When the holidays rolled around it seemed as if eating out and happy hours were populating my calendar more than actual customer meetings. I felt like I could either have a good time or isolate myself so I don't gain extra weight or set off my colitis.
Holidays and social events come with this undertone of EAT EAT EAT and DRINK DRINK DRINK that for some can be triggering. If you watch what you eat do to health challenges, restrict calories, or obsess over every inch of your body, it can feel overwhelming to want to enjoy yourself during this time and not go off the rails.
I know I use to desperately wish I could have a good time and not worry about how my body would look the next day.
What I noticed is my all or nothing mentality also crept into my relationship with food.
I was either eating super clean and under a certain calorie bracket or I was ruined and was eating whatever came my way. It never occurred to me that I can have fun WHILE not sabotaging my health.
A few years ago I was able to permanently shift my experience around food and the holidays.
I no longer judge my desire to eat or drink things that aren't the best for my body - but I also take the time to stop and ask myself why I feel I need --- whatever it is I want in that moment.
What I noticed was I would react in situations based on my mood (whatever my body was feeling), my energy level, and what other's were doing.
If I was tired, hungry, and everyone else around me was eating and drinking all the things - I would give myself a hall pass to do the same only hating myself in the morning.
I wasn't in control of my choices...my blood sugar was!
When I was able to manage my blood sugar through nutrition and lifestyle I noticed I was more in control when at a party or event where there were indulgences all around me.
Next time you are invited to an outing where food and drink may throw you off...try these 6 strategies that I use so you don't sabotage your health around the holidays AND still enjoy yourself!
1. Don't "save' your calories - don't show up starving
Eating light all day or waiting to eat at the party is a recipe for disaster. This strategy will throw off your blood sugar, down regulate your metabolism, and set you up for eating all the foods and drink that will leave you feeling heavy, bloated, and sluggish the next day. kk
Instead - eat balanced meals at the times you normally would. Focus on healthy fats, lean proteins, and non-starchy veggies that will fill you up and nourish your body. This will keep you from being out of your mind at your event.
2. Don't skip your daily movement
It is so easy to skip your planned workout when family are in town or you are out of town. We don't want to inconvenience anybody and we were taught that when family is around YOU are around - you don't want to be rude to skip out for 30 min. I won't be able to change your disposition in this blog, but I can offer you some wisdom.
30 minutes of movement is not a time of selfishness, it is a time of self respect. When you honor your commitment to yourself it makes you a happier human to be around.
Don't skip your daily movement just because of holiday events. Build in 20-30min of any type of movement. A quick Youtube workout in your guest room, a walk around the house, or wake-up a little earlier to hit a local group class. You will be back in time for coffee and breakfast! I get it can be tough when children are in the picture - enlist your partner for help if that is the case. You only need 20-30min to pay your daily movement rent. You will be happier you did!
3. During the main event meal - eat your food in blood sugar friendly order
One blood sugar hack is to eat your macronutrients in a specific order to help soften the spike - especially with more decadent foods.
Eat your veggies first (if the only veggie on your plate is a potato- don't eat it first)
Eat your protein and healthy fats next
Eat your carbohydrates (potato, rice, pasta, bread) dead last
Dessert final frontier!
By eating your carbs and dessert last you will slow down the digestion process allowing less of a blood sugar spike to occur reducing the amount of insulin your body pumps out and avoiding a steep crash.
4. Drink your booze with a protein or healthy fat snack
The strategy behind #4 is similar to #3, you want to soften the spike from the sugars in the alcohol by snacking on some beef jerky, olives, or nuts to slow the absorption rate of the alcohol in your digestive system.
Bonus tip: stay away from sweet additives to your alcohol, instead opt for red or white wine or hard liquor with seltzer water and fresh lemon or lime twist.
5. Stay hydrated
I know when I get busy around the house or I am traveling I forget to drink my water. I have to make it even more obvious in my environment so I don't forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. Without hydration you will be susceptible for sharper blood sugar swings, exhaustion, and poor food choices. Excuse me while I chug my water now...
6. Prioritize your sleep
Probably the hardest strategy to implement around party, events, and traveling for the holidays. But do you absolute best. If you know it will be tougher to sleep due to excitement or not being in your own bed, bring a supplement with you like melatonin or magnesium to help take the edge off when it's time to catch some shut eye. Aim for 7-8 hours and know if you sleep less than that you will be
more hungry for higher carb foods the following day. Go back to strategy #1 to nourish your body to beat those cravings.
Try out 1 or all of these strategies and notice the positive shifts in your body! I wish you and your family a healthy, happy, & stress-less holiday season.