You can have a healthy holiday season! I love to indulge over Christmas – there is just so much good stuff to try! But I also love knowing that my New Year’s Day isn’t going to be filled with regret and too-tight skinny jeans. This holiday season I am striving for balance. Balancing cookies with smoothies; nights on the couch with hot yoga or massive walking sessions with my sister; and long ‘to do’ lists with periods of stillness.
Let’s all have a happy, healthy holiday this Christmas 2014 and get 2015 off to a nourished start!
Keep it healthy when you can: FOOD! Glorious FOOD! It is everywhere at this time of year, and you just know that I love me cookies of all kinds, candy canes, whipped cream on pretty much everything, and big scoops of ice cream to help beat the heat. From the office to the shopping centre to parties and everywhere in between this time of year is all about the food. I am okay with that. When I can though I keep it super healthy: yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinners when we are at home, and minimal snacking. That way when I do indulge I can enjoy it and know that I am going to be back on track at the next meal.
Make it about something other than food: I know what I just said above, but sometimes all the FOOD gets to me and I need to remember that there are so many other things to enjoy about this season: time with family, visiting people’s Christmas displays, more time for reading, seeing friends – there are so many other things to focus on other than the food. Put in some quality time with the ones you love and leave the cookies alone for a while if you need to.
Let yourself indulge: When you do indulge, absolve yourself of guilt. Don’t even let it in the door. The best way to ruin a Christmas get together with friends and family is to worry about how many calories you are going to eat, and how you are going to burn them off. Trust me – I’ve been there, and worrying about food is the best way to trigger a binge and suck all the fun out of the indulgence of the season. Take a deep breath. Let yourself enjoy the yummy things your friends and family have created to enjoy with you. Eat your favourites, try something new and delicious, and rest assured that you can indulge without getting off the rails.
Get a Quick Fix: I love long walks on the beach while I’m away, but I also need to work up a bigger sweat sometimes in between cookie, wine, or cheese consumption. HIIT is the perfect answer for holiday workouts that really deliver results. For an at-home workout I write down a list of 10 exercises – a mix of weighted exercises (like squats with shoulder press) and cardio (skipping or step-ups onto a sturdy chair) and then run through it for 15 minutes without stopping. Rest for a minute and repeat. 30 minutes later I am sweaty and happy!
Try something new! I love trying out new types of exercise with my sister. We are both totally uncoordinated and willing to laugh at ourselves (and each other) so working up a sweat becomes a laughing session as well – it must burn some extra calories! We just finished up a free trial of some gym classes and this summer we are going to work on our balance with some hot yoga classes. Hilarity shall ensue. Find a friend, find a class that you haven’t tried and work up a seasonal sweat! You’ll be ahead of the game when the new year comes around – and you might have just found an exercise buddy to keep you motivated well after January 31st.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself: I am the queen of stress, the empress of loading myself down with way too many things to accomplish. I have learned (with a lot of help from Chris) that I need to check in with myself and ask myself whether all the things on my ‘to do’ list are necessary. Will people be disappointed because I only baked cupcakes and didn’t get time to do the cookies? Or am I better off making the cupcakes and enjoying myself, and leaving time to watch ‘West Wing’ with Chris? I’m learning that I cannot do it all, and that’s okay. So take a red pen to that ‘To Do’ list and cross out the overload.
Take some time to breathe: Further to my point above – take some time out of the shopping, baking, wrapping, visiting – and just spend some time on yourself! Find the quiet corner of a cafe, order a seasonal beverage and let yourself get lost in a book; schedule a massage and let the therapist work out the seasonal tension from your body; line up your favourite snacks along the side of the couch, make yourself a cup of tea, pop in a Christmas movie, and settle in for the slow down; pop in your headphones, turn up the Mariah Christmas album (you have it, everyone does) and walk until you have zoned out. Just find an activity that makes you feel nourished inside, away from the hustle and bustle and unnecessary pressure.
Take time to enjoy the moment: The most important part of the season is family and friends. Stop, look around, and realise how many hearts touch yours and how many people you have to be grateful for in your life. Be in the moment with those loved ones, and carry that gratitude in your heart all year long.
Okay folks, these are my tips for a healthy Thoroughly Nourished Life holiday season! What are your tips for staying healthy and happy over the festive season?