The 38 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are either your favorite 38 days of the whole year, or well, not your favorite 38 days. No matter how you feel about the holidays however, I think we can all agree it’s a hard time to stay committed to health and fitness goals. For example, when its 20 degrees outside I would much rather have about 10 bowls of macaroni and cheese followed by a sleeve of Christmas cookies, than a cold salad followed by a trip to gym (which involves scraping snow off my car). Do I actually eat 10 bowls of macaroni and cheese? Regrettably, of course not, but am I eating that cold salad? No way, José. I would much rather have some soup and go to a hot yoga class. The point is, you have to find what works for you, and this will probably change from season to season.
If we’re talking about things that derail our health goals, holiday parties would top the list. They are often stuffed to the brim with unhealthy indulgences and lots and lots of alcohol. Now don’t freak out! The last thing I want you to do is feel stressed or guilty about the food choices you’re making over the holidays. But if you’re getting to that point where you just aren’t feeling good anymore, listen up. I’ve listed below some of the best ways to combat holiday overindulgence and guilt.
1. First things first: Let go of that guilt. You ate an extra cookie and now you don’t feel so great about yourself. Well what’s done is done, and I bet it was a delicious cookie. Chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. Next time you’re faced with a difficult food choice, be mindful. Close your eyes if you can (even if just for a moment) and ask yourself how this treat will really make you feel, and if you really even want it. If the answer is yes, then go for it and savor each and every bite. If the answer is no, walk away.
2. Wake up 5 minutes early and start your day with some breathing and meditation. I know how cozy and warm your bed is, but all I’m asking for is 5 minutes and you don’t even have to move! Set your timer for 5 minutes and begin in a comfortable seated position with the 4-7-8 breath. After you have completed your 4 rounds, remain seated with your eyes closed. Rather than trying not to think, monitor your thoughts. Imagine your thoughts are clouds in the sky, and without judgment, watch as they pass by. If this is hard for you, try counting your breath instead.
3. Drink a warm glass of hot water and lemon. (I like to add some honey and fresh ginger to mine.) It’s not only comforting, but also great for your digestive system.
4. Eat simple foods like clear broth with vegetables, miso soup, or quinoa. Let your digestive system have a rest from all the alcohol and processed foods you’ve been eating.
5. Take a hot bath with Epsom salt. Sprinkle with some lavender essential oil as an added stress buster.
6. Exercise- try something new to make it fun! Great options are a hot yoga class, a spin class, boxing, or a class at your local gym you’ve wanted to try.
7. Eat your vegetables. Incorporate vegetables into every meal. For example, you could try a veggie omelet for breakfast, minestrone soup for lunch, and a grilled chicken breast with steamed asparagus for dinner.
8. Cut out sugar for a week. This one is a toughie so you’re going to have to be really committed, but the feeling you get is totally worth it.
9. Sit in a sauna or steam room if you have access to one. Sweating is really the only full proof way to get rid of toxins. Drink plenty of water to replace what you sweat out.
10. Get more sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to making poor food choices and overeating.
The holidays should be a time to enjoy yourself, so don’t give yourself a hard time if you have and extra glass of eggnog here and there.
What do you do to combat stress and overeating during the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!