The holidays. Whether you love them, loathe them, or fall somewhere in the middle, one thing’s for sure… During November and December, healthy habits go flying out the window, and our jeans start to feel tighter by the day.
If the minute the holiday season rolls around, you find yourself ditching your healthy eating habits, neglecting that treadmill, and having an extra glass of wine than is probably necessary every night, you’re not alone.
All of us struggle with this age-old holiday balancing act of celebratory indulgence and commitment to our health. (And if you don’t, kudos to your superhuman self-control.)
But, you don’t have to put the pause on your health goals until New Years’. Here are some tips for maintaining your health through the holidays and beyond.
Practice intuitive eating habits
Eating “healthy” during the holidays doesn’t have to be restrictive; instead, consider intuitive eating. It’s a great habit to get into no matter the time of year, but it can be especially helpful during the holidays.
Intuitive eating is built around the practice of listening to your body and respecting its hunger and its fullness. This eating approach (NOT a diet) has its roots in Buddhism’s practice of mindful eating and giving food full attention while eating.
During the holidays, this can look like taking a “breather” and checking in with yourself to note signs of hunger and satiety and honor them accordingly. It can also look like savoring each bite on your plate and enjoying it to its fullest (no pun intended)
… And skip the defeatism and the guilt
But, what happens if you try to stick to mindful eating but end up eating so many of Grandma’s cookies that you feel that notorious over-full feeling? It’s going to be OK. Instead of waving the white flag and feeling extreme guilt, take note of how you feel, and move forward.
Registered dietitian Yaffi Lvova told Healthline: “Sometimes, you’ll eat past fullness. Sometimes this is a conscious decision, and sometimes it sneaks up on you. Both scenarios will likely happen this season. And neither requires a guilt trip.”
It’s OK if you aren’t hitting the gym or going for a run every day during the holiday season. It’s not going to make or break your health goals to skip a day or two here and there.
But what we do know is we feel better when staying active. Consider volunteering to take the dog out for their morning walk or arranging a Zoom yoga session with the fam.
(However, if you find that maintaining a regular rigorous workout routine is advantageous to you keeping stress in check, by all means- keep it up. Keeping your health on track is all about finding what works best for YOU.)
Keep stress away
All of us have different ways of coping with stress. For some, this may look like eating past the point of fullness, and for others, it may look like a lost appetite or forgetting to nourish our bodies completely. For some, it may look like hyperactivity, and for others, stress may take the form of lethargy.
Holiday stress in any form is no joke- the season is notoriously stressful. That’s why it’s important to have a toolkit to help you tackle stress. Check out our guest-written holiday stress relief blog post for some ideas. (link here)
It can be challenging to keep your health goals on track during the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be! Finding out what works for you and staying in tune with your body is a key element to staying your healthiest throughout the holiday season.
Gift yourself some much-needed self-care this holiday season. Check out these wellness bundles and start living optimally today.