This is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather change, the football, the family time and the coziness that accompanies the holidays. The sweet scents of Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas tree, the Macy’s Day parade – just everything… I love it – I always have.
A few things that come along with the holidays are: homecooked meals, sweets and treats, maybe more alcohol indulgence and a lot of time visiting and sitting with family. It becomes an easy time to hibernate and neglect the effort you have put in towards your health and wellness all year. How do you navigate the holidays with your health in mind so you’re not starting over again when the new year hits?
Here are a few ways I like to navigate the holidays while keeping my health in mind:
- Mindfulness and awareness – I find that if I am distracted by the television, visiting, playing games or just caught up in the joy of the season, I am more likely to mindlessly eat. Being aware of this is the first step. The second step is to acknowledge if I am reaching for the muddy buddies because I’m hungry or because they’re there. When I stop and ask myself this question, it gives me a moment to pause and tune into my body. Most of the time, I am reaching for the food/drink because I am caught up in the joy and fun of my surroundings. Being mindful and aware of your hunger cues and triggers for overindulging is essential for maintaining your focus and efforts towards a healthier version of you. What triggers you to keep reaching for the food and drink? Endless talking? Family stress? Personal insecurities? Recognize this, pause in the moment and make the best choice for you and your health.
- A bit of bargaining – I enjoy sweet treats and I enjoy a nice glass of wine. When it comes to the holidays, in order for me to stay on track towards my health and wellness, I find myself bargaining. I’ll have that piece of pie, but I won’t have a glass of wine. I’ll have that homecooked roll, but I won’t have any green bean casserole. I’ll have that salad so I can indulge in a dessert. I find myself picking and choosing so I can stay energized, focused and present with my family and friends.
- Continued Effort – In the past, I have used this time of year as an excuse to not move my body or choose healthy options for myself. However, within the past 10 years, I have recognized that if I continue my effort towards staying active and choosing healthier options for me, it is much easier to stay on track or to get back on track if I have a slight indulgence or deviation. When I get in a morning workout, I set myself up for a great day; why wouldn’t I do something that helps me feel good and that I love on one of my favorite days or during my favorite time of year? Pursue that good feeling every day of the year.
- Grace – This is the biggest thing for me, giving myself grace when I do indulge. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I do not live a life of restriction. If I restrict myself, I will then crave and indulge. I give myself grace when I have a second glass of wine. I give myself grace when I choose to eat a bigger piece of pie. I give myself grace if I go back for one of my mom’s home-cooked rolls. I give myself grace because I know that this one day of enjoying myself, my family and the food will not completely derail all the hard work I have put in all year. I give myself grace because I know I will be right back to my usual routine the next day. I give myself grace because I know this is not going to start a downward spiral of daily indulgences because I have created a habit of a healthy lifestyle. I give myself grace because I deserve it.
You can navigate AND enjoy the holidays with your health in mind. Just because the holidays are approaching does not mean that you can’t stay active or you can’t eat the salad – stay on track. Don’t succumb to pressure or family stress. Keep pursuing your goals and dreams of a healthier version of you. If anyone gets in your way or gives you grief, throw a pie in their face. (Disclaimer: Fit Together is not responsible for any outcomes of you throwing pies at people.) 🙂