The holiday season is upon us! Let’s enter it with a deep breath and a smile. It doesn’t have to be like past years, ridden with anxiety and guilt. Holidays can be healthy too, not something to fear or to cram that sweaty workout and detox in the day after Thanksgiving and January 2! Here is the secret…are you ready? The key is to listen to ones own intuition throughout the day about what makes your body feel good – you know, that still small voice inside of us? Okay, so that small voice gets drowned out at the ringing in of the holiday season. So how do we navigate through this with a fresh perspective?
I must admit, I’m a little high maintenance as far as my eating habits are concerned. Now don’t get me wrong – I do not DIET. Anything that begins with the letters D-I-E is not something I want to incorporate into my healthy living lifestyle. However, my body has talked to me a lot throughout the years. And after years of restricting calories, cutting out fats, cutting out carbs, juicing, and trying so many other things, I finally threw away the lists of restrictions and started eating foods that made my body and mind FEEL GOOD…I mean really feel good in the long term, not just for the 30 seconds it took to eat it. For me, this involves a gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO, vegan lifestyle – oh yeah, and throw in no corn, no soy and mostly organic whenever available, in an ideal world. And of course don’t forget that daily workout! One may think that all of these things would make me feel stressed, but on a normal day, it actually makes me feel WELL to eat like this. But the holidays are a totally different ballgame. One is surrounded by delicious eggnog drinks, chocolate peanut butter crunchy ball things, amazing smelling breads…what’s a girl to do??? Even if you’re not high-maintenance-ish like me, healthy eating during the holidays can still be a struggle for anyone!
So here are my ten top tips for the holidays that will transform your habits and most importantly your mindset, helping you stay in tune with your own body:
1. Meditate for 5 minutes a day, every morning. I once heard a yoga guru say follow the RPM method – Rise, Pee, Meditate. Even if you sit there and listen to your mind racing for five minutes, just DO IT. Eventually your mind will settle down which will allow you to get intouch with how your body is feeling. Start with 5 minutes.
2. Drink water and bring your own water bottle to the parties! Right before you leave drink a bottle full of water. In fact, I don’t go anywhere without my water bottle. Ever. Pretend it’s attached to you.
3. Bring your own dish to the party. The best thing you can do is bring something that is homemade and healthy according to your standards – it’s all about giving anyway so just do it!
4. Drink a Vegan Protein Shake before you go out! I usually always have one of my beloved vegan chocolate protein shakes prior to going to a party if I know there will not be any healthy food for me to munch on. This works like a charm.
5. Wear a HOT (or hottish) outfit! There is no better way to encourage yourself to eat well and consciously than to wear acute little number where you can actually see and feel your midline. Feeling good about how you look keeps the trend of eating well continuing!
6. Head to the fruit and veggie trays first at parties, especially if you’re hungry, make a beeline for the carrots.
7. Enjoy a glass of vino! Avoid those mysterious delicious looking alcoholic drinks filled with umpteen chemicals and loads of fat in them. Instead, sip a simple glass of red wine during the party. If you don’t drink alcohol, enjoy water with lemon and drink them in abundance.
8. Feel grateful! Food should not be a distraction for having a good time enjoying each other’s company. After all, communion with others, giving thanks and rejoicing is what the holidayseason is truly all about so feel grateful and even consider saying a silent thanks for all of the abundance!
9. Move your body! Every morning, or afternoon, or evening. Whenever your body moves best. Just take 10 minutes if that’s all you have and move. I prefer outdoors…even in snow, wind, rain, I’m out there. Hey, jogging in cold rain beats having my kids yell at me constantly. If you don’t feel like it, tell yourself to give it just 10 minutes, that’s it. I ALWAYS end up doing more. And feel great afterwards.
10. In the end, remember this most important lesson – You are worthy of self-acceptance. For some people, this concept is tougher to swallow than any food, but it’s the crux of all of our food and fitness anxieties. Even if you slipped and gorged yourself at that last party, you are worthy of self-acceptance. Once you truly know and accept this one phrase, your energy shifts and you will eat and move your body differently.
Changing our perspective about the holidays and healthy may not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. In the words of my most favorite warrior mommy authors, Glennon Doyle, “WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!” Now go and enjoy your turkey-less, gluten free, water-chugging (or something to that effect) Thanksgiving!
Related: Why You Should Never Feel Guilty About Food
7 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain During Thanksgiving
3 Ways to Reconnect with Your Body
Photo: elana’s pantry via Flickr; Lulu Lovering via Flickr