The year-end holiday season can be notoriously challenging if you’re trying to stick with a healthy lifestyle plan… but you can succeed while you enjoy yourself. The secret is to be prepared, and to slow things down despite the bustle and rush so you can tune into what’s really important: celebrating with family and friends and experiencing gratitude for what’s good in your life. Here are a few ways to do this:
1. Bring Your Own (Health-Supportive!) Dish. If you’re going to a holiday pot-luck or big family meal, bring something that’s healthful, festive and delicious. Think pomegranate-white bean dip; stuffed dates; or Mediterranean orange-olive salad (contact me for recipes, really!). You’ll know there’s food you can enjoy guilt-free, and you’ll share your healthy eating style with others.
2. Eat Strategically. You don’t want to sabotage yourself by overeating because you’re famished — skipping meals can often backfire. So while you may want to eat more lightly if you know you’re headed for a celebratory meal, stay fueled throughout the day. If you’re going out to dinner at a restaurant, take a look at the menu online ahead of time so you can strategize about what’s going to be good for you.
3. Savor the Flavors. Eating well is all about choice. You can eat just about anything you want: it’s a matter of quantity, frequency and quality, and whether the food serves your larger goals. So go ahead and taste those decadent holiday treats… just remember to slow down, take a bite or two mindfully so you truly enjoy the taste, and consider stopping after that, especially if you want to try others.
4. Keep Moving. It’s critical that you remain consistent with physical activity — whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, no matter how busy things get! Exercise is great for relieving the stress of the year-end rush, keeping our blood flowing and bodies strong, and, of course, burning the extra calories we consume. If you’re lucky enough to have time off, use it to get back to the gym or try that yoga class that interests you.
5. Find the Quiet. The holidays can stir up lots of emotions, everything can feel heightened, and your mind may race more than usual. So you don’t become overwhelmed (or when you do) give yourself the gift of at least 5 minutes a day to unplug, get still, and breathe deeply. Just shut your eyes and take a few deep inhales and exhales. Let your body relax so you can get present again. Take the time that you need to get centered, and you’ll find you’ll have more time to do what needs doing.
Special guest post by Bernadette Armiento of Shining Life Nutrition.
Bernadette Armiento, CHHC, is founder of Shining Life Nutrition. She is dedicated to inspiring and empowering busy midlife women who are overstressed, overweight and undersupported to feel great in their bodies, be easier on themselves, and learn to love their lives on their own terms. SLN is your one-stop resource for women who want to be healthy, vibrant, energetic, se*xy, and fit. You’ve still got a lot to accomplish…let’s get going! Contact Bernadette directly or 917.282.2623 for a consult by phone, in person, or Skype.