I want to begin with our current state of affairs because all of us are in the same boat right now.
THE HOLIDAYS ARE ON THE HORIZON AND THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING!
But think back to your childhood…Holidays were ALWAYS filled with joy, excitement, and fun so why did this have to change?
There was a survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center where they asked people what they dread most about the holiday season and the results are exactly what you would expect…
68%: Crowds and long lines
37%: Gaining weight
37%: Getting into debt
28%: Gift shopping
24%: Seeing certain relatives
16%: Having to attend holiday parties or events
15%: Having to be nice (I am assuming this means being nice to people you do not like- LOL)
12%: Holiday tipping
But what about the joy associated with all of this negativity…I mean, is it possible to make all of the above FUN and filled with HEALTH?!?! Maybe I am too idealistic, but at the same time, I do believe it is possible to maintain our health and remain stress-free during this time of year.
Before I share a handful of strategies that are guaranteed to make this year better (as long as you follow-through), I want you to perform this exercise…, spend some time in your thoughts and begin to see yourself living out the ideal holiday season.
Who would you spend time with?
What foods would you eat?
What presents would you purchase?
What gifts would you receive?
Where would you be located?
How would you define this holiday season as successful?
Every successful outcome begins with a clear plan of where you are going. Take a few minutes and write out a response to these questions and either keep it sacred for only your eyes OR post it in the comments below.
I am going to share over 10 strategies and a handful of really fantastic recipes so that this holiday season is as ideal as possible. However, the only way to make this time impactful is if you truly commit to taking action this holiday season.
1. BE AWARE..
Awareness is such a powerful skill, and from what I have seen, it is the difference between making your goals real or missing the mark.
We live in an extremely on-to-go society, and distraction has become our new norm. As a result, many people make poor choices when it comes to the foods they put in their bodies, ignore the people they love the most, and struggle with productivity.
My challenge for you is to be extremely aware during this holiday season of the following…
-The foods/drinks you put in your body
-The time you allocate to be with your family
-The money you spend
-The attitude that shows up when traveling
-The amount of physical activity
-The people you interact with
Your goal should be to ask yourself questions as you engage in any of the above activities.
For example, if you are about to consume a variety of sugary treats or an unhealthy meal, ask yourself a series of questions – “How does this decision serve me? Will it get me closer to my ideal holiday season? Is there a better choice I can make that will help me achieve my goal?”
As human beings, we are often extremely impulsive with our decisions (especially when given a variety of options to choose from) which is why the holidays are often difficult for most. If we give ourselves the permission to think, even for a few seconds prior to acting, our choices will be more aligned with our vision for creating an ideal holiday season.
2. BE SELF AWARE
Self-awareness is not easy, but it becomes simpler when you’re clear on your desired outcome.
When you are spending time with family and friends ask yourself a series of questions – “Am I showing up as the character I want to be in this situation? Will I be proud of the way I acted during this event? What can I do to be the best version of myself regardless of the circumstances?”
3. STICK WITH THE FUNDAMENTALS
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but food is fuel, and even if you allow yourself to indulge during this time of year, the fundamentals are really important.
-You can control when you eat, so avoid any food at least 3 hours before going to bed
-Don’t skip meals and eat to satiety
-Chew your food really well
-Fill your plate one time and make sure it is colorful
-Consume at least 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables each day
-Say “NO” to gravy
Another really great strategy that I have seen help people is to stock your freezer with healthy meals. Everyone is busy during this time of year with shopping, decorating, traveling, etc., and we typically grab something on the go which is almost never healthy. But if you plan ahead and either prepare foods that are in your refrigerator OR have a variety of options that have been frozen, it makes it much easier to ensure you are giving your body what it truly needs.
4. WIN THE BUFFET BATLLE
If you are going to attend a holiday party with a dinner buffet of goodies, it is important to proclaim the experience even takes place…”I, *state your name*, will not be defeated by the buffet.”
This is such an important tip because over consumption takes place when there are too many options, and you want to try everything. The easiest way to avoid the buffet blues is to take a smaller plate than everyone else. This way you can still attempt to try everything, but the real estate for calories will be much smaller so the portion will be controlled.
If there happens not to be a smaller plate, then just ASK! We mean it… everyone has smaller plates, and you can tell them the truth – ”I, *state your name*, will not be defeated by the buffet.”
5. EAT BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Please, please, please do not starve yourself in anticipation of a “monster” meal! Many people often avoid breakfast and lunch during the holiday season because they know that they will make up for it at dinner and then what happens is dreaded over consumption by means of starvation!!!
Prior to leaving your home (or having people come over), force yourself to consume at least two nutritious meals and one snack so that your stomach will be at least 50% full during the main event.
If you are going to an event and bringing something, I always recommend contributing a food choice that is healthy and enjoyable for YOU! This will guarantee that at least one item at the party will meet your needs and keep you on track.
I also want you to realize that holidays will probably lead to somewhat out-of-control behavior. Maybe you will splurge slightly, get out of your routine for a bit, and even eat some foods that you know are wrong, but the key is to avoid becoming victimized by your temptations. This means DO NOT, and we repeat, DO NOT, have any tempting food items in your home. Be extra clean and strict outside of the holiday parties because this will help neutralize some behaviors that you might not be so proud of.
6. AVOID LIQUID CALORIES
This is an obvious strategy, but one that we must include because far too many people fall victim to liquid calories.
Whether this is eggnog, wine, beer, hard alcohol, or sugary drinks, you should completely avoid liquid calories during the holiday season. The strategy is to stick with WATER and add some fruit to the water if you want to enhance the flavor. However, there are much healthier alcoholic beverage alternatives. If you choose to drink alcohol go for a biodynamic wine or low sugar brand…don’t be ashamed to bring your own bottle to the party. Be sure to bring two to share with the host.
7. FOCUS ON MORE THAN FOOD
People often spend more time focusing on what they put in in their mouth than on what comes out of their mouth by means of conversation. The key to controlling yourself during the holiday is to become distracted by something other than highly caloric items.
Spend time playing games, telling stories, singing, dancing, and having fun! The more time you spend doing something outside of eating, the easier it will be to avoid another unhealthy holiday season. Feel free to play a new family game, go on a family hike, do an art project, sing songs, dance around the house, etc.
Holidays are intended to create new traditions so use this time wisely because when looking back you will be overjoyed with the memories that you captured.
Challenge for you: Have at least a ten-minute conversation with five people before taking your first bite of food.
8. GET UP AND MOVE
So it might be inevitable that you are going to eat more, but why does this mean that you are going to move less? Outside of over-consumption during the holiday’s people also tend to skip their daily fitness routine. There is no reason that everything needs to fall apart during the last leg of the race! We encourage you to exercise for at least 30 minutes four times each week during the holiday season.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with movement:
-Have a dance competition with your family
-Cut down your own holiday tree
-Get a partner and schedule your workouts into your calendar in permanent marker
-Park as far as possible from the mall, so you have to walk
-Perform 5-minute interval exercises (push-ups, jumping jacks, running place, crunches, etc.)
-Walk at a steady pace whenever shopping
-Play games with the kids in your family because they are usually filled with energy
-Wear a pedometer (or download a smartphone app) and try to walk 10,000 steps each day
-Sign up for a holiday race
9. STAY CALM
I know for many people the holidays are so go-go-go that the day is over before you know it and you feel like nothing has been accomplished. Therefore, I encourage scheduling calm-down breaks when you wake up each morning. There is no time more peaceful than the first few minutes when your eyes open, and my goal for you is that you keep this sacred moment filled with calmness.
Don’t look at your to-do list! Don’t check your email!
Don’t make a phone call! Don’t jump out of bed!
Simply take the first 5-10 minutes of each day and keep these reserved for yourself.
Close your eyes, take several deep breaths and meditate or relax. Imagine yourself in a beautiful place, think of a happy memory or visualize yourself succeeding at a cherished goal. I am telling you – this will TRANSFORM your day if you make it a ritual. Also, keep in mind that you can take 1-5 minute long relaxation breaks to calm yourself down at any point during the day. A few moments of conscious, slow breathing can help you when you’re feeling frustrated during the holiday season and beyond.
10. BE GENEROUS
One of the best ways to stay calm, content, and cheerful this time of year is to act generously with your loved ones, colleagues, and friends. This does not mean you need to spend a ton of money or do outlandish things, but the act of giving is the most rewarding experience you can create for yourself.
Whether this means giving your time. Whether this means giving a small gift. Whether this means writing a note. Whether this means expressing gratitude.
You can define generosity however it is best for you, but during this holiday season, make a commitment to experience the gift of helping the people you care about most. This is the ultimate solution to creating a stress-free holiday!
As Anne Frank so eloquently said, “No-one has ever become poor by giving.
Well, that’s it. The 10 action items you should focus on to survive the holidays.I really want to empower you to take action this year because you deserve to THRIVE. Taking control of your food, movement, and stress is within reach, and the 10 ideas will help guide you during this time of year.
Yes, the holidays will be stressful.
Yes, you will be exposed to tons of food.
Yes, you might need to spend time with people you do not enjoy. Yes, travel will be exhausting.
But this year will be different because you are prepared to put your health first. Prove to yourself you CAN DO IT and watch what happens to all of the goals you set in your life.Positive, proactive feelings of motivation and inspiration will serve as the energy you need to propel forward, take on these healthy holiday habits, and dramatically improve your quality of life.
For even more motivation and support download my free
Holiday Survival Kit.
When you sign up for this FREE Guide, you get:
– Our 25-page e-guide loaded with tips for keeping your sanity (& current dress size) during the holidays.
– Strategies that teach you when & how to say no, thank you to food
– AND how to say yes, please & actually enjoy your indulgence, guilt-free
PLUS you get WNL 4-Day Post-Holiday Healthy Reset Plan, which includes:
- – 12 delicious, easy to prepare recipes to get your body feeling great after a night (or few) of celebrating
- – A detailed shopping list to save you tons of time at the store
- – A 4-day suggested meal guide for breakfast, lunch, & dinner to guide you through the reset with ease
- – Our Daily Holiday Survival Checklist to print out and post on the fridge or in the office so you can stay on track with healthy habits.
Click Here to Download
“Avoid the trap of “Holiday Thinking.” Special occasions come and go, but good health stays with you forever.” -Unknown