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8 Tips For A Healthy Holiday Season

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

weight loss health nutrition diet

Here we go again... another Holiday season kicks off with the big initiator... THANKSGIVING. Dun-dun-dun....Out the window go our weight loss goals, strength goals, goals to fit in those jeans... whatever healthy intentions we set forth this year, AMIRIGHT?!


Just because Holidays have meant DOOM for our waistline and scales {and ego at that} in the past, doesn't mean this year has to be a repeat. You are here reading this article because you've already set an intention in your brain to be as true to your best you as possible this year. SEEKING OUT INFORMATION is how we GROW (in the good ways, not the bad)! So this is YOU GROWING, and it's never too late to do things differently!

If your still skeptical, listen up... I've been there...

Wayyyy before my Coach days, I used to restrict foods so much throughout the year that the Holidays meant my hall pass to GO CRAZY on all of my missed favorites. I'd then start the New Year feeling like absolute crap in my body, giving thanks for sweater season, and starting some new fad diet that would have me back in shape before anyone could notice, just in time for when the clothes started to come off in the Spring. And I’d be MISERABLE the ENTIRE time!!!

But that's only because I didn't KNOW the right way to handle the Holidays and I also wasn't living the right LIFESTYLE to support me through the year. All that's fortunately changed, however, after years of working on my healthiest relationship with food and building a career I intend on living out in nutrition & health. I believe life is SUPPOSED to be lived, and not just in a beautiful body, but by being present in the times that demand celebrating. I also KNOW that it can be done in a way that is both MATURE & respectful of ourselves and this one body we get to live in without feeling like we are missing out.

So HOW DO YOU survive this Holiday without the January regret? My top 8 tips are right here...

1. Don't plan a crash diet for after holiday season.

Planning a crash diet for after the holidays sets the mindset that we can make up for all of our wrongs later rather than deal with the reasons behind their happening now. It also sets a window where we are allowed to eat ALL THE FOODS and an end to when that window closes, meaning a period of restriction is ahead.

Whether you believe we come from Neanderthals or Adam & Eve, one thing is certain: our brains are hard-wired to prepare for times of famine. When we set an end to certain foods being allowed in our diet, our brains and thus our hormones are altered to get as MUCH of those foods in NOW as possible.

Don't do that to yourself! We all know there isn't any real famine coming, just a lot of self-loathing and unbuttoning (or taking out) of the pants! Allow ALL FOODS to remain in your diet post holiday season. It takes a lot of the pressure off!

2. Always bring a healthy-ish dish.

I'm not saying you need to bring kale muffins to every dinner party, but know your healthy swaps! Bake something and use 100% whole wheat flour or other flour instead of white. Use monkfruit sugar or Stevia baking sugar in lieu of white sugar {it’s awesomely 0 calories, and has a 1:1 substitute ratio to white sugar}. Use apple sauce or pumpkin instead of vegetable oil. Bring yummy salads packed with seasonal fruits and veggies such as beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, pomegranates, and cranberries. Mix those salads with whole grains like farro, quinoa, and kasha. Have FUN with it...

When you bring a dish, not only are you being an awesome guest, but you're also providing yourself and others a much appreciated reprieve from all the fatty and sugary staples. TRUST…more people out there are DYING for a healthy food option than will admit to it!

Plus, you get the added confidence of knowing exactly what's in your food, or at least that one dish. Don't focus on an all or nothing behavior. Every little move counts! So take action where you can.

3. Focus on protein & veggies.

The day of a party, make these two food groups your main priority. Don't CRASH DIET before a party, EDIT instead…focus on balanced nutrition that will keep you energized, light in your skin, and will provide satiety! Protein provides the satiety and slows down digestion, while veggies will keep your body supplied with carbs, but in a way that doesn't weight you down.

If you focus on these two groups of foods before a party, chances are once you get to the party, you'll be satisfied enough and even with energy in a way that won't send you straight to the food table.

And that isn't to say you shouldn't have ANY complex carbs before an event... by all means, have a serving {about a half cup}! But make sure it's complex and whole grain!

Once you're at the party, follow the same rules! Save the carbs for a fave seasonal cocktail!

4. Eat & drink only your favorites.

That's right... be a FOOD SNOB. We are ALL guilty of simply cleaning our plates of things we were only just curious about and didn't necessarily love. Or whose guilty of this? à eating foods simply because someone set it down in front of us {ohhh, our well-intentioned friends!}.

Make the Holidays a time where you really get to focus only on what YOU truly LOVE and are honestly looking forward to/planning for. And by all means, that also includes knowing WHEN to indulge in your favorites.

Indulge in your favorites at your FAVORITE TIMES to indulge in them! If peppermint hot chocolate is your thing, don't get one every time you make a Target run {Lord knows, Target already steals enough of our mullah without even trying!}.

Save that favorite indulgence, whatever yours may be, for only when it really counts, feels special & unique. Make that indulgence and heightened experience, not a cheapened one.

That experience could be a Holiday outing with the family, building that gingerbread house with your significant other, or that annual visit to see the local Christmas tree.

No matter what your favorite indulgence is, you get the gist!

5. Stick to clear spirits as much as possible…or even better, MOCKTAILS!

No two alcoholic drinks are alike! So here's my mission for you this year... 90% of the time, stick to clear liquors and champagne. The other 10%, partake in whatever seasonal cocktail you are most curious about.

Straight liquor has just about 70 calories an ounce, meaning for one serving, it beats all in the calorie department! Syrups, malts, and other sugary blends in drinks is what tends to ruin this wonderful number, and is what usually leaves us feeling bloated and rotten the next day due to the toxins in our system, the dehydration, and the spikes of insulin.

My go to when it counts? Vodka with club soda and lime. Simple, classic, classy, and refreshing. You can also get fancy and serve these up with pomegranate perils.

Clear liquor has much less cogeners {toxins} in them than darker liquors. This means, your body reacts with less inflammation as it breaks them down, and thus you get less hangovers {if any}. This in turn means you can still have a clear head to get your workout in the next day, the energy to make it to another holiday outing with friends the following night, the drive to put together healthy meals, and less irritation in your bowels...i.e. you won't have to show up at work in your comfiest professional pants.

Now what about the bubbly stuff? I thought wine was the friendliest of all drinks?! Yes, maybe…but that’s if you really stick to a true 4 oz. glass! Don’t lie…you probably don’t!

But let’s talk about wines cousin, champagne! We tend to drink this delight much slower than other beverages, even wine, due to the carbonation. We also tend to consume LESS of it because it's almost impossible to over-pour a champagne flute! One serving of bubbly is just 90 calories, and let's be real... it only takes one of these babies to start feeling good!!

With that said…ONE drink, no matter WHAT your poisin, goes a long way. It is WAYYYY too easy to undo your macros for the day or the week if we let loose. PLAN ahead for these treats (as that’s what they really are!), and really consider when it’s worth pushing pause on your goal.

If today is not that day to push pause, MOCKTAILS baby! Grab the following and mix for a yummy Apple Ginger Fizz!

1) Fresh ginger root, peeled, chopped

2) 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

3) 8-12 oz. sparkling water

4) 1 drop Liquid Stevia

5) Ice + garnish of mint

6. Remain active throughout the Holiday season.

I get it, I get it... the Holidays are ENERGY VAMPIRES! But you know what makes you feel even worse and more tired? Ironically, NOT sticking to your normal workout routine makes you feel even more sluggish than you already do. So KEEP AT IT, but just don't stress about perfection...just focus on doing the best you can because rest is important, too.

Keeping up with your routine, even if you slow it down, will help keep other good habits in check, boost endorphins, and elevate motivation to make healthier decisions throughout the day that follows!

You'll also feel less disappointed when the season ends that you aren't completely out of shape feeling like you're starting at square one again. I've been there, and while the getting out of shape is fun, it totally SUCKS to feel like that. I don't know about you, but I'd rather pick up my routine at just 1 step behind rather than 3.

7. Hydrate!!

Holidays are synonymous with FOOD...that's just the way it goes! Food, and specifically sweets, seem to be all around us AT ALL TIMES. And these temptations too often convince us we are hungry when we are not!

Before you reach for another cookie in the office pantry, CHECK YOURSELF: Have you drank enough water that day? Being low on water can deplete our energy and trick our hormones into thinking we need something else fast...i.e. sugar that will break down quickly and give us a fast energy spike.

Be smarter than your hormones, and drink water first. Since it's cold out, try hot water with lemon, or maybe hot all counts! Then take a walk. You'll be in a much better place to make smarter indulgence decisions when you are properly hydrated with all neurons functioning at max capacity.

8. Shift your focus at every gathering to something else other than food that should be cherished.

This is a rule that I began to practice in my own health journey and one that I teach my clients that you can use YEAR ROUND...not just Holiday season. The next time you're at a Holiday party, family outing, sports event, entertainment venue, etc. instead of treating that moment as one to amplify with food, take a pause and reflect on what that moment is really about and cherish THAT instead. When we were kids, did we focus on the food and drink? NO! We were too busy to be held down to a dining table! “May I please be excused now so I can go play?!” THAT’S the mentality you need to find again!

Say this Holiday season, there’s that day where you start off by picking out the family Christmas tree, and later on follow it with a family date to see the latest Holiday movie, stop and consider what elements of this experience are worth really focusing on. It's not the food, hot beverages, and sweet treats. It's the time with the family. It's the pictures you can capture together. It's the competition of who can find the best tree the fastest. Focus on the elements that have nothing to do with what goes in your mouth, and you'll not only make the most of the moment, but you'll feel more confident every time you’re in a celebratory setting. It's simply just a matter of retraining our brains to think differently about special events.

SO THERE IT IS... which tips can you focus on implementing this year to leave this Holiday season feeling more vibrant?


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