Hi friend! With holiday season slowly starting (here in Canada anyway) and all the awesome parties and events filling up our calendars it’s easy to get to January 1st feeling a little run down, achey, and exhausted. What I thought I would do to help you get through this holiday season as in tact as possible is share 6 of my favourite survival tips.
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you need to throw away all the habits that make you feel great, physically and mentally!
With that in mind, lets check it out!
1. Indulge Mindfully
One of the keys to my practice when working with clients is to get them to recognize the connections between what they put in their mouths and how they look and feel on a daily basis. This practice roughly translates to conscious eating and can be applied to any situation during which you’ll be faces with treats and temptations.
I want to be clear that I am NOT telling you to ignore all the offerings at holiday parties. What I am suggesting is that instead of parking yourself in front of the sweets table (anyone else been there before?) you do a once over of everything that’s up for grabs before picking up your plate/napkin and picking your favourites, the dishes you just have to try.
Maybe you do end up eating some of everything (this is why I always wear empire waist dresses to events hehe), but the important thing is that you stop and think about the food before you put it in your mouth. Try to make sure that you’re really truly enjoying every mouthful and aren’t just mindlessly stuffing your face because you’re nervous about making small talk or bored or anxious about all the errands you have to run.
Indulge, but do it mindfully so that there is no guilt or shame attached to it. Just eat the things you want to eat, because you want to eat them, without thinking about how “bad” they are or how you have to “work them off later.” This is really one of the biggest keys to success. Taking the guilt away from food, because that ruminating and those emotions can cause more damage (physiologically and mentally) than just eating the damn treats and snacks in the first place. And if you do have some days where you just snack away because it’s comforting, that’s also no reason to beat yourself up. Just enjoy it for what it was and move on.
2. Find Your Non-Negotiables
This tip is a big one for me. I’ve spent the last few years getting to know my body and what I can and cannot handle. My non-negotiables are anything with gluten and a limited amount of dairy mostly in the form of delicious fancy cheeses. Ice cream and eggnog are off limits unless I want to look and feel like I’m smuggling a basketball under my dress, which is not the sexy holiday look of the season unfortunately.
So what I would like you to do is figure out a couple things you know really wreak havoc on your body and avoid those specific things, but give yourself leeway to indulge in those things you know aren’t going to give you an epic food hangover. Yes food hangovers are real and they are friggen terrible.
3. Eat Before the Party
This tip seems fairly straightforward but you might be surprised how much this one little act can make a big difference on how much and on what you end up indulging. Think about the last time you went to the grocery store hungry… did those cookies somehow sneak into your cart? Or if you’re me, did you end up buying your all-time favourite brand of chippies and eating them on the car ride home?
The same concept applies to holiday parties! If you eat a really delicious and filling dinner before you go (say like these ones here or here), you’ll be much more able to indulge mindfully because you’re not a ravenous beast with sugar blinders on. At least if you eat a whack of veggies, yummy proteins, and healthy fats before you go, you’ll have gotten some splendid nutrients into your body before you indulge and your blood sugar will be less likely to spike and crash, leaving you an inflamed, cranky, bloated monster.
4. Follow My Hangover Guide
I’m not the kind of nutritionist who is going to tell you to be a teetotaler this holiday season and move on because frankly that’s just unrealistic and unhelpful. What I will do is provide you with all the sweet nutrients and tips to help you at least avoid the epic post-party hangover.
5. Drink Smoothies & Juices Between Events
Oftentimes at these parties there are very few veggies and fruits consumed, unless they’re baked into some sort of cheese or covered in chocolate (YUM), so we can end up missing out on some key micronutrients needed to keep our holiday glow radiating from the inside out.
So what’s a person to do? Load up on juices and smoothies between events of course! The power of a green smoothie to boost your micronutrient and antioxidant intake is unparalleled (well probably not, but you know what I mean). I’ve been enjoying a super simple one lately:
- 1 handful parsley
- 1 handful baby kale
- 1 handful spinach
- 2 inches cucumber
- ½ banana
- 1 apple
- 3 tbsp. hemp hearts
- ½ inch fresh ginger (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup ice
Blend and enjoy!
I also have a ton of other recipes on the blog that you can find here.
6. Maintain Balanced Blood Sugar
You may have noticed a running theme throughout this post. Any guesses? It’s in the title of this tip… that’s right: it’s our blood sugar. I think the main issue that is at the root of our lack of energy, cravings, headaches, and overall bleh feeling is the constant fluctuations in blood sugar, the output of insulin followed by the surge of cortisol as our sugars drop super low again, followed by more sugary treats, keeping us forever in a cycle of up and down energy, stress hormone output, and food cravings.
You can read a bit more about blood sugar balance here, but suffice it to say that keeping our sugars in check can go a long way to mitigating the some common holiday issues such as:
- Water retention
- Puffy eyes, faces, and fingers
- Breakouts and acne
- Angry red skin
- Energy imbalances
A great way to avoid these peaks and valleys in our blood sugar and the shit storm that comes along with them is to make sure we’re balancing our sugary snacks with healthy fats and proteins. This may mean that you include some protein and fat in your buffet plate along with the sweet treats. Or maybe it means eating before you go. The
Remember, the holiday season is not about restricting yourself, beating yourself up over your food choices, or becoming an anti-social recluse to avoid temptation. The reason I love Christmas so much is that I get to connect with family and friends I only get to see a couple of times a year. The holidays are about community and friendship and making merry, so do the best you can, with what you have, where you are. And remember to enjoy every moment.
Well that’s all for today friend. If you’re looking for some support and inspiration, make sure you download my FREE Anti-Inflammatory Meal plan and Shopping List. Happiest of holidays!!