I'll admit, I cringe a little about this blog post title. Why? Because Eat With Zest is all about creating a different paradigm; one that doesn't measure the quality of your life by the number on the scale.
BMI charts and clothing sizes don't tell you if you're fulfilled in your relationships, have time for belly-laughs with your family or feel motivated to work hard for what you want.
All of that said, a healthy weight is a part of taking care of your body and it is definitely important. A healthy weight, accompanied by a healthy mindset, can be a major part of feeling energized and confident.
Preventing weight gain over the holidays is not just about looking good in your skinny jeans.
It's about giving yourself the gift of nourishment. It's about striking that delicate balance between savoring family traditions and waking up the next morning feeling refreshed. It's about choosing what will make you truly feel your best so you enter the new year ready to take on the world.
The first step is to set your intention*.
An intention* helps you get crystal clear about what matters most to you & why. With this clarity, you then have a guide to navigate the challenging decisions, like whether to go to yet another holiday party or whether to have that third slice of pie. Imagine making these decisions with ease and your head held high! That confidence comes from knowing your values* and sticking to them. Follow these 4 steps to set your holiday intention.
Now that you have your intention in place...
Follow these 3 steps to maintain a healthy weight & a nourished body:
1. plan for it.
It's all too easy to decide you want to stick to a healthful routine over the holidays, but then let the best of intentions fall wayside to the fun and the business.
Get ahead of the game by planning to plan.
Really. Do it.
Carve out at least one hour per week dedicated just to YOU. This is the time you can use to schedule your exercise for the week, think through what foods you want to be eating and write your grocery list to make sure you have those foods on hand.
Whether you're hosting or traveling, don't let cookies be the only option! Plan ahead and set yourself up for success.
2. move & play.
I know you know about all the gazillions of reasons to move your body; how it uplifts your mood so you actually enjoy that time with your family and boosts your metabolism making your body more resistant to weight gain.
Over the holidays it's all too easy to fall victim to the voices in your head that probably sound something like this: "I'm on vacation"; "I'm too busy"; "It's too cold to run outside"; or "there are no good barre studios where my family lives".
Notice the excuses you tell yourself and revisit your original intention. How can you make it relaxing, fun and active?
It does not have to be formal exercise with weights at the gym to count. The more you move your body, or put another way, the less you sit, the better.
- Get your family to all take a walk between dinner and dessert.
- Rally the neighbors for backyard football.
- Go sledding.
- Have a kitchen dance party.
If this all sounds too cheesy, figure out your own way to move more. The worst that can happen is that you feel good.
3. eat more.
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but think about it.
If you save yourself for the turkey feast by not eating all day, you arrive at the Thanksgiving table famished and shoving food in your mouth with reckless abandon. Sound familiar? I know that's been my story one too many times.
Alternatively, imagine this:
- Wake-up: Sleep in, then within 1 hour or waking have a hearty breakfast to energize your day. This could be yogurt with berries & nuts, eggs with veggies & whole grain toast, a pumpkin smoothie or coconut pancakes.
- Mid-Day: Have a nourishing nosh like a banana with almond butter, an apple-goat cheese salad with cinnamon-honey dressing, or a sunflower power bar.
- Play time: Find someone in your family who has never done yoga and ask them to impersonate an downward-facing dog, a crow and a cobra.
- Turkey Time: Arrive at the dinner table hungry enough to relish each bite, but self-possessed enough to still be able to button your pants afterward ;)
Here's to a nourishing & delicious holiday season!
Love & Zest,
P.S. Stay tuned for healthy holiday recipes coming your way this month to help you plan for your celebrations.
*This work around intentions and values sprouts from a seriously life-changing journey I have been on with Jess Lively from The Lively Show Podcast and Life With Intention Online. I cannot recommend her podcast and program highly enough! I'll save more details for a future blog...