidays healthier.