7 Helpful, Healthy Strategies for the Holidays

Want to hear some great news?

The holidays do NOT have to mean stress-fueled emotional eating, gaining extra pounds, or feeling hungover and slightly nauseous for the last month of the year!

The Challenge

Starting in early October, it seems like every office function, neighborhood party, and family get-together revolves around food.

Healthy eating rules suddenly go out the window. People who lunch on salads the rest of the year suddenly start pushing trays full of Nutella fudge and cheese tartlets like they’re working on commission!

Combine that with the stress and hectic schedule of the holiday season, and it’s easy to fall into a cycle of overindulging, regret, and unwanted growth around your midsection. (Not to mention that fueling your body with challenging, inflammatory foods interferes with everything from your mood to your immune system…)

The Answer

The holidays do NOT have to mean stress-fueled emotional eating, gaining extra pounds, or feeling hungover and slightly nauseous for the last month of the year! It’s time for a happy, healthy holiday season.

Here are my top 7 strategies to help you navigate the holidays. (Don’t miss tip #6 – it’s a game-changer!)

1. Pay attention to breakfast. What you eat in the morning sets your metabolic tone for the rest of the day. Start off with a muffin and a venti skinny latte, and you automatically up your chances of a midday energy crash! (It’s a lot harder to resist frosted sugar cookies when you’re running on empty…)

Drink a protein shake within an hour of waking up, and you’ve got a head start on both resisting holiday munchies and fighting off that virus that’s going around.1-3

2. Move more. Getting exercise doesn’t just promote weight loss – it also balances the hormones that control your appetite and make you feel happy!

One of the best ways to combat holiday stress and overeating is to work out regularly. That doesn’t mean hours at the gym! Just 10 minutes a day is all it takes to burn more fat and feel less stressed.

3. Make sleep a priority. Getting 7-9 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night is vital to maintaining a healthy weight and positive attitude.

Research proves that missing out on just one night’s rest causes a spike in hormones that make you feel hungry, cranky, and mentally foggy.4,5 (For a more cheerful holiday season, check out these 7 Easy Ways to Fall & Stay Asleep.)

4. Eat before you go. You’re a lot less likely to fall prey to pastry-wrapped brie and a second glass of rosé if you have a sensible meal before the party.

Instead of relying on your host to provide diet-friendly options, eat a dinner with clean protein, veggies, and healthy fats at home. (It also doesn’t hurt to keep a protein bar in your bag, just in case…)

5. Use the 3-bite rule. Take three polite bites, then put the fork down! That’s enough to taste your best friend’s caramel cheesecake, but not enough to derail your diet. (And when I say “polite bites,” I mean the kind you’d eat on live TV, not standing in front of your fridge at midnight.)

6. When in doubt, block the bad guys. Sometimes, saying no isn’t an option – especially during the holidays!

Maybe your boss ordered the food for your annual holiday party, and you have no idea whether there's gluten-free choices. Or your mother-in-law stands smiling in your doorway with a platter of ham and cheese rolls, and you love her too much to disappoint.

If you know you’re going to eat carbs, gluten, dairy, or soy, you can take the digestive aid Safety Net ahead of time that blocks their absorption and minimizes the consequences.

It’s not license to scarf down a whole pan of cinnamon rolls, but it means you have a backup plan when real life gets in the way of your healthy eating goals. Safety Net is a carb-blocking supplement that can prevent the side effects of some foods and also helps with weight loss and cravings,* and it's available now!

7. Get some downtime. Ever notice that you always seem to gain weight or get sick when life is at its most stressful? That’s not a coincidence!

Stress raises the hormone cortisol, and elevated cortisol means you store more fat, have a hard time sleeping, and can’t fight infection effectively.6 (Find out more in this blog: Cavemen and Cortisol: How to Lower Your Stress Hormones Naturally)

Make time during the holidays to relax and enjoy yourself, and don’t get cornered into stressful activities. If building a gingerbread house with your kids makes you crazy, find a new holiday tradition that doesn’t! It’s also okay to offer a loving-but-firm “no thank you” to holiday party invites. For more stress-fighting tips, listen to this podcast.

Here's wishing you and yours the very healthiest, happiest holiday season!

Have questions? Follow me on Facebook or Instagram and let me know how my team and I can best support you! 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Article Sources:
1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16469977
2 http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/5/1558S.long
3 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17403271
4 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20371664
5 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831987/
6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2474765/

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