Surviving the Holidays Healthily and Happy
I don’t know about you but the holidays at my house means eating, eating oh and more eating. A common theme growing up in my house was if you feed them they will come. So we always had food, and we were known for giving out huge plates of chocolates for Christmas. This tradition is one my mother still does.
So with that in mind the first or second week of December my mother, who lives with me, heads out to stay with my sister for a week to make chocolates for the holiday season. This consists of about 100 pounds of assorted homemade peanut clusters, almond clusters, coconut clusters, peanut-butter cups, caramels, fudge, truffles, etc. Needless to say we are more than supplied for the holidays. These are meant to be used as presents for family, friends, and neighbors, generally anyone who stops by during the holidays. But honestly year after year we gorge ourselves (those coconut clusters have my name written all over them.) on these treats throughout the month. Oh don’t get me wrong, friends and family get their fair share.
Then there are the holiday parties between get-togethers, work parties, and family parties. So much food, and it’s the best of the best foods. I feel like I’m gaining weight just writing about it. If you happen to be on a diet or are trying to eat healthy that idea and promise to yourself quickly goes flying out the proverbial window. Only to be picked back up with that ‘new year’s resolution’.
But what if I told you there was a better way. It’s time to enjoy the holiday season without feeling guilty. When I say guilt free I don’t mean throw all your goals for being healthy out the window for the holiday season. I mean being mindful of what your goals are during the holiday season. I mean taking accountable of those goals living them fully throughout the month. Now who’s with me? Who’s ready to live guilt free throughout the holiday season? Who’s ready to enjoy the holidays fully?
The first thing you need to do is set your goals for the holidays. What are your goals? Do you want to connect with your loved ones this Holiday season? Is it about finding that one perfect gift? Is it to stay on your diet? Is it to reconnect with lost loved ones?
When looking back on past holiday season’s what made them wonderful for you? It is to throw the best holiday party? Only you can know what will make this the best holiday for you. Do you want to finish your novel so you can enjoy the holidays? Here are my goals for this holiday season to give you an idea of what I am talking about.
My first goal for this season is connections. I want to enjoy the season and really connect with my loved ones. Having a goal around the season regardless of whether it be about your health or not gives you purposes for the season. And once you have purpose you are able to create something. It also doesn’t allow you to procrastinate, once a goal is set you have a purpose to move forward. This goal will also give you ideas and will help narrow your mindset, you can decide what you need to do vs what you have to do. Because my purpose is to connect with my loved ones I can decide whether or not to go to certain events, if it doesn’t fall into my goal of family connection I can say no without it going against my holiday goal of family connection.
My second goal is to not over eat and drink plenty of water. Wow! That’s a pretty hefty goal for the holiday season. But I also want to enjoy and connect which means going to family oriented holiday parties. But if I have that goal going in, I always know what I can and cannot do. I also help myself by keeping a food diary. This is extreme I know but if you write down everything I eat and look at it I can see if I am over eating. When I know I am going to have a tough month I know I have to do something to keep myself on track. (Please keep in mind this is what works for me it may not work for everyone.)
My third goal: Not to over book myself. This is very important. If I overbook myself then I feel like I am going crazy and then I don’t enjoy the holiday season. So at the time I am writing this article (early Nov.). For the weekends, I am already booked through till the end of Dec. (Holy Cow!) I’m not complaining, I have a very busy life. I have a great family and wonderful friends. But that means I have to be very choosy about what goes on my schedule from now through the end of the year. I have to take into account what my first two goals are. Does it have to do with family connection? Will it take away from my goal to stay healthy? Will it conflict with something else I have already on my schedule?
Because it’s the holiday season you should only want three goals, if three is overwhelming only have two, if two is too much then only do one goal. Trust me I’ve had years when I was only capable of one goal. This isn’t about having the most goals or about accomplishing the most. It’s about making the most out of the goals you set.
Here are some important tips for being healthy during the holidays.
- Stay organized. The worst part of the holidays is getting disorganized that leads to mindlessness. And mindless behavior means throwing your goals down the toilet. Your goals should never ever end up in the toilet.
- Be the hostess with the mostess. If you feel like you want the control so you can maintain your healthy eating habits host the party yourself.
- When eating, drinking and being merry. Throw in some extra activity. Now isn’t the time to start a new cardio program. But if you’re eating more throw in some extra activity.
- Tis the season to give. Sometimes it’s more about the giving then the receiving, how about visiting your local homeless shelter and donating your time or make a Donation.
- Broken record time. Drink lots of water. You may think this is a summer thing only but as you run around to all your holiday errands and holiday parties you easily become dehydrated. So make sure you drink plenty of water.
- Exchange your regular recipes with healthy recipes. The internet is chock full of exchange receipt. I’ve exchanged lots of high-calorie receipts for lower calorie healthier recipes. Example: mashed potatoes with cauliflower mashed.
- Make time for yourself. The holiday season is so hectic and you are spending it thinking about everyone else but you. Make sure to take some time for you, you deserve it. This might mean taking an afternoon to get a mani-pedi. Trust me your inner self will thank you.
- Have a day with more than one holiday party? Afraid you’ll over eat? Use the small plate instead of the regular size dinner plate. You’ll naturally eat less.
- Most important, don’t forget the holiday traditions. Don’t have any? It’s never too early to start one.
I don’t know about you, but I think the holiday season is a magical time of year. People are more generous, and kindness seems to pour out of people. I love to sit and listen to Christmas carols on the radio and sip hot chocolate. I used to make myself crazy, by letting the hectic craziness of the holiday season sweep me away. But by employing some of these techniques I have allowed myself to mindfully take over the holiday season and I can now enjoy the beauty if it all with my family. And the best part is I a teaching my children to enjoy it for the same reasons.
**I just want to send out a Happy Holidays to all my fans. May you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season. From my heart to your home and hearth. Stay warm and safe this season.