A Rebel Wellness Guide to the Holidays
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
The abundance of holiday treats, alcoholic drinks, and big family meals often cause us to throw our health and wellness goals out the window. While Christmas is just one day of the calendar year, the struggle for most of us often begins in the weeks leading up to Christmas - being surrounded by holiday goodies from your co-workers by day and tempted with holiday parties by night. One Christmas cookie leads to two (or three) and before you know it you’ve jumped ship, abandoning your health and wellbeing for pecan pie and eggnog. Then we expect New Year’s resolutions and gym memberships to come to our rescue.
What if we didn’t jump ship? Believe it or not, it is possible to enjoy the holiday season without completely abandoning our daily practices. We can maintain a healthy lifestyle, enjoy some added holiday goodies within reason, and not experience such drastic feelings of fatigue, stress, and weight gain. We’ve come up with a few ways to help you feel in control this season so you can avoid the New Year’s resolution cycle.
Water, that is. We all know how important hydration is for detoxification, skin health, and energy levels. It’s also necessary for other functions in our bodies that we don’t always think about, such as lubricating joints, aiding in digestion, and carrying nutrients and oxygen to our cells. Remembering to alternate water in between alcoholic beverages or sip it throughout the day may be hard, but it’s one of the easiest and cheapest healthy habits. Prepare a large bottle of water before bed and drink first thing in the morning. Add a squeeze of lemon. You’ll feel like a rockstar.
Try green juice.
This isn’t a staple in our everyday diets because, let’s be real, it can be expensive. Plus, we love the fiber that comes from eating whole vegetables and you don’t get that benefit in a juice. However, juices offer a large burst of nutrients, energy, and hydration in such a small volume of liquid. Think vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in the body’s natural detoxification processes. If you find it hard to incorporate plenty of nutrient dense foods this holiday season, give green juice a try. Because they don’t contain fiber, we usually opt not to add fruit to our juices to prevent a blood sugar surge.
Make the most of your meals that aren’t included in the holiday celebration. Load up on protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep blood sugar under control and hunger hormones in check before your holiday get-together. While at holiday parties, make protein and fibrous veggies a priority, along with healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, or grass fed butter. Scan the feast for fresh crudite bites, lean cuts of meat, fresh seasonal salads, or roasted vegetables. Choosing these options first doesn't mean you can't enjoy the other foods and alcohol being served. The protein, fat, and fiber from them will ensure that your blood sugar won't spike too drastically when you reach for the carb-y sides or yummy dessert.
For many people, Christmas is a time to satisfy our emotional and mental needs rather than just physical. The traditions surrounding food around the holidays may carry special memories and depriving yourself of those may have more of a negative impact than a positive one. Depriving ourselves in the moment can also lead to stress or binge eating later on.
Mindless eating is what gets most of us in trouble, and it’s really easy to do during the hustle and bustle of holiday gatherings. Pick your favorite holiday food or treat and make sure you’re really present while eating it. You’d be surprised how much food you eat without even realizing it when you’re busy chatting.
Move a little every day.
Depending on where you’re spending the holidays, you may not have access to your local gym or at-home workout equipment and that’s okay! In fact, a break from your usual exercise regimen may be just what your body needs to truly enjoy the holidays. Take advantage of family time by going for a walk or bike ride together after dinner or playing a game of football in the yard.