Reinventing Yourself Through the Holidays With A Health Revolucion!
As the holidays roll out this year so will a wide selection of all sorts of unhealthy drinks and foods. It can be tricky to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle with the parties, the stress, and that oh so tempting holiday food. The holidays should be a time of laughter, love and reconnection with family and friends, not stress over eating things in portions that we know will give us the gift that no one wants in the form of extra pounds.
The way to avoid the pitfalls of that unwanted gift is to eat healthier and lighter all the time as part of a lifestyle change, not a just a sometimes diet that you go on and off of at will. We know it can be tough at times but here are some tips from Lizzy Machacek, who founded San Antonio's fitness studio, Reinvent Yourself, to help you persevere!!
Bring Healthy Munchies With You
The numero uno absolute best way to avoid eating unhealthy on the holidays, is to bring your own food!! A delicious salad with baby spinach/kale mix, toasted pecans, Valencia oranges peeled and cut into thin round slices, Daiya crumbles, a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt topped with raspberry vinaigrette and you are in business for the first course!! If you want to take more dishes then go for it with veggie loaded side or two and a healthier version of a dessert, think chai spiced pumpkin pie squares with coconut flour and coconut nectar on a date crumble crust oh yum, it will not only keep you from straying to the wrong end of the table but it will also encourage others to eat a little healthier too. People are usually pretty receptive to healthier food choices however many times simply don’t have the option to be able to choose. So, I say provide them with that option!! Who knows, you could get rave reviews and start a new healthier food tradition too!!
Hydration is always important but it’s the holidays so make it extra fun by whipping up a batch of Lemon/Basil/Cucumber Water the night before to take with you. It will likely be a super hit with everyone and add a happy, healthy touch.
To make it you’ll need: (Gallon size pitcher or larger, 2 to 3 lemons, limes or both thinly sliced, 1 cucumber thinly sliced and10 to 15 basil leaves. (Try for Organic/Sustainable on all Produce). Rinse lemons and cucumbers well and thinly slice all. Add lemons, cucumber, and mint to pitcher. Fill with filtered water and refrigerate a minimum 4 hours or overnight (the flavor will be stronger if you refrigerate overnight, but there will also be more good stuff in it too.) Transport it to your destination, unveil and watch the healthiness ensue!!
Juice It Up
So we all know that juicing is amazing. Period. Drinking a fresh pressed juice about an hour or so before you head out the door will help you feel nourished and much less ravenous of all the things at a holiday event revolving around food. Juice is like liquid will power to resist things that make your thighs grow just by looking at them so load up with a Mean Green or a Cucumber Pineapple Jalapeno from Revolucion and walk out the door with a health force field around you.
Hang with Healthy Buddies
A great source of support and encouragement can come from a friend who is also trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Discuss how the two of you are going to navigate the holiday food minefield beforehand and stay in touch via text or another IM to boost morale and hold each other accountable. (Setting limits with consequences has worked well for my clients in the past. For instance: Limit: ¼ small slice pecan pie – Consequence If Limit Is Broken: 75 Burpees per slice. Boom. At 500 calories a slice that’s how many Burpees it would take to burn that off of you anyway!!)
Navigate with Buffet Bar Like a Pro
Ok, now if it is a buffet style type setup then scope out the goodies as you schmooze and make a game plan as to what veggies you can load your plate up with first. Also take stock of whatever other smart choices look good.
After you have made your buffet table game plan and are committed to it, take a few deep breaths, read a few motivating texts from healthy friend and slowly make your approach. Grab the miniest plate available and start loading it up with veggies. You want your plate to be 80% veggie/fruit and the other 20% with the better choices available. (I would say just stay away from all of the sugary goodies that turn your body into fluffed up stuff but it’s the holidays and stressful enough so just take a small amount and enjoy it. This way you still get a treat and a taste of the yums plus emotionally feel like you are celebrating.Definitely practice portion control though with these treats as they are mostly empty calories that your body will store as fat. The veggies, fruits and other natural things aren’t on the same empty calorie count as your body knows how to process them properly and utilizes their nutrients and enzymes much more efficiently with nothing being wasted or stored as fat. So again, I would urge you to portion control those processed treats or you will have to walk around with a nasty food hangover the next day, that unwanted gift we talked about earlier and run the elevated risk of riding the holiday food addiction train right up until the last stop at New Year’s. Choo Choo. No. Just, no.
Through the use of positive self talk or inner dialogue, quietly of course because you don’t want your family to think you are completely crazy unless they already do in which case you can proceed at whatever volume you feel like, tell yourself you will make smarter food and beverage choices during the holidays a few times or more and then,… actually do it. You will feel empowered and so much better than if you gorged. You will also be able to maintain your fitness routine if you are out of town without feeling like you completely blew your diet and get back to it effortlessly when you get back home. The power of the mind and the thoughts you create is amazing. Tell yourself you can do something, and you will do it.
Being social and a certified chatterbox has many benefits and has always helped me to not eat as much during the holidays. (Probably much to the annoyance of some of my family members but hey, it’s family right?)
So my chatterbox theory is that if you are engaging people in conversation, you will have much less time to just randomly put food in your mouth. Talking also burns calories, approx. 40-50 per hour but hey we’ll take it, and gives your mouth and brain something to do besides stare down that pecan pie or randomly snack on snacky things. I highly recommend chatting it up with everyone and that way you are doubling up on awesome by not only connecting with family and friends, but also avoiding the trap of mindless eating and all the while burning a few calories along the way. (Oh, and make sure to keep your social butterfly wings as far away as you can get from the buffet table and other easy to reach goodies as well.)
Exercise and Family Games
Exercise has always been key for me during the holidays and even if I travel I will pack my lightest pair of running shoes, comfy leggings, a sports bra and a sporty top with an achievable workout plan and the mindset that I will do it no matter what comes up. (Don’t forget ear buds to rock out to while getting your fit on, gloves, 180 ear wraps, and whatever else you may need if you are traveling to colder climates.) You can also pack a football or a Frisbee and get the whole family out to enjoy some good old fashion running around too!! My parents loved planning activities and games for the entire family on the holidays and we were always outside doing something rambunctious and fun. It’s such a great mood booster, awesome calorie burner plus provides real bonding time on another level with everyone. Besides, the more activities that you do that don’t revolve around food the less time there will be to eat it and the easier it will be to not overindulge!!
Also know that you never have to starve yourself or feel hungry, just put better things in your body in smaller quantities to fill it up throughout the day instead of a giant meal of things it will have trouble utilizing all at one time. Focusing on the people, the moments or even the football game on TV and not on the food itself will get you one step closer to breaking the habit of overeating unhealthy foods.
Fight Tradition and Peer Pressure
Lastly, don’t ever feel like you have to eat something just because it’s tradition or someone presses you to do so. It’s your body and you say what goes. A polite response to people who push you to eat more or things you don’t want and ask you unfriendly questions about your food choices is all you really need to do. Ultimately, it’s your business what you eat and how you feel just as their food choices are their business as well. Some of my clients have had trouble with family members or friends not being supportive of their efforts to live a cleaner and healthier lifestyle and I always urge them to answer questions nicely then change the subject to something off food topic in that person’s interest realm. Emotions can run high and tempers hot during the holidays so stay cool with some iced Lemon/Basil/Cucumber Water and think about why you started your health and fitness journey, your goals and the path you are taking to get to them. After the day winds down and you have gotten through the holiday food trials, the autumn sun will be at the perfect place in the sky and you can coax everyone out for a beautiful Holiday stroll.
xo & Happy Holidays,