Let’s be honest, for almost all of us the holiday season is probably the most difficult time to follow a healthy lifestyle. So how to stay healthy through the holidays?
Not only are there numerous invitations for parties and dinners, extra socializing, work deadlines, meeting family. And the temptations are everywhere. Not to mention the fact, the days are shorter and colder so we tend to stay at home with a hot cup of tea with chocolate instead of going for a brisk walk. We also dress differently and as such we are less aware of our bodies as well (think of thick oversized sweaters). Also, during this time of the year I noticed it’s the period when being happy and together with one another equals most of the time food. Family, friends and food. However, this time of the year doesn’t mean you have to either gain weight or deprive yourself by looking how others indulge and enjoy this time of the year. I will help you through this time!
There can be many different reasons you are going through (severe) cravings, such as being tired or just wanting to eat with others, which can be the reason why you’ll end up eating more than you normally would.
The first tip would be not to deprive yourself from food, because this will cause binging. Always make sure you are eating enough fruits and vegetables. Especially fruit is key, so make sure you are eating enough fruit before your meals.
When you feel a craving coming up for something you would normally not eat nor enjoy that much, but feel that this craving is driven by a social get together try to think about the outcome. How will you feel afterwards? Would you please others by eating something you don’t even enjoy that much and what will make you feel sluggish? Think before you eat.
Also realize that a craving is not hunger and is just a feeling. Feelings fade away, especially cravings. It can take 10 to 20 minutes, but normally when you eat enough a craving will soon disappear.
If it’s an emotional craving, ask yourself what comfort you are truly seeking at that moment in time and try to fill that need if possible. Read more about how to stop eating when you’re full here.
This is probably one of the very few moments you will be eating at home if you have a very busy December schedule. Take advantage of this and make something that will nurture and energize your body. A green smoothie is always a good idea perhaps followed by pancakes or a bowl of buckwheat with some warm almond milk and cinnamon. The oats in my pancake (as well as cinnamon) will also help to stabilize your blood sugar levels, which means that you won’t suddenly start craving sugary snacks.
However, like said a smoothie is best since your body can easily absorb this in the morning and you won’t have to worry as much about getting your vitamins and minerals in throughout the rest of the day.
The most difficult time of the year to drink enough water is during colder days. We seem to be less thirsty, however this doesn’t mean you should drink less.
Remember that water vapour is still lost through your breath when you’re outside and through the skin when you sweat. Also central heating, radiators, car heaters are all really drying too and a lack of hydration slows down your circulatory system. Water is very important for our bodies, not only to get it functioning properly, but also to keep your skin ”glowing”. Your skin will suffer a lot from not being hydrated well. A beautiful skin is always hydrated by lots and lots of water throughout the day.
So carry a bottle with you and also drink lots of herbal tea. Also soups, cold pressed juices, fresh fruits and raw vegetables are ways to keep yourself hydrated. Coconut water is also very good since it’s naturally rich in electrolytes, which makes coconut water good for rehydration.
Always make sure to have healthy options at home and in your bag. Like I said before, eat healthy and enough so you won’t feel the need to indulge later on a party. When I arrive home late and still feel hungry I will search for a snack. So it can be helpful to keep healthy but really delicious things on hand. My buckwheat bliss, raw chocolate, energy bits, cookies are great options. Or maybe a dip or roasted peppers. Munching on these will mean you’ll wake up the next day not feeling sluggish and drained.
Body and skin
The best tip would be to stock up on loads of fresh food, especially seasonal veggies and leafy greens! Your body might have a lower immune system now due to the flu that is spreading or the colder weather. So make sure you get enough raw winter fruits and veggies. Such as sweet potatoes, beets, spinach, kale and broccoli, Then there are some delicious spices and seasonings that help to boost immunity too, such as garlic, onions, chilli, ginger and lemon. And of course don’t’ forget to start your day with lemon water, which is a great immune booster and cleanser; it detoxes, warms and wakes you up.
Also, try to include eating probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut and miso or take a daily probiotic supplement which will help boost good intestinal bacteria, which can be disrupted when you drink too much alcohol or eat lots of rich food.
The cold air and heating really dries out the skin. Luckily, there are lots of things we can do to get our skin back to normal. You’ve all heard me talking about coconut oil so many times, but it really deserves another mention here as it’s the most effective, nourishing, all round miracle balm. I take my make up of with it and I put it on my skin as well at night, which keeps my skin hydrated and soft. The coconut oil will plump you with vitamin E and healthy fats to deeply nourish your whole body. I also apply coconut oil into the ends of my hair once a week for a deep condition overnight. The best.
Sleep and move
My biggest problem in December is that I sleep to little. Getting a good night’s sleep really helps you look and feel your best. And of course try to stay active even if exercise is the last thing you feel like doing. It can give you bundles more energy. Maybe you will not have time to go to the gym, but try to walk. At least try to do something every day that involves some exercise. Also, getting some vitamin D can help make you feel more alert and happy. If you can get outside in some sunshine for a few minutes it will really help.
Make sure to enjoy this time of the year by giving yourself some extra care. It’s important to meet up with friends and family and to join drinks and parties, but find some ”me time” as well. Reflect on the last year, be grateful for what has been giving to you (instead of being stressed out all the rime while running errands), spend a quiet evening alone with a good book and/or take a bath. These few moments can nourish your soul. Enjoy and have a happy holiday season!
Picture credit: Getty Images and The Green Creator