There have been a bunch of articles recently about how to “survive” the holidays when you’re trying to be healthy. They had tips like “amp up your exercise to burn the extra calories you consume” and “track your daily calories so you don’t overeat,” but I know that for me personally, neither one of those those would make the holidays very fun!
And isn’t “surviving” the holidays a sad way to approach the season? There are so many fun cookie exchanges, Christmas parties, and other things that only happen once a year, so wouldn’t it be so much better to focus more on enjoying the holidays, and less on surviving them?
My “strategy” for enjoying the holidays, if you can even call it that, is to eat and exercise like I normally do, with a couple extra treats mixed in.
1. Fill up on the healthy foods you love for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as much as possible. When I eat filling, healthy meals that I enjoy, I’m not as likely to overeat all of the other stuff. For me, it’s been things like…
2. Don’t deprive yourself! Enjoy the treats that are worth it to you, because Christmas only happens once a year and I’m definitely going to enjoy some treats with no guilt. I think letting go of food guilt is so important since guilt can lead to the endless cycle of undereating and then overeating.
3. Don’t eat treats that aren’t worth it to you. For example, a bag of festive red and green plain M&M’s or a cheesy dip isn’t all that exciting to me, so I’d pass on it. Don’t waste calories on treats that you don’t love. Save them for amazing treats, like chocolate peanut butter buckeyes or whatever you absolutely love.
4. Exercise like normal. When you make the choice to exercise, it can be a lot easier to make healthy food choices, too. I know that for me personally, I feel so much more like myself when I keep up with my normal running. And, doesn’t dessert always tastes better after a great workout?!
5. Lastly, don’t stress! Every day is a new day, so when you overeat or miss a workout, pick yourself back up the next day. I’ve already had a day where I ate way too much cookie dough (so good! so bad!) and snacked too much throughout the afternoon and then was really, really, really full by the end of the day. I started to beat myself up about it, but honestly, that doesn’t help at all! Instead, just recommit to eating mindfully and start fresh the next day. I have to remind myself that I feel the best when I exercise AND give my body lots of healthy food.
Here’s to a healthy, enjoyable holiday season!