The holidays are here and the countdown to the new year has officially begun. Parties, family gatherings, great food, laughter, celebrations and the spirit of giving is what makes this time of year so special. It literally has us jumping for joy.
I had to start this post with a picture of my husband, Josh, opening up a Christmas present he got from my very dear friend. We were celebrating Christmas with my family in the Boston area and my friend got him some local beer, which made him so excited…as you can tell. I quickly snapped this picture as he was jumping around in excitement. This picture perfectly captures our holiday spirit in our house.
As fun as the holiday season can be, this is also the toughest time to follow a Paleo lifestyle. With some good advice and a conscious mind, you can make it through successfully. Work these tips into your day, your week or your month and stick to your healthy lifestyle without missing out on any of the fun.
Rule of 20
There’s something magic about this number because it really works. You can apply it to almost anything…besides eating 20 cookies, of course.
When faced with cravings, try taking a 20-minute walk. The Vitamin D from the sun and the increased blood flow will help reset your mind, choose healthier alternatives, and conquer cravings.
For a majority of you, the weather is not pleasant outside this time of year. In that case, try drinking 20-ounces of water when faced with cravings. Your senses often play tricks on you. Seeing food and smelling food can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re hungry. This is what I like to call, “fake hunger.” The 20-ounces of water is enough to settle your stomach, calm your brain and ease your cravings.
When you do sit down to enjoy your holiday meal, wait 20-minutes before getting seconds. Your body needs time to digest the food you just enjoyed. Give your body time to communicate with your brain, and you will begin to feel full.
Distraction is Crucial
When my son starts getting cranky, upset or mad, usually the most effective way to resolve the situation, is distraction. I’ll ask him fun questions that force him to think about something else or I’ll say or do something funny that makes him laugh – anything that will distract him from what got him cranky, upset or mad in the first place. It usually works like a charm and he is back to his normal, happy self.
I bet you didn’t know this, but your brain can be like a three-year-old sometimes, which means that one-track mind can be distracted and diverted onto something else quite easily. So turn away from the dinner buffet and onto other important things.
- Engage yourself in conversation with other guest
- Play with your kids
- Help with the cooking and/or cleaning
- Sit back and observe this joyous occasion and be thankful
Establish a Game Plan
Do you know the menu or what foods will be served? Then plan a detailed menu and stick to it. Decide what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to pass on and the reasoning behind it. Holiday gatherings are a lot easier when you’ve already thought through the food decisions ahead of time.
If you don’t know the menu, then you can still plan based on servings. Plan for one protein, two vegetables, one carb, one fruit and one dessert. That is the essential balanced meal and you’re guaranteed to feel full.
Keep your goals in mind throughout the day. Remind yourself why you chose this healthy lifestyle. Understand the consequences your will incur if you over-indulge. Be smart about your choices and portions and your future you will thank you.
We know we’re supposed to eat slowly, but how many times are we conscious about this? Think about enjoying the flavors as well as your company with every bite. Try putting your fork down between bites while you chat with others at the table.
Finally, the simple math calculation, Calories In = Calories Out, is as basic as it gets. If you know you will be increasing the “Calories In” side of the equation, then you must also increase the “Calories Out.” Must be the engineer in me, but this is my favorite approach to the holidays.
- Take the stairs
- Park far from the stores so you can walk greater distances
- Stand up more throughout the day
- Do a 30 minute at-home workout or my Park Bench Workout
- Enjoy the cooler temperatures and take a 30-minute walk
- Decorate your house for the holidays, which is definitely a fun way to burn calories
Holiday Survival Meals
It can feel very frustrating when your dietary choices leave you all alone with an empty plate over the holidays. Believe me, I’ve been there. I’m either mad that I can’t eat anything or I’m upset because I did and went overboard.
I certainly don’t want to leave you here thinking you need to drink water, take walks and do a million push-ups every potty break just to make it through the holidays. I want you to enjoy these last few months of the year without jeopardizing your healthy lifestyle or enjoyment of the season.
I worked hard creating these recipes that are a perfect addition to the traditional holiday table.
Don’t give in!
Don’t give up!
I’m right beside you the whole way!
I would love to hear from you this holiday season. What is your biggest challenge over the holidays? How do you move past those challenges? Do you have other tips on conquering holiday cravings that I didn’t mention here? Please comment below and join the conversation.