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How to Stay on Track during the Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to be… happy? tired? overwhelmed? overworked? celebrating? Whatever it is you are feeling right now about 2016 coming to an end, holidays upon us, and the prospect of 2017 on the horizon, really take this time to wrap the year up nicely. Don’t let well-formed healthy habits dissipate, and if they haven’t formed yet, don’t wait until Jan 1st 2017 to put them into place! The time is always now to put your best foot forward. I know that there is probably a lot of temptation throughout December, so I have put together a little survival guide. You don’t have to take all of these suggestions, find the ones that speak to you and make it work with your schedule. Every little step toward good health counts. So let’s get started!

Keep healthy habits

  • Wake up to warm water with ½ lemon juice each and every morning, 30 minutes or more before food
  • Maintain your exercise regimen – don’t let it subside during the holidays too much, as this is likely when you need it most! Start your day with something active, as with all the festive activities/family commitments, you are less likely to get it done later, even if this is your usual routine. Definitely a good idea to get a good workout in before any big celebratory feasts! Try to make it fun- try a new class, commit to walks with friends, enjoy the Sydney summer by exercising outdoors, and on days where you just don’t feel like it (read: slightly hungover), opt for a gentle stroll or yoga class. You’ll be happy you did.
  • Drink lots of water, 2L+… hydration is important at a time where there is lots of “cheersing” going on.
  • Sleep should be a priority, when we are overtired, our appetite takes a hit and we tend to overeat.

Further support yourself

  • Keep breakfast light, healthy and nutrient-dense, think green. Breakfast is likely the one meal that won’t be overtaken by festivities, so make it count! Don’t skip it altogether to make up for the fact that you have big lunch/dinner plans. Please! My non-negotiable green smoothie would be a great one to make a habit of throughout the season.
  • Include 1 tsp-tbsp bee pollen in your day to regulate appetite – easy to sprinkle on your morning smoothie (or oats). Bee pollen helps increase energy, alleviate stress, control appetite (due to its phenylalanine content) and assist digestion, woohoo! Note, be careful to make sure you are not allergic to it first, and do not consume if you have asthma.
  • Prioritise fibre – veggies, fruit, gluten-free grains, starches, ground flaxseeds, chia, psyllium husk – we want to ensure you are “eliminating” properly.
  • If you’re noticing reflux or extra bloat, try having 1 tbsp ACV in warm water 15 mins before meals.
  • Sip miso soup (made at home from unpasturised miso paste over low heat so as not to loose the beneficial properties), as it is very soothing for the gut.
  • Try this super soothing digestive aid in the evenings: 2-3 thin slices ginger, small handful mint leaves (or peppermint tea bag), 1 tsp fennel seeds (if you have). Allow to warm on the stove over a low flame, strain as you pour into a mug and drink to ease discomfort.

Come prepared

  • Don’t skip meals to “make-up for” the spread you know you can’t resist later on, it will just make that big meal even bigger.
  • BYO healthy dish that you know will make you feel good and that you can enjoy and share with loved ones. Choose one from here.
  • Have a healthy snack before the party/occasion to ensure you don’t arrive ravenous – my go-to is always vegetables… a bowl of pan-fried broccoli with garlic, Tamari and miso, sprinkled with chili (boost that digestive fire) and a few tbsp of hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds. Or try 1 cup of this super cleansing soup as a snack.

Navigate the table/bar like a nutritionist

  • Greens, greens, greens at every meal
  • Eat more of the sides and salads, where possible leave dressing on the side, you probably don’t/don’t want to know what’s in it! Ask for a lemon instead.
  • Eat slowly, chew lots, and place fork and knife down whilst you chat across the table. Allow your appetite to catch up!
  • Enjoy alcohol in moderation – you know this one! Enjoy the antioxidant properties of a good red wine, or opt for vodka/white rum/gin with soda + loads of lime or lemon or even a splash of fresh orange juice. Skip the tonic- it is full of sugar. Better still, BYO Kombucha instead 🙂

No deprivation

  • Enjoy that holiday treat you have been looking forward to, mindfully and whole-heartedly. Just don’t keep eating the leftovers for breakfast!
  • Make healthy versions of traditional favourites and keep them on hand – gingerbread bliss balls, shortbread, crumble, coconut rough, egg nog etc.
  • Guilt does nothing for you, so leave it behind! If you do “slip-up” and over-eat or eat something you wish you didn’t, accept it, forgive yourself, move on and don’t let it snowball i.e. that mentality where you feel that if you’re already this far in, why not keep going (all night, or even for days). This guilt can also often be the cause of bloating as well! Love yourself enough to pick yourself back up. In these moments it helps to do something nice like sip a tea, take a bath, laugh with a friend, go for a walk, journal, face mask, breathing-exercises etc. do what works for you.

Perspective

  • Remember what this time means to you – maybe it has religious significance, or perhaps it is about family time – whatever it is, it isn’t simply food, food, and only food. Cherish the moments not the meals.
  • Write down your goals right NOW so that you have them fresh and clear in your mind ASAP, and begin to work toward them before the new year. Why wait?

I hope you all have the most wonderful holidays!!

Love and health,

Sami xo

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