I'm so happy to be sharing this guest post with you from Holistic Health Coach Caitlin Ball from teaspoon living!
The holiday season is upon us and though, there is so much to love about this season (the lights, the food, the gifts, the parties!), there also comes a lot of stress along with it. All the sugar, the events and parties, the alcohol, and the family gatherings can be a little overwhelming. And often, when we are overwhelmed and don't have a lot of time, the first thing we forget about is our healthy habits.
Sure enough, come January, we feel gross in our bodies and are tempted to go on a restrictive diet to get “back to normal”. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can feel good in our bodies all holiday season long, and start the New Year with fun resolutions that have to do with our passions and our desires, rather than a diet!
I’ve been on both sides of the holiday spectrum. A few years back, I was overwhelmed and overeating. But in most recent years, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep me feeling good all season long. Let me indulge you in my three secrets to enjoying the holidays without overindulging so you can kick off this season right!
When I know I’m going to have a big holiday meal at a certain point in the day, I make sure that my second meal is on the lighter side and filled with lots of veggies. When you have a big lunch, it’s easy to throw in the towel on your healthy eating for the whole day, but that doesn’t help anything. If you can just even out those bigger, more indulgent meals with a smaller, lighter meal, you will feel so much better the next day. And if you feel better and energetic the next day, you are much more likely to make better food choices…and have less need for an energy boost from sugar.
2. Pause before eating.
The holidays are filled with food temptations, no matter where you turn. The best way to keep the excess eating at bay is to simply pause before you put anything into your mouth. Ask yourself, “Do I actually want this or am I eating it because it’s here?” It’s so easy to unconsciously eat when there is so much food around, but unconsciously eating a cookie will not satisfy you, and is not necessary. I think that everyone should enjoy the holiday foods that are offered this time of year, but pick what you really want to eat. Don’t just eat to eat. If you see a store bought cookie that you wouldn’t even buy yourself, don’t eat it. Save yourself for a homemade cookie that you will absolutely love.
3. Take care of yourself.
The holidays are about giving, but you have to also give to yourself. Be sure to take time out of your day to check in with yourself and your needs. There won’t be as much time for your normal workout routine, but make the most of your short bursts of time by taking the stairs or walking home from work instead of taking the bus. Plan a time to make two big batches of soup that you can freeze for when you need them, so you know you will get in some homemade nutrients this month. Taking care of yourself might also mean having to skip a party so you can simply take a bath and go to bed early. Or it might mean buying yourself a present when you are out shopping for others. Don’t feel bad about taking time for yourself this month. If you take care of yourself, you will be a better person to those around you and everyone will be happier because of it.
Easy right? I know you can handle those three things. And if you have a bad day, start again the next day, don’t give up on the whole month. Have fun at the parties, celebrate the memories of the year, and enjoy each and every bite of your favorite holiday foods!
Caitlin is a holistic health coach and food blogger, helping women repair their relationship with food by getting rid of the diet mentality while adding in delicious whole foods and excitement to their life. She can’t live without dark chocolate or red wine and doesn’t think anyone should have to! Join Caitlin and fellow women in the Real Food First Community for inspiration and motivation to live a naturally healthy and happy life, free of food restrictions. Visit her blog, teaspoon living, where she shares seasonal, healthy recipes and inspiration for a healthy life.