5 Tips for a Healthy Balanced Holiday
Tip 1: Maintain your baseline self care routine. We’re not talking mani/pedis and massages (who has the holiday budget for that?!) though you can absolutely include those, if you’d like. I’m talking DAILY self care. What are the baseline level things you need to feel good on a daily basis? We truly can’t show up well for others- or ourselves, over the holiday season if we’re not taking care of ourselves well. A few examples include:
Drinking enough water: getting at least 8-10 glasses (4-5 mason jars) per day.
Getting enough sleep- yes, even if it means turning in early from that holiday party! Sleep affects not just your energy levels, but your food and appetite, as well.
Making time for movement. This is not the time to start a new fitness routine-- but it is a great time to simply make the time for regular movement so your body is feeling energized, throughout the business of the season.
Regular, nourishing meals. Again- not the time to try anything new here. Keep it simple and focus on the foods and meals you know will make you feel good, setting yourself up well by planning ahead for busy weeks to allow yourself to cook and eat at home as much as possible.
Tip 2: Remember we all have the ability to self-moderate, without rules and restrictions.
It can be really overwhelming with all of the parties and treats to feel out of control around food. But as research shows us-- the more we restrict ourselves or place rules around food, the harder it is to tune into what OUR body needs (do I really want a third cookie, or did I deem it my cheat day so I’m eating everything I can get my hands on?) and self-moderate. Food rules like, “eating clean until the weekend” makes moderation nearly impossible, as it sets us up for the restriction/rebellion cycle, where we vehemently attempt to control ourselves around parties, events, whatever it may be-- and enter into a state of rebellion and feeling even more out-of-control eating when you allow yourself a little freedom. Remember: food rules don’t serve you- balance is found by tuning in, not creating false permission.
Tip 3: Approach events (even small ones) with curiosity, rather than expectations. Feed yourself well before, don’t worry about saving up calories- the hungrier you are, the harder it will be to make decisions that serve you-- and take some time to consider what you actually want, what would be satisfying to you in this moment. A few questions to ask:
How am I feeling in my body right now? Am I hungry or could I wait a little while to eat?
How am I feeling in my mind, right now? Am I feeling anxious or stressed? Do I need to take a few deep breaths before I enter into this event?
What sounds satisfying and fulfilling to me right now? Do I want to make a beeline for the buffet or bar, or maybe spend some time connecting with people before I jump into eating?
Tip 4: Time time to re-charge. The holidays can be stressful! It’s important to take intentional time for self-care, those daily habits I mentioned previously, as well as deeper self care as you need it to re-charge and feel your best throughout the holidays. Carve out white space-- space to do NOTHING, sip some hot chocolate, watch a Christmas movie and the big R-- RELAX.
Tip 5: Take the focus OFF of the food!
Food is great-- as a foodie and a chef, I too get excited about all the fun food around the holidays, but it’s important to remember, it’s not everything. The holidays are about family, gratitude and making memories with the people you love. When you are only focusing on food, you will likely remember more the times you let food dictate your experience than the experiences themselves. Focus on the moments that create memories, not the food, and let food be a fun addition to a joyful season.
Grab my FREE 15-page Balanced Holiday Eating Workbook + Video series (launching November 30th!) for my best tips on embracing a balanced holiday season, this year!