Staying on track with health goals over the holidays takes serious willpower. We get lost in the season of activities and lose track of self-care in the spirit of giving to others. To truly be able to give and be present in the heart of the holidays, it's vital to take care of ourselves. The holidays are well known to be exhausting physically and emotionally, plus pack on a few lbs. Today we’re going over my top tips for staying on track over the holidays.
Pick a Partner
The number one thing that helps people the most with any health behavior change is accountability—staying accountable to another person, whether a friend, colleague, or health professional, enables you to keep your goal at the forefront of your mind. You can verbalize your goals out loud, and having a person to face successes and lessons helps support you and create lasting change.
People who food journal lose twice as much weight and are more likely to meet their health goals. Documenting your behaviors in real time makes us face the music and continuously evaluate our progress. The key to food journaling is to either document while eating or record the day ahead. People are less likely to be as successful when recording their food hours after. Mindless eating is called mindless eating for a reason. When we consciously write our food intake down, it helps create a more mindful diet.
Going to a party? Try my double fist method with your beverages; whether it’s a Designer Wellness protein drink or a cocktail in one hand, keep the other hand occupied with water. This trick leaves you with no free hands to mindlessly snack at the food table and promotes hydration.
Eat Before You Go
Off to a holiday dinner? Drink a Designer Wellness protein drink first. My go-to is one scoop Designer Lite with 1 cup of blueberries and 1 cup of frozen spinach with almond milk before a party. The drink volume will fill your stomach, and the protein will decrease ghrelin, your hunger hormone. This trick will help you make better food choices during party time by helping you think with your brain instead of your stomach.
Bring The Dish
Not sure what’s being served? Offer to bring a healthy dish or healthier dessert. For the dish, think vegetables and lean protein. For a healthier dessert, check out our Designer Wellness dessert recipes, perfect for the holidays.
Sparkling Water Mixer
Partaking in party beverages? Stick to sparkling water as your mixer. Flavored sparkling waters will save you the sugar rush and crash with that nasty next-day headache.
Balance it Out
Ate a little too much? Don’t let it snowball into a winter of endless indulgence. Start fresh at the next meal and be extra conscious of the nutrition quality. Better yet, make yourself a high veggie smoothie to kick start your self-nourishment. My go-to is ½ green banana, 1 cup strawberries, ⅔ cup frozen spinach, 2 Tbsp peanut butter powder, and one scoop Designer Egg blended with unsweetened almond milk.
Sleeping at least 7 hours a night will keep your cortical and fight-and-flight hormones from making you crave carbohydrates and unhealthy treats that tend to surround us during the holidays. Pay extra attention to your sleep routine this season. Turn off distractions at bedtime and keep to a regular schedule.
Take a minimum of 10 minutes for yourself a day. Time for yourself may look different to everyone, whether done by journal writing, reading, breath work, or walking. It’s up to you to pick an activity that nourishes your soul and keeps you grounded. Stay grounded during winter is essential to prevent burnout and seasonal depression.
Eat Protein First
When it comes to meal time, start eating the protein on your plate first, which will help your hunger hormones decrease and help you with portion control. Eat your protein at the meal first.
Staying healthy during the holidays is possible with the proper support and mindset. We at Designer Wellness are here to support you. Try out expert tips to keep on track this season.
By Ginger Cochran, MS, RDN, CDCES