Today I’m going to talk about how to get through the holidays without feeling gross when January hits.
As the weather gets colder and the season gets more festive, we’re more apt to fall into eating sugary foods that will put us over the edge.
Eating too much sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies and when we eat all of that heavy, sugary, processed food it suppresses our immune system and many times we get sick.
What happens to many of us is that we feel so gross after the holidays that we enter the new year feeling the same way we did starting the past year: bloated, overweight, bogged down, hungover. It’s a vicious cycle.
Is that any way to start a new year?
What if we left the year behind feeling great so we can focus on starting the new year feeling as though we can accomplish anything?
10 Tips on How to Get Through the Holidays Feeling Great.
To Do Every Day:
1. Drink lots of water: I start every morning with a litre of lemon water. Do this before your coffee! Lemon helps us to flush our system and kick-start our digestion for the day to come.
2. Eat a good breakfast and a decent lunch: Whatever time you consider breakfast, I encourage you to eat a meal full of fat, fibre, protein and greens (thanks for this tip Kelly Leveque!). This will keep you feeling full for longer and will help you avoid the temptation for all of those sugary treats at the office or the coffee shop.
If you’re in a hurry, make a smoothie. My morning smoothies include a scoop of protein powder (I like Genuine Health Vegan Fermented Protein Powder), some fat like a couple tablespoons of nut butter, a handful of spinach or kale, a 1/4 cup of blueberries, two tablespoons of of ground flax seeds or chia seeds and a two cups of nut milk. If I have something like this at 7 or 8 am I’m not full again until after 12 p.m.
At a party or event:
3. Don’t go to a party starving: If you go to a party over the holidays and you’re starving, you’re more likely to reach for the first food you see. Be sure to do steps 1 & 2 earlier in the day and then reach for a hand full of nuts as you head out the door. The nuts will keep your blood sugar balanced and will help you make balanced decisions when you’re out.
4. Eat veggies first: When I go to a party I scan the food table and fill my plate with salads, olives and veggies first. Taking this step will help you fill your stomach with greens and fibre and you’ll set yourself up for eating well from the get-go. Wait a few minutes before heading back up to the table so you can be sure you’re still hungry!
5. Decide what you really want to eat before you get to the party: If you have a sweet tooth and love this time of year for your aunt’s gingerbread cookies, let that be your sweet treat and make the decision before you leave the house. If you follow all the steps above, that might be all you need to satisfy that sweet tooth. Resist the urge to fill up an entire plate with sweets.
Choose one, sit down and really enjoy it.
6. If you drink, drink organic wine: I love wine like the next person, but I don’t like how it makes me feel in the morning. Same goes for sugary mixed drinks. A while ago, I decided to drink organic red wine and it’s helped me stay on track through the holidays because I feel fine the next day. I encourage you to keep the sugary mixed drinks to a minimum because they’re partly to blame for those nasty hangovers and bloated stomachs. (Read more about it in my post on my blog here). Also mixing sugary foods with wine will likely increase that hangover! So be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking together.
7. Put down your phone and connect with the people you’re eating with: When I’m out with family and friends I leave my phone in my purse unless I’m taking a photo.
When we eat with technology it heightens stress levels (What am I missing out there when I’m here??) which makes it harder to digest our food properly. Looking at our phones while eating also distracts us from what’s on our plates so we’re more apt to eat more. Also it’s just plain rude in my opinion. Keep your phone off the table and away so you can actually enjoy the people around you.
8. Listen to your body. What is it telling you? Our bodies are constantly giving us messages. Eat bread and feel bloated? It’s a message. Break out after eating sweets? It’s a message. Feel like you want to roll out of the restaurant after eating and drinking all night? It’s a message.
If we get in tune with the messages our bodies are trying to tell us (but that we often ignore) we might realize that it’s trying to help us stay on track. No one feels good after stuffing their mouths with too much food. I don’t worry about calories, but I did learn to eat until I’m 80% full. By eating this way, our bodies have a bit of room to breathe, time to rest and you can enjoy the rest of the night without making several trips to the washroom or wishing you hadn’t eaten something.
If you know your body doesn’t do well after eating pie, leave it on the table and try something else instead. I know I don’t feel well after eating regular cake and cookies so I don’t bother eating them. This isn’t a matter of depravation—it’s a way of listening to our bodies to find out what it really needs to be happy.
9. Don’t stress about all this stuff: This might be a lot of information for you, but try not to stress about it. I like to look at it as nourishing our bodies first, leaving room for a little treat at the end of dinner.
Try not to regret or feel guilty about something you’ve eaten over the holidays—take it as a learning experience. Ask yourself: Why did I eat that? How did it make me feel? Was I even hungry when I ate it? Did I feel pressure to eat it?
And if you wanted to eat it feel good about that decision! Life is too short not to enjoy treats now and again.
Everything takes time so if you can, do one step at a time like starting your day with lemon water and you might be surprised where it takes you!
10. Finally, be kind to yourself now. Don’t wait until January to get going. Make small changes now that will take you into the new year with vim and vigour!
Your body is worth it. You are worth it.