First take a good look at yourself in the mirror. I mean, really look at yourself in the mirror. I know there are about 100 things you can pick apart about yourself. This holiday season I want you to start telling yourself what you like before you give yourself a criticism. “You killed that presentation today” “You are a really good friend”.. etc. You cannot compliment yourself about clothes, hair, shoes, makeup, or anything superficial. You have to compliment something worthwhile about yourself.
Now let’s take a good look at your relationship with food. Are you the person that wont eat a meal if it’s over 300 calories, if you have a cookie you need to get to the gym ASAP, you stare at that scale every morning and pick apart the one pound increase- salt? Water? Bloat? Fat?
If you miss a work out are you freaking out you’re losing your gains and you cannot rest for even a day.
To start this you have to get your mental health right. For those that obsess I tell them a few things:
1. one pound of fat is 3,500 calories. So remember that when you are freaking out over a number on the scale or when you’re eating a meal. Did you truly ingest 3,500 calories? No? Then let’s relax.
2. Your body needs rest to recover. Make sure to give your body one to two days of rest so that it can keep building the muscle you are training for. Also, giving yourself a rest and just going for a walk can be the best thing your mind needs.
3. Starving yourself won’t get you anywhere and it’s contributing to how horrible you’re feeling. Enjoy nutrient dense foods so you don’t feel guilty about what you’re eating. The whole good and bad food thing is a no-no in the nutrition world but there are BETTER foods that I would recommend filling your plate with
4. Now is not the time to start a fad diet. Fad diets are almost all of the same diets just recycled. Atkins, paleo, and keto look awfully similar…
5. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and depriving yourself of that just because you’re scared of a cookie says more about where you are with your health journey than it does about your food journal. Take some time to check yourself about where you are mentally with your body. If you are in this obsessive cycle go talk to someone who can help you lay all of this aside so you don’t have to be a slave to food.
Now, if none of this is you then let’s get to the good stuff for day one! I want you to keep a food journal. You can use the myfitness pal app, you can just a physical journal. But the most important thing is writing down everything you eat. Most of the time this can help with you realizing just how many of those cookies you are putting into your mouth. The other side of this is that you are able to see the great foods you are putting on your plate.
Track your foods through out the holidays so you know when you may have gone a little overboard and when you kept to your goals!
Nutrient Dense Foods is the Name of the Game
How do you counteract all of those delicious cookies? Why fruits and vegetables of course! I recommend getting a combined nine servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts daily. That may seem like quite a task (trust me I don’t always get all of those myself!), but all of that green goodness will have your body turning into a burning machine! The vitamins and minerals you get from plants is different than what you get from animal products. This is not a vegan brainwashing moment, this is just good nutrition advice.
The more fruits and vegetables you eat the more antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and immune boosters you put into your body. Who doesn’t want to be healthy in the winter time? My favorite part about eating so many nutrient rich foods is that when I do decide to indulge I know I have put the right foods in my body to be able to handle breaking down those sweets and fats I enjoy just on the holidays.
So, the big question, how on earth does a day of eating plants look? I’m so glad you asked!
Here is what I like to eat in a regular day:
Oatmeal with goji berries, bananas, walnuts, and flaxseeds
Smoothie bowl with blueberries, kale, banana, flaxseeds, amla, powder, maple syrup, one scoop of peanut butter, and almond milk.
Large salad with nuts, beans, and vinaigrette
Mixed veggie bowl: Could be a veggie fajita bowl, with rice, beans, peppers, pico de gallo, and guacamole
Veggie sandwich (but no chips) with a side of fruit
Chickpea pasta with sundried tomato pesto, crushed kale, and mushrooms
Veggie enchiladas with an avocado cream sauce
Veggie budha bowls (you can make your own and mix and match veggies and sauces!)
Bowl of berries
To really get your day to be optimal avoid sodas, sweets, fat foods like chips, ice cream, dairy, and eggs
Prioritize your desserts.
Let’s face it you are surrounded by cookies, chocolate, cakes, pies, cupcakes, truffles, fudge, and ice cream until January 1st. I know that we must indulge in some of these delightful things, but let’s not go crazy and eat all of them.
Prioritize when you are going to indulge and stick with your plan. If you know you are going to a party plan your foods in advance. Eat the healthiest you possibly can before your party so if you have a piece of pie, cake, or a few cookies then it’s not a big deal.
Do the same thing for your Christmas eve dinner and Christmas dinner as well. It’s important that desserts aren’t an every day occurrence. When the sweets become a daily habit then you can be giving yourself an additional 250 to 300 (minimum) calories daily- remember the whole 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. If you do this for eleven days you can truly gain weight. You want to make sure that you are enjoying the holidays and minimally indulging without going overboard.
This is definitely a time to be merry and bright but don’t get too lit! Alcohol can contribute to good times, bad times, and weight gain. During the holidays there are more events to go to and more dinners to be had. With that in mind e wary of how much alcohol you are drinking because you may be packing away pounds without even realizing it.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from enjoying in the merriment so here are some tips on what to drink:
3. Clear tequila
4. Pinot Noir
Rotate between one glass of alcohol and a glass of sparkling water so that way you aren’t just downing glass after glass. This will also help control how much you are drinking so that tipsy feeling doesn’t sneak up on you too quickly.
It’s important to stick to your normal fitness routine. If you love spin classes keep up those spin classes. If you love weight lifting, bring it on. I know it can be difficult to continue your work out routine during the holidays with family around, but bring your family with you! My mom does spin classes with me and she will go on a walk with me when I take my dog. If you can’t make it to a class find a short little work out to do from youtube. You can also just simply go for a walk outside or play with your nieces, nephews, and small cousins.
I have a sweet little niece who is 40 lbs, and playing with her is a much better work out then any class at the gym I have attended. She NEVER stops playing! She is the fitness gift that keeps on giving.
Make little swaps
I recommend making these little switches to cut down on excessive saturated fat and calories:
Choose vegan butter over real butter
Choose low sodium vegetable broth over vegetable oils
Choose coconut sugar over refined sugar
Choose maple syrup over refined sugar
Seasonal and frozen veggies over imported
Steel cut oats over sugary packaged oatmeal
Homemade smoothies over bought
Sweet potatoes over rustic potatoes
Tofu over animal meat
Fruit over chips and crackers
Hummus over dairy dips
Veggie medleys over chips and dips
Indulge in my Healthy Hot Cocoa
I feel like hot cocoa is a must during these chillier months. I like to make my own hot cocoa so I can control the sugar and everything else that goes into it. I love to add turmeric to my hot cocoa to get an extra boost of antioxidants. Here is my recipe!
2 tbsp of cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tsp of turmeric or matcha (optional)
1 ½ cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2-3 tbsp of maple syrup
Heat the almond milk in a pot for about one to two minutes. Then add in the cocoa powder and whisk until the almond milk becomes chocolaty. Then add in the turmeric and maple syrup and whisk for another minute. Then pour into a mug and enjoy!
Drink Plenty of Water
When you are feeling hungry you may actually be thirsty, especially if you are someone that doesn’t focus on fluids through out the day. To help with making sure you don’t overeat at your holidays events make sure you are drinking enough water. I recommend a minimum of 70 oz a day, but if you can get over 90 oz you are sitting pretty!
Added bonuses of drinking plenty of water is reduced hang over, clearer skin, flushes out toxins, boosts the immune system, prevents headaches, maintain body temperature (great if you are in a cold climate!) improves heart health, and can improve mood.
Detox After a Day of Sweets
When you do indulge in those sweets you can set yourself up to detox the next day. A simple preparation the night before can make all the difference in the morning. I’m talking about making chia pudding ahead of time.
Just mix 1/4 cup of chia seeds to one cup of almond milk or soymilk. Stir and put in the fridge for 10 minutes and stir again. Then leave it overnight and in the morning eat it with blueberries or mixed fruit. The chia seeds help to remove toxins from your body and scrape away any toxins in the digestive tract as well.
Eating this in the morning will give you a great start to your day.
Wear Your Best Dress
If you go out in your best formfitting dress you are less likely to over indulge in food because it would obviously show with what you are wearing…. Food baby anyone? Where something form fitting when you go to Christmas dinner so that you are sure not to eat too much. I also recommend doing this for any holiday party that you are attending because it will have the same effect.
Don’t Skip Meals
If you skip meals you put yourself into a mindset where you think that you didn’t eat those calories earlier so you can have more later. What truly ends up happening is that you eat more calories than you would have at breakfast or lunch and you over eat. Eat your regularly scheduled meals in a normal proportion so that you don’t over eat later.
Don’t Go Back
Most holiday dinners are buffet style so you can just keep on piling food onto your plate. Decide you are going to have one plate and fill your plate with what you really want. Finish your plate and don’t go back for seconds. When you decide to go for dessert make a plate of small amounts of dessert and then just have that one plate.
Bring a Dish
If you are worried about what foods will be available during the holidays then make a healthy dish and bring it with you. You are guaranteed to eat something healthy and you are contributing to those that may also e conscious of what they are eating during the holidays.
Day 14 Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep helps to regulate the hormones that tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full. When you don’t have enough sleep you may find yourself stuffing your face a whole lot more often. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep during the holidays. Take the opportunity to find time for a nap and don’t spend all hours of the night out.
Give Yourself a Gift
This may seem like a bizarre recommendation but make sure to take time for yourself. Whether you need to go for a drive to relax, watch your favorite holiday movie, get a massage, or buy that one present you know that no one will get you.. just do it. Getting through the holidays in one piece can also be a mental task and making sure you take time for yourself can make all of the difference