Keeping Happy through the Holidays and Beyond…
Holidays are some of the most memorable times of our lives and for many, their favorite time of the year. Families gather, friends get to together, associates mingle and as we all know food of all kinds is in abundance: Meats, vegetables, salads, casseroles, dips, platters and spreads of all kinds, cookies, cakes, pies, chocolates, nutrolls, candies and more. The abundance is indeed a blessing, in fact, that’s part of why we celebrate is it not?
For many, the holidays also bring with it indulgence. Habits of routine exercise can and many times do fall to the wayside, water intake is replaced to some degree with flavored mixtures, juices, eggnogs, hot chocolates, ciders, both ‘fake’ wine, real wine and other drinks.
People are busy working, taking care of their kids, job responsibilities and everything that kept them more than busy prior the the holiday(s), but now they must squeeze in time to locate a Christmas tree, put up their decorative lights, decorations, send cards, shop for loved ones and friends, as well as shop, prep and cook for the holiday(s). Busy time indeed.
As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, it’s at these times, any time of high stress or overwhelm, when people’s defenses go down. Awareness of surroundings, time and day all become rather challenging as responsibilities blur one into another often leaving one feeling tired, taggered, and perhaps, a bit annoyed due to the stress build-up.
This is when self-control and discipline can and often does take a backseat as the person goes into ‘survival’ mode, just happy to get through the day. Eating, for many becomes a coping mechanism, ‘stress eating’, picking at foods here and there and nibbling at less than nutritious food choices… soon become the norm as regular meals take too much time and effort. This my friends, is the beginning of what many fear and call ‘the holiday weight gain’.
Many come out of the holiday season several pounds heavier, having an idea of what happened but are still both surprised and disappointed it ‘happened’.
Kiss holiday regret good-bye because I’ve put together this Holiday Survival Guide for you. Followed, it will give you direction and a do-able plan to come out happier than before the holidays, ready to move on with your New Year feeling like you’re already ahead of the game because you were simply able to control the outcome of the holiday season. Congratulations!
Having conquered, you are now in the position to take your time, energy, resources and put them into your next big goal instead of spending time wallowing in regret, and working day in and day out to reverse the holiday weight gain.
People are starting to catch on to the value of a Meal Plan, especially during the holidays. Meal plans keep one on track, allowing them to both nourish themselves properly during stressful times and have the energy to meet the demands of their schedules. A Meal Plan will pay for itself many times over.
Let’s go into strategy now, shall we?
- Keep life simple
- Stay well-hydrated
- Plan on 8 hours of sleep a night, it pays off
- Ditto your daily exercise, even if it’s in 10 minute intervals throughout the day
- Bundle up: Save yourself the hassle of becoming ill, wash hands often, extra Vit. C
- Buckle up: Sure you know this, but people can forget when you’re running full bore
- Keep your meal plan, exercise, water and sleep routine despite life circumstances and you will be a better person for it, handle stress much better and get more done
- Simple, nutritious foods, easily prepped
- Keep sugary treats, etc, out of the home
- Neighbors who share their love and appreciation for you by bringing you treats can be enjoyed, just stick to a bit or two. If you have no control then you’re better of throwing them away, yes, you heard me right.
- Keep eggnog, ciders, hot chocolates out of the home until the holiday and then opt for either healthier versions such as Califia Farms NOG MILK, Perrier natural mineral water (‘sparkling’, lime or lemon flavored), or even better….lemon water and herbal teas. If someone likes hot chocolate, have it available then pack it away for the next year, it keeps well.
- Bring your own pre-planned (Meal Plan) meals with you, be sure they are healthy, stored properly and nutritious
- Steer clear of candy dishes, spreads, etc., not that you can never have any, you’re simply choosing to save a ‘treat’ for the holiday itself, if you even still desire one then
- If asked or wanting to bring a treat or dish to work or a work party, prepare something like kale salad, etc.
- Drink plenty of pure water throughout the day. My athletes/clients often drink at least one gallon daily
- Stay focused on your responsibilities
- Plan on controlling your environment before you ever even arrive, your desk, etc.
- Visualize yourself handling stress like a Pro
- Start the day with a cleansing drink
- Drink plenty of pure water throughout the day
- Eat a healthy breakfast: eggs, fresh vegetables or if you trained, some oatmeal with fresh fruit and protein milk
- Continue the day with healthy meals/snack up until the time you leave
- Prepare a healthy dish to take with you and share
- Once at the occasion, chat with people away from the snacks, and nibbles
- Sip on water or herbal tea, etc.
- Use a small plate to get something to eat
- Choose the healthiest choices and get a taste of other items you would like to try, these should be the ones you really want to taste, savor that bite and know more is not better
- Sit next to another health conscious eater
- Eat slowly
- Enjoy conversation
- Be mindful of what you’ve eaten
- If dessert or a treat is desired: take just enough to enjoy the flavor and taste. Remember: little things add up
- When finished eating, have a mint to signify you are through and give a cleansing feeling to the palate
HEALTHY DISHES FOR HOME/WORK/GET TOGETHERS
- Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes
- Sweet potato fries instead of sweet potatoes casseroles loaded with butter and sugar
- Vegetable trays with salsa or hummus are always appealing to the eye and appetite
- Shrimp cocktail is a simple dish, ready-made
- A zucchini noodle dish instead of pasta
- A butternut squash dish
- Baked apples instead of apple pie
SWAPS OR REPLACEMENTS FOR VARIOUS DISHES
- Make your own stuffing and add fresh celery, carrots, water chestnuts….
- Light meat instead of dark (Dark has much higher fat and nearly twice as many calories)
- Roasted sweet potatoes instead of candied sweet potatoes
- If making a gravy opt for low-fat version
- Fresh green beans instead of a buttery casserole
- Whole grain bread, rolls or pasta instead of white
- Pumpkin pie is lower in calories and more wholesome than pecan pie
- Fat-free Cool-whip instead of full fat canned whipped topping
POST HOLIDAY SEASON
- Continue with 8 hours of sleep nightly
- Water intake
- Exercise routine
- Meal Planning, prep and tote
- Monitor your home for any items that do not belong, temptations, etc., and discard
- Continue with stress and energy management
- Enjoy executing your plans towards your goals for 2019!!!
I’m sure each of you knows at least a few people who could use help/guidance with their health and fitness goals. I can help them. Please, give them my contact information and in return you’ll receive a free STATS. Meal Plans, Training Programs, Assessments, Lifestyle Fitness Coaching, Natural Health Consults and more. I have more than 35 years experience and my athletes/clients get positive, lasting results.
I value and appreciate you, your friendship and desire the best for you and yours in the upcoming New Year. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season. Best, Jill