Making Healthy(ish) Choices During the Holidays

Dec 15, 2022

 by Liz Rodriguez
We are entering the time of year when my clients usually start sighing a lot during their sessions....They sigh because the holidays are coming, and with that comes more food, more drinking, less movement, and inevitably, not so great decisions.
I work with each of them on creating a game plan on how to still enjoy the holidays even with all of the temptation. Whether it's food or alcohol, having a plan going into a social setting can help you feel more in control and less likely to cave to bad decisions you may regret later. Below are just a few ways to make your holidays enjoyable but not regrettable in relation to your health and fitness goals!
Cooking Volunteer to make something on the healthier side like a fun salad with homemade vinaigrette, crunchy vegetables and toasted nuts. It especially tastes good next to all the heavy stuff on the table. Or start a new tradition of a dish such as roasted squash or a brined meat that allows for tons of flavor but less calories (avoid things with gravy and cream sauces).
Eating Enjoy the meal! When do we get to eat such decadent combinations such as turkey with gravy and stuffing or ham and scalloped potatoes? This is the perfect time to work on your intuitive eating skills. Slow down, chew, and savor the meal. This not only allows you to enjoy the food, it also lets your brain play catch up on telling you when you’re full! And to couple with this one, avoid snacking. This takes away from the main meal and inevitably leads to overeating. Lastly, try adding a protein shake in for your breakfast that morning. Ensuring that your protein intake is solid going into a big meal helps you to stay full and keep you from crashing later.
H20 Drink a glass water before the meal (which also is good anyways especially if you are partaking in cocktail hour.
If you are partaking in cocktail hour take a chapter from the food section and savor each sip. Since we are around more people, sometimes it is easier to drink more than usual, so slow down. In regards of what to drink, clear alcohol is always better than brown when it comes to liquor. And for wine, hey, wine spritzers are back in style! Add some soda water to a sweeter wine over ice and you have a delicious beverage with less calories AND less alcohol! And above all, drink a glass of water after each drink to keep you hydrated and will also ensure you are giving your body time to digest the alcohol before the big meal. And as for during the meal, I do always recommend NOT drinking during a meal since it can disrupt your digestion. So use the meal itself as a timeout from alcohol.
If you are traveling for the holidays it’s always tempting to get out of your workout habits. Use this as an opportunity to try out a new gym or visit a studio with a class that intrigues you. Drag along your family and again, make new traditions! Walking after dinner is a favorite ritual of my family to help the digestion begin. And on a simpler note, don’t be afraid to amp up your workouts before and after the holidays. Make a point to complete an extra fifteen minutes of cardio or add a few extra sets of weights in your workouts leading up to your trip or get togethers. Use the holidays as a motivator to add more to your workouts.
In reality, let's work to ENJOY the holidays! These tips are to help you indulge and feel good about it all! If you are in need of creating your own personalized health and fitness program, message me here. I've got you covered this holiday season!