The holidays can take us from healthy and thriving right back to uncomfortable, overweight, and dependent on unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. While parties and get-togethers may not be happening like usual, many of us will likely still enjoy the season’s treats and indulgences we look forward to having once a year. But if the holidays fill you with a tree-mendous amount of worry and fear about regressing in your health and wellness goals, gaining weight, and feeling like you aren’t going to be able to enjoy time with your loved ones, let my Treat Your Elf 2020 Holiday Guide point you in a positive direction!
AVOID THE EASIEST HOLIDAY FA-LA-LA-LA-LA-FAIL
One of the easiest holiday fails is the one that many don’t realize is happening until it’s too late. First, we love that holiday meal and of course, we want to enjoy leftovers if there are any. Second, leftovers can suddenly turn into overeating, craving more, and eventually slipping into the “one more bite” mentality. What was meant to be a day or two has now transpired into a week or two and those poor eating choices and habits could feel much harder to kick! Likewise, this slippery slope can also make us feel unmotivated, and disappointed, not to mention aggravated that we can’t get back to some sort of normalcy with our diets.
Survival Tip #1: Allow yourself room to enjoy, but be mindful of how much you are having. Equally as important is paying attention to what your body is telling you. If you are reaching for the leftovers again and again and keep craving the treats, start to introduce more fruits and vegetables into your diet while drinking more water throughout the day.
DON’T FIR-GET TO EAT
One of the primary focal points I encourage my nutrition clients to follow during the holiday season, beginning at Thanksgiving, is to make sure they eat before they have their holiday meal. Hunger and food deprivation leading up to overeating one big meal is demanding on your GI system and hormones, leading to poor nutrient absorption, exhaustion, changes in mood, bloating, constipation, and weight gain.
Survival Tip #2: Instead of holding out all day in anticipation of the main meal, plan out a healthy breakfast and mid-day lunch. Each of these meals should contain a complex carbohydrate source to provide you with lasting energy, 25-30 grams of protein to keep you satiated, and a healthy fat source to compliment your meal’s macronutrient balance.
FOLLOW THE 3/4 YULE
If you’re looking for effective ways to keep your nutrition in check during the holidays but don’t want to stress too much about tracking or accounting for everything on your plate, trust in the ¾ rule to help you along the way! This easy to remember tip will encourage you to make healthier choices but still have room to enjoy some carb-heavy and fat-saturated options.
Survival Tip #3: Opt for filling your plate with ¼ fruits and vegetables as well as ½ with lean protein allowing the remaining ¼ to be used for whatever else you would like to have as long as you aren’t overloading your portion.
DON’T BE ELFISH, SHARE THE DESSERT!
One of the best parts of the holidays is all the different cookies and desserts. You can try a variety of treats and still save yourself from sugar spikes and crashes, and excessive calories by splitting your choices.
Survival Tip #4: Get a buddy and then get your desserts. By sharing with someone can save yourself from a surplus of calories, avoid excessive sugar intake, and still enjoy a little bit of everything.
DON’T OVERDO THE PROSECC-HO-HO-HO & REINBEER
One of the more common situations I hear about during the holiday season is the challenge of saying no to another cocktail or drink. While my first tip would be to just say no, I realize that isn’t the most effective piece of advice I can give. So here is my second.
Survival Tip #5: Avoid drinks mixed with soda, juice, or cream, opt for lighter beer choices, limit shots of liquor, and be mindful of your wine options. Couple these tips with drinking water during your main meal and throughout the day/night. Choose to enjoy a cocktail before your holiday meal, and if you want a second, wait until later on with dessert.
Given the above, here are some popular holiday drinks and their calorie breakdowns:
|Alcoholic Drink||Serving Size||Estimated Calories|
|Light Beer||12 oz||103|
|Regular Beer||12 oz||153|
|Gin (80 Proof)||1.5 oz||97|
|Rum (80 Proof)||1.5 oz||197|
|Vodka (80 Proof)||1.5||97|
|Whiskey (80 Proof)||1.5 oz||97|
|Bloody Mary||4.6 oz||120|
|Rum and Coke||8 oz||185|
|Vodka and Tonic||7 oz||189|
|Sauvignon Blanc||5 oz||128|
|Pinot Grigio||5 oz||128|
|Pinot Noir||5 oz||121|
THERE’S SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME
Above all, the most important tip for surviving the holidays this year doesn’t come from what’s on your plate or who you’re splitting cookies with.
It comes from the heart.
Survival Tip #6: Even though 2020 has been nothing short of crazy, life-changing, and draining, December gives us an opportunity to slow down and appreciate all the good we have in our lives. There’s something so nostalgic and warming about the holidays and for many, it’s a chance to see family and loved ones.
As we head toward the new year, I encourage you to make it a priority to be present in every moment. Regardless of the hills and valleys the past eleven months have put us through, there’s one thing we are guaranteed. RIGHT NOW.
So make new memories, laugh louder, hug longer, and always say I love you. Life is too short and goes too fast to be anything but happy together.