Tips for Staying on Track During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us. Tis’ the season for celebrations with friends and family.  I can’t tell you how many friends and clients have told me, “Omg, I overdid it on Thanksgiving, I need to get back to my routine. I ate and drank too much.”  Sound familiar?  Here’s the thing, keeping the motivation for your healthy diet and lifestyle can seem rather impossible when the holidays hit.  Especially when you are faced with plates and platters of breads, gooey cheeses, and sugary treats.  Oh and you can’t forget about the cocktails and wine.  Whether you are working towards a goal or have had to make diet and lifestyle changes because of a chronic health condition or food sensitivities, for many there is an anxiety that comes along with staying “on track” during the holiday season.

So this year, l encourage you to try something new.  Having the correct mindset prepared going into the holiday season can be a big help. I also invite you have your well-being in mind.  

I personally, I have had to make many changes in my diet and lifestyle because of health issues.  For a long time after my Lyme diagnosis, I was in denial, I would even go as far as to say I went through a grieving process. The thought that certain foods that I enjoyed made me feel crappy and that the cocktails and wine I so loved may not be the best for me, saddened me. There are things that my body just can’t tolerate anymore.  In time, I realized I had to let it go and figure out what worked for me. And you know what?  I did, and it’s all good.  I am not feeling left out or deprived of anything.  

Here are some self care tips and some ways in how I talk to myself and prepare for situations where I know I will  have to make choices I want avoid.

Calm your mind.  Meditation and conscious breathing calm our mind when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  When our mind and body are in balance, we make better decisions and dealing with overwhelming situations becomes, well, less overwhelming.

Breathe.  Just breathe. Whether it’s busy shopping malls or challenging family members, both can ramp your stress and anxiety levels.  Take a few deep breathes.  In through your nose and out through your mouth.  You can do this anytime, anywhere and as often as you need. 

Drink up.  There never seems to be a shortage of cocktails during the holidays.  It’s a festive time after all. With that, it can be easy to overdue it.  Drink more water.  And if green juices are your thing, keep it up. 

Get organized.  Take a look at your calendar, see what the month ahead looks like.  This is the season people tend to throw more parties, which makes more demands on your time.  Decide which parties you are going to attend and send regrets to those you are not. 

Rest.  It can be a crazy busy time of year.  Make sure you are getting enough downtime.  A short cat nap or perhaps just kicking back and closing your eyes and relax.  Just a little bit can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go. 

STOP. THINK. CHOOSE. Picture this…you are at the meal table and all of the food and treats are staring you in the face. Before you pop whatever it is in your mouth, ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” Get curious.  Do you want it? How is it going to make you feel?  Be mindful. And by all means I if you want it, go for it and enjoy.  No judgement.

Be prepared.  Either eat ahead of time or bring something.  I am thinking that there isn’t a host who wouldn’t appreciate you bringing a dish.  No one ever complained there was too much food at a holiday party!  Also, look for real food. There is likely to be something at any event that is a good choice to help you keep on track. 

Buddy up.  There is likely to be at least one friend who is attending the same party or event.  Have a chat beforehand and have her bring something to eat as well.

Maintain perspective.  A single day of getting off track is not going to completely derail you if you overindulge.  Put it behind you.  Don’t beat yourself up over it. LET IT GO.  Be present, live in the now and make a better choice next time.  You will see results as an accumulation of your habits, not as an after effect of one meal that wasn’t perfect.  Pull up your positive pants and dust yourself off and reboot the next day with a great breakfast. Move forward with a positive plan and attitude. 

Celebrate true meaning. Some of you may be like, “yeah right, sure,” but I want you to think about it.  Think about what the holidays truly mean to you. Try to give food less importance by focusing on what the holidays are really about.  Shift your focus.  Celebrating the season with friends and loved ones.

I encourage you to gather your thoughts and think about how you would like to feel this holiday season.

Peace and good health