How to Keep Your Healthy Eating Habits During the Holidays
Over the years, I’ve noticed that people who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle approach the holidays with hesitation, fear, and worry – worry that they will get thrown totally off track, fall back into old habits, and lose all the progress they’ve worked so hard for.
It doesn’t have to be like that. You can approach the holidays with confidence knowing that you will enjoy yourself, relax, spend time with family without worrying what’s on the menu, and go right back to fueling your body as you would any other day.
Ultimately, everyone has a different idea of what their preferred holiday eating would look like. For some, you may want to enjoy a few days of eating holiday meals with your family and then get right back on track. Others may want to schedule that one holiday meal as THE indulgence of the week. Some may even enjoy every meal that comes their way but practice moderation each time.
What works for one may not work for another so I encourage you to reflect on how you want to feel during the holidays. Do you want to completely put macros and calories out of your mind and just enjoy the holiday? That’s ok! Or maybe the thought of indulging for a day or two totally stresses you out, in which case it might be better to just enjoy that holiday meal in moderation. A big part of figuring out how to live a healthy lifestyle is identifying what works best for you.
There really is no right or wrong answer as long as you remember that the holiday season is not an excuse to totally derail yourself and forget all you’ve learned about fueling your body. Stretching indulgent eating beyond a few days will result in you not feeling your best physically and emotionally. Remember why you started this journey and remind yourself that you want to feel your best inside and out, which happens when you fuel your body with nutritious food.
I’m not like most fitness trainers when it comes to the holidays. I won’t tell you to restrict yourself, but I’m also not going to tell you it’s okay to go overboard for an entire week either. So here are my biggest tips for staying on track during the holidays:
1. Check Your Mindset!
Don’t go into the holidays with the mindset that you’re going to ruin your progress by enjoying the season. One or even a few indulgent meals won’t impact your progress as long as you go right back to your regular eating habits afterward.
2. No Guilt Allowed
Give yourself permission to enjoy the season! A huge part of the mental health aspect of this journey is learning to enjoy moments with friends and family and not have them clouded by worry and anxiety over what you ate. Allowing yourself to indulge guilt-free makes it easier to recognize your limitations and say “no” once you’ve hit them.
3. Eat as Normally as Possible
Stay on track with your eating on the days surrounding the holiday so you can thoroughly enjoy that holiday meal. And definitely, do NOT starve yourself on the day of. Eat your usual portions, that way you don’t stuff yourself beyond your level of comfort.
4. Evaluate Your Hunger
Differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Stop once you are physically full and give yourself time to digest.
5. Hydrate with Water
During and after the meal, drink a TON of water. This goes for any treat meal too! Water helps with digestion and reducing bloating.
6. Stay Active
Go for a workout the next morning. This is SO important! Exercising has such a big impact on our eating habits. If you work out in the morning, you will be much more likely to get right back to your normal eating.
7. Forgive Yourself
No matter how much you indulge, don’t beat yourself up over it. What hurts you more than any holiday meal ever will is the guilt you put on yourself afterward, especially when it leads to further indulgence. Know that no holiday or meal has enough power to keep you from getting back on track. You can. Forgive yourself, and get right back to your normal routine.
One of the most important parts of truly learning how to live a healthy lifestyle is knowing how to navigate the holidays, which means fully enjoying them while also realizing that nourishing your body is still a priority. A day or two of enjoying this special time with your family will not reverse all of your progress, no matter how much bloat you see or water weight you gain. Girls, this is LIFE! You will always have occasions where you will need to navigate that line of enjoying yourself without overdoing it. Sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you won’t but no matter what, you will be okay and so will your results!
Which one of the above tips is your favorite? Have a tip on how to balance the holiday season with your healthy lifestyle that wasn’t mentioned? Leave a comment below! We are all on this journey together.