Surviving the holidays – strategies for staying healthy

In case you hadn’t counted, there are only 7 days left till Christmas. Shopping, office parties, neighbourhood parties, family dinners, more shopping, gift wrapping, book club, one more martini… many days left??

Not only are there not enough hours in the day, there are also way too many opportunities to kick all your healthy intentions to the curb. Who has the time or energy to go for a run when you’ve been out late every night and nibbling on gingerbread all afternoon? Before you know it, you end up with tight jeans and a sense of lost control.

It’s hard enough to stick to your healthy nutrition plan at the best of times but this time of year simply presents too many opportunities to over-indulge. It’s not too late to rein things in and make this year the year you really do stay on track. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the party circuit and enjoy the holidays without a shred of guilt.

1. Start each day with a big glass of water and lemon. This is an easy way to promote healthy liver function (think detox!), stimulate the digestive tract and alkalinize your body.

2. Actually keep drinking water all day long. Stay hydrated and flush out those toxins. Dehydration can contribute to fatigue and headaches, so keep your energy up by getting  8 glasses in every day.

3. No skipping meals. Especially before you go to a party. “Saving your calories” will only set you up for blood sugar swings, increased hunger and cravings which inevitably leads to poor food choices. Eat a good breakfast every day and nibble on your healthy snacks even before going to a party so you don’t find yourself making a mad dash to the buffet table as soon as you arrive. You can never go wrong with a green smoothie! :)

4. Watch the empty calories in all those drinks – alcohol, lattes, hot chocolate, hot cider – all full of sugar that gets deposited right into your fat stores. I’m not saying don’t have any; just keep an eye on how many calories you are drinking.

5. Make time for yourself – no one ever regrets making time to go to the gym or to a yoga class. Book it in your calendar at least 3-4 times/week and make it non-negotiable. Even a 30 minute jog can help clear your head and give you a sense of control. Consider it a gift to yourself.

6. Choose the holiday treats you really love and then really enjoy them. No looking back, no negative thoughts, no guilt…..just enjoy! An extra glass of wine or a couple of your favourite pecan shortbreads will not erase all your healthy habits. Next day, get right back on track and don’t give it another thought.

7. Eat until you’re no longer hungry but not until you’re full. They’re not the same thing. Research has shown that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register satiety. Feeling “stuffed” is more likely to make you feel sluggish and can lead to unnecessary weight gain.

The holidays only come around once a year so don’t be hard on yourself and give yourself permission to indulge a little. The key thing is to keep control so you feel good about yourself and start the new year off wearing your favourite skinny jeans.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Wishing you all peace, love and health in the new year!

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2 Responses to Surviving the holidays – strategies for staying healthy

  1. Gail Lockington says:

    Perfect timing-thanks for the reminders Lucia – and Merry Christmas!

  2. Lucia says:

    Hope they help Gail! Merry Christmas to you as well!

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