Tis the season for joy, connection, and a bit of indulgence! As we approach the festivities, let's navigate the holidays with a blend of nutrition wisdom and stress-busting strategies. Here's your guide to savoring the season without compromising your well-being.
Give yourself some grace, but know when to rein things in
We will all have a cheat meal or holiday indulgence, it is going to happen!!! So when it does, what should you do? Enjoy the moment and realize that it does not have to be continual. You have choices. Waiting to start over the next day or the next week/next month/next year is going to cause a lot more “damage” than just shaking it off in the moment and encouraging yourself to start over at the next meal or even the next bite of food. Don't let the “all or nothing” mindset tell you otherwise.
You Do You
One of the toughest things that can happen during the holidays is getting pulled in too many directions and having too many things on your plate. I find that is when it can be hardest to stick to exercise routines, eating habits, sleep schedules, etc. BUT, it is really IMPORTANT to be unapologetic about your personal health habits and set boundaries in order to keep your physical and mental health on track.
Maybe you have stopped eating dessert and refined carbs to support your blood sugar levels, let your loved ones know so they can support you in this goal.
Maybe you need that morning run or walk or workout to feel like yourself, don’t feel guilty about it, just get it in and enjoy your day…and maybe even invite a family member or friend to get in on it too!
Amidst all the holiday business, focus on getting as much healthy food as possible in your body.
What does this look like on a typical day during this busy time of year?
Start the day with a high protein breakfast >>> skip the carbs, they will create sugar cravings later and then a blood sugar crash that will drive you back for more once you have used those carbs up!
Throughout the rest of the day focus on real meals, instead of snacking. We often forget that we even ate a snack and end up going back for more and those calories of mindless snacking can add up! Instead make sure your meals contain the following:
Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids) - basically focus on real food that is not found in a box or carton and you will get your micronutrients in!
Find your fiber - helps to lower your blood sugar, feeds your microbiome, which can also improve metabolic health, and also support healthy bowel movements. Some of the best sources are cia seeds, flax seeds, avocado, beans, vegetables and whole fruits.
Bring in some probiotic rich foods - A couple of bites of fermented food goes a long way to support your gut microbiome.
Find your Omega’s 3s - fatty fish, chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds are all great choices.
Stay hydrated - Electrolytes are a key component of healthy hydration. Physiologically, here’s what happens when your electrolyte levels are dialed in:
Maintain steady energy. Potassium and magnesium support the processes that convert stored energy (calories) into usable energy (ATP). Electrolytes also impact energy by regulating hormones, maintaining fluid balance and blood pressure, regulating heartbeat, promoting restful sleep, and much more.
Improve cognitive function. Electrolytes, especially sodium, regulate fluid balance in and around the brain. They also help transmit signals between neurons—which literally allows us to think. Goodbye brain fog!
Support fasting. When you consume carbohydrates, the pancreas secretes insulin to store excess glucose for use later. But insulin serves other purposes as well—such as telling the kidneys to retain sodium. When you stop eating carbs (such as during a fast), the absence of insulin allows the kidneys to release sodium. Replacing that lost sodium with an electrolyte solution can help you continue to feel good on a fast..
Support a low-carb diet. Low-carb diets are sometimes referred to as “fasting-mimicking diets.” Just like fasting, low-carb diets minimize the release of insulin, which signals your kidneys to excrete sodium. The fewer carbs you eat, the more sodium you lose—and the more sodium you need to replace.
Do your best to get your movement in!
Sign up for a class at your local gym.
Use a tracker if this helps motivate you.
Use an app or online workout program to help with exercise motivation.
Exercise in the morning, usually the best way to get it in!
Grab a friend or loved one and go for a walk outside.
Remember, it's okay to say "no" and prioritize your health habits. Whether it's setting boundaries, choosing nutrient-rich meals, staying hydrated, or finding time for movement, let this guide be your compass to navigate the holiday season with balance and mindfulness. Here's to a joyful and healthy celebration!