Holidays can be really hard when it comes to staying healthy – we all know that, and so often, we feel guilty for succumbing to too many cookies, or baking too many pies.
I often feel caught between the two worlds of loving food (way too much), and also being a health and fitness geek.
I’m the girl who has to leave her wallet at home when I go to the gym, because the temptation to stop and get chocolate at the store next door on the way home is too great for me to resist. I love food, and all the goodies that come with the holidays are hard for me to handle (all my self control was used up at the gym).
But I don’t want to get sick because I’ve subsisted on sugar for a week straight either. I’m trying to get through my 30s relatively healthy through the demands and stresses of motherhood, wifehood, farm life, homeschooling, and working.
I wholeheartedly believe in splurging when you want to, and not feeling guilty about it. Food, family, and holidays are meant to be enjoyed! (Just look at my dessert list, and you’ll see what I mean)
But I think the only way to not feel guilty is to splurge intelligently, minimizing the damage we do to our bodies. In other words, to be intentional about the way we splurge.
You can do that without missing out on holiday pie.
And I also might add that staying active is just as important as eating healthy.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Eating This Thanksgiving
- Find accountability. Last fall I joined an accountability group, and that was tremendous for two reasons – our leader gave us daily goals, and checked in without progress, and it was also a paid group – so everyone there was not just invested, but also motivated to win weekly prizes that were available thanks to our investment. (It was this one – not an affiliate btw, I just really like Nicole)
- Commit to being active daily. If you have a smart phone or activity tracker, it’s easy to track how active you are, and/or commit to getting a certain number of steps every day. Simply going for a walk is the easiest way to increase your total daily energy expenditure (often referred to as TDEE). I set my fitbit daily step goal at 12,000, which really motivates me to get out and take a walk every morning!
- Find home workouts on Youtube. During the holidays it’s nearly impossible to get to the gym, and sometimes, especially if you’re traveling, going for a run isn’t a great option either. That’s when it’s time to pull out your phone or laptop and look up a yoga workout on Youtube. Honestly, we could probably all use a little extra stretching in our lives any time of year. (I really like Parks and Yoga’s Youtube Channel)
- Estimate portions. I know this might be hard on the holiday itself, but leading up to Thanksgiving day, rather than trying to say no to every treat, just be mindful about what you’re eating and how much. Knowing roughly what your protein, fat, and carb macro portions look like without weighing is a great skill to have!
- Make smart swaps. If you find yourself eating too many cookies, or want pie after dinner, skip the potatoes or pasta. Prioritize protein in your meals to minimize temptation for treats. One of my favorite swaps is using cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Yummy if you like the flavor of cauliflower, and leaves more room for stuffing.
It all comes down to the mindset you have going into the holiday season.
Remember: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are just three days. Three days of crazy eating isn’t going to undo all the healthy eating and/or exercise you’ve done this year.
But by the same token, there are six weeks between now and New Year’s. You can either make a lot of progress in six weeks, or undo a lot of progress – it all depends on how you choose to tackle the holidays.
P.S. One of my biggest goals for staying healthy during the holiday season is getting 7+ hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep not only makes you feel terrible, and causes less than optimal body functioning, it also makes it hard for you to make good decisions (like “put that piece of pie down” kind of decisions). So maybe above all, try to get enough sleep during the holidays!
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