The holidays are a time full of cheer, togetherness, and celebration! Unfortunately, stress, sleep-deprivation, and copious amounts of calorie-dense foods oftentimes accompany this period of joy. Follow this guide to help stay sane and keep from derailing your diet this season. And remember: above everything, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed!
Plan and conquer:
Keep your sanity by starting your shopping process early. We all say we’re going to start early, and the next thing we know it’s December 23rd and we’re clawing our way through picked-over store aisles like crazy people. Save yourself the stress this year by keeping organized and spreading out the work.
First, create a master list of all the people you need to buy for. Sit down and think of everyone. And I mean everyone. Go beyond the kids, parents, and siblings, and think of secret santa gifts, teacher gifts, hostess gifts, bosses, stylists, etc. Once you’ve comprised a list, begin filling in what you want to get for each person. While it may seem tedious, doing this in advance is beneficial for multiple reasons. Not having to peruse stores in hopes of stumbling upon the perfect gift will save you countless hours, and by having specific gifts already in mind, you’re able to price things online, check store availability, and potentially even order the items- all from the comfort of your couch. Additionally, planning your gifts in advance makes for more thoughtful gift-giving, as you’re having to think about the needs/wants of each individual person, versus buying something out of convenience on a holiday gift rack.
After your list is done, you can calendar out your gift-buying. In doing this early, you’re able to spread your purchases across multiple pay periods and save yourself the burden of breaking the bank all at once. Check holiday ads to see if anything on your list will be going on sale (Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are especially good to check out). If so, align your gift-buying calendar with those deals. For the items on your list that won’t be going on sale, plan to purchase those during the other, remaining pay periods. And don’t forget that layaway is a great tool to utilize for those big ticket items!
*Bonus tip #1: Carry your ‘master list’ with you or keep it on your phone. Chances are, you’ll think of someone to add or the perfect gift for someone while out and about during the day.
*Bonus tip #2: Grab a few bottles of wine to keep on-hand, just in case you forget someone and need a gift in a pinch!
Prep for the chaos:
Combat the chaos and the extra holiday pounds by stocking your freezer with healthy, ready-to-go meals. Prepping in advance will save time, money, and a little bit of much-needed sanity as your schedule and budget become tighter. Plus, you and your family are still getting the comfort and health benefits of a nutritious, home-cooked meal. Pick a weekend before the holiday chaos ensues to cook and freeze several meals. Your future self will thank you.
Find healthy, freezable meals here: https://thrivinghomeblog.com/healthy-recipes-index/healthy-freezer-meals-recipes/
Indulge without overdoing:
As previously stated, the holidays are to be enjoyed, not dreaded. The caloric content of everything at the holiday dinner table should not be at the forefront of your mind. It’s perfectly okay to indulge in the festive spreads without guilt! If you are concerned about overdoing it, however, there are certain things you can do to curb the gluttony and save yourself a stomach ache.
- Be mindful
Too often there is a tendency to treat the holidays like a free for all, and then we’re forced to face the repercussions of our gluttony come January. Simply being mindful about what you’re putting into your body will help you to not overdo it.
- Eat when hungry
This one is a two sided coin. Of course, it’s important to avoid eating when we’re not hungry. Holiday spreads can be a bit too tantalizing at times, and we succumb to grazing not because we’re hungry, but because the food is tasty and right in front of us. On the other hand, it’s important to listen to your body and eat when you ARE hungry. Perhaps your Thanksgiving meal time is at 3 PM, and you have a tendency of skipping breakfast to save room for the main event. In doing this, you’re simply slowing your metabolism and setting yourself up for overindulgence at the dinner.
- Indulge in only your favorites
Depriving yourself of all treats during the holidays will only send you into a downward spiral. Let yourself enjoy your favorite homemade, holiday goodies (like your grandma’s famous pecan pie) and instead opt out of the store-bought cookies and candy.
- Start small
Scoop yourself small portions of the mac and cheese and sweet potatoes to begin with. This way, you’ll get to taste everything without feeling like you have to finish a heaping pile on your plate. Eat slowly and savor it, and chances are, you’ll be satisfied with your original servings. And remember to stop when you’re full!
Bonus tip #3: A good trick to avoid mindless eating is to stay on a different side of the room than the appetizers/snack platters, or engage in an activity to keep your hands busy!
Pick a new fitness activity
Whether it’s yoga, zumba, kickboxing, or a new gym membership, make the change and dive head-first into a new activity that actually appeals to you. While it may seem that the holidays are too busy of a time to throw something new into the mix, incorporating exercise is easier than you think—and highly beneficial. In addition to battling the extra calories coming in, a new physical activity will etch out some much needed “me time” and help maintain mental clarity. Not to mention, exercise is a tried and true stress reliever, so really, there’s no better time than the holidays to get moving. Take advantage of holiday prices being offered at local gyms and studios and try something new!