My Healthy Holiday Plan

Ah, the holidays. I feel like I should write about ways to stay healthy and how to not overindulge and how to stay active. Honestly, I think you know those things. Here’s a quick list as a refresher:

  1. Get active: go for a walk, run a turkey trot, get up a little early and get some yoga in, do some burpees, play football, wrestle your nieces and nephews, whatever. Whatever you can fit in without stressing you out is good.
  2. Drink lots of water: Especially if you’re traveling, hydration is key to feeling good. Bring a water bottle with you and refill it as often as you can.
  3. De-stress: Make time to relax. Maybe you meditate, maybe you take a long shower, maybe you zone out with a magazine on your flight. Maybe it’s only 10 minutes out of the entire crazy day, but do it. Your body and mind will thank you.
  4. Sleep: I’ve found that sleep is vital to enjoy the holidays, and it’s often in short supply. I know my mom often stays up until the wee hours of the morning making pies, and after throwing a Friendsgiving last weekend at our house, I can say the clean up takes up a good chunk of time too. But get as much sleep as you can, because the better rested you are, the easier it is to let the holiday commotion roll off your back.

I know I didn’t mention anything about portion control, or eating mindfully, or taking three small slices of dessert so that you can try everything without going overboard. I’m not saying those things because that’s not what I’m going to do, and I don’t need to present yet another false image of health – we’ve got plenty of those to go around.

I’m probably going to have three regular sized slices of pie. After eating a larger than normal dinner. I’ll probably have a glass or two of wine. I can’t say for sure, because we’re going to be with Alex’s extended family, and I’ve never had Thanksgiving with them before, so I don’t know exactly what to expect. But I imagine that overall, I’ll be eating more and differently than normal.  

This feels important to say because I like the idea that one day doesn’t make or break your entire healthy lifestyle. I recently worked on a cooking demo for diabetes patients, and we did a fall theme rather than a Thanksgiving theme, because the hospital dietitians said, “We tell our patients to eat what they like on Thanksgiving. It’s one day. We’d rather focus on long term lifestyle changes.” That really resonated with me, and that’s the attitude I’m taking this holiday season.

Like the rest of the universe, I’m prone to inertia. When I’m in the healthy eating groove, I’m far less likely to eat until I’m uncomfortably full. And when I’m less consistent with my habits, it’s a lot easier to ignore that eating too many sweets and heavy food actually doesn’t make me feel very good. I’m not denying that overindulging has consequences. 

But in general, I feel like I’m at a point where one day doesn’t knock me out of the groove. So come Friday, I’ll get right back into my relatively normal eating habits, with a slice of leftover pie here and there. This wasn’t always the case, and I encourage everyone to make that decision for themselves – I certainly don’t want anyone to sabotage themselves. But if you’re generally very mindful and aware of your habits, consider taking the day to relax and connect with friends or family or yourself, rather than focusing on the food. Again, this is just my plan and my experience that I wanted to share, and you should always do you.

As far as Thanksgiving goes specifically, I’d love to see people think about limiting food waste and where their food is coming from than limiting their caloric intake. EcoSalon has some great tips on how to create a conscious Thanksgiving meal, facts to consider about Thanksgiving, and 5 ways to get ready for Thanksgiving.

With that, I’m off  to enjoy some delicious food – and hoping to sneak in a self-directed turkey trot tomorrow! 

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