If you’re like me, you try to eat really really healthy before a major holiday. You break out all the “skinny me” dinner recipes, you start making salads for your workday lunches, you don’t drink for 4 (okay, 3) days, and you PROMISE yourself that you’ll get up for that 6:00 am class tomorrow.
Look, we all do it. I do it because I love to eat my grandma’s homemade goodies during the holiday season. I started saving the healthiest, low-calorie recipes and planned my workouts religiously back in September. I even considered a workout class on Thanksgiving day!
What can I say? It used to make me feel better that I was “saving” calories for these special occasions. But, after several years of calorie “saving” and missed workout classes I had to ask myself — what was I really accomplishing?
I found that the answer was: nothing. When December 28th rolled around I felt like myself physically (maybe just a tad softer) but mentally I was so exhausted. Then I would continue to guilt myself for guilting myself about food. I would draw up New Year’s resolutions to eat vegan, do WHOLE30, never drink again! I would immediately break this resolution because that wasn’t my lifestyle. It was a draining cycle that I could never escape. Until this year.
This year I made a commitment to have a plan when it comes to food. Whether it’s my daily “plan”, or a larger “holiday plan”, I made minor changes to keep myself accountable but not feel deprived. I started off by asking myself a few reflective questions during this time of year to ensure that the plan I’m creating respects my body and my brain.
“I made minor changes to keep myself accountable but not feel deprived.”
Consider the following…
- What is this kind of behavior doing to your body? Are you really “saving” calories when you restrict your eating?
- Will 1 or 2 workouts really create a calorie deficit that negates all of your eating?
- Will one “off-plan” meal actually have an impact on your overall physical health?
If you are working on a healthier version of yourself, and you want to stay committed to a healthy routine, consider some of these strategies and plans to keep up that lifestyle:
- What are your all-time favorite foods at these special gatherings? Whatever it is, can you allow yourself to have at least a small portion of it?
- What are you bringing to the holiday feast? If you normally bring wine (or cups – don’t lie!), consider contributing to the meal with a nutritious and delicious appetizer. Try this Roasted Garlic Artichoke Dip with fresh vegetables or this Vegan French Onion Dip with pretzels. That way you know there is at least one option for you.
- If you have a consistent workout routine in your life, maybe change it up by going to a different class or trying a new workout to help feel like you’ve made a change for the season. After all, variety is the spice of life!
These suggestions have really helped me this holiday season. I go into it with less stress and I trust that I will enter into 2020 without any food-related guilt. The funny thing is, I’ve found that I imbibe LESS when I trust myself and don’t set up the expectation that I’m going to gain a few pounds (and then make that a reality).
Whatever your healthy habits are for the holidays, don’t forget to take care of yourself and respect the needs of your body and mind. Remember that healthy living is a lifestyle and having a plan in place to maintain that lifestyle will help you stay on track during and after the holiday season.
We want to hear from you! Share how you keep up your healthy habit for the holidays in the comments below!
I’m just like you. My life can be hectic and cooking, cleaning and getting that workout in are sometimes the last thing on my mind. But, I’m here to share my tips and tricks on how to make adulting a little more enjoyable.