When you think about the holidays, what stresses you out the most? As if the travel, shopping, family dramas, parties and events don’t add enough stress, many of us stress about our health and potential weight gain.
So, what’s the secret to not stressing, gaining weight, and staying on track with your health goals?
Mindful, conscious indulgence in combination with self-care.
Yes, I said indulge.
The holidays are not a time for restriction. The more we freak out about the food, how many calories we eat, and all the things we “shouldn’t eat”, the more we crave certain foods.
Stress not only makes you feel crazy, but also has a huge impact on your digestion. Poor digestion can make you feel even worse, overeat, and make you more inclined to beat yourself up about it. Your hormones, your immune system, your neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and sleep are all created in your gut. So digestion is really the foundation for feeling good.
Below are my tips that combine how to eat to feel good but in a way that doesn’t stress you out more, make you bloated, zap your energy, and throw off your routine.
1. Eat what is going to make you feel good. For me, this is anything not from a box that I know was made with whole, real food ingredients. This means a green bean casserole from scratch rather than an old recipe from a can with fake onions on top, or my aunt’s pumpkin pie from scratch with real pumpkin and a buttery, flakey crust.
2. Keep your blood sugars stable and cravings away. Choose protein and healthy fats, then load up on veggies and finish off with what looks really good to you in a smaller portion.
3. Do not starve yourself in anticipation of a huge meal. Eat a good breakfast with eggs, veggies, and avocado. Have a protein rich lunch or smoothie.
4. Nothing is off limits. There are no “no’s” or “can’t haves” – everything is a choice. What’s your favorite food? Eat it, indulge in it, sit down, and savor every bite – until it’s almost liquid.
5. Decide what is non-negotiable. What will it take for you to feel good and satisfied at the end of the day? It might be a glass of wine or a slice of anything chocolate – decide ahead of time and you’re more likely to feel satisfied and less likely to have one glass of wine and say “might as well have five more!”
6. Take care of you by saying NO. Check in and ask yourself “how does my body feel right now?” If you’re feeling overwhelmed, figure out what you can stop doing that you’re doing too much of right now.
7. Keep your body calm, especially when you eat. The more relaxed you are, the better your digestion will be – this means chewing your food, sitting down, and eating slowly.
8. If you do enjoy too much sugar and alcohol, make sure you support your body with nutrients to help your body cope with the stress. Magnesium, Vitamin C, and a probiotic for your immune system (and hangover) can do wonders!
Don’t feel overloaded now with what to eat, how to eat, when to eat. Just pick out what the next easiest step is that you can take to feel really good in your body and go from there.
It’s okay to fall out of your routine, indulge and splurge a little and eat some foods you normally don’t eat . The key is avoid becoming victimized by your temptations. Don’t let it shame you, control you, or feel guilty about it. Just be the best version of you and know that you can maintain your weight, have energy, get good sleep, and feel good in your body throughout the holidays.
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