Essential Strategies and Tips for Navigating the Holidays
“THE HOLIDAYS.” For some, those two words can conjure up feelings of anxiety, stress and an overall feeling of losing control when it comes to food and healthy lifestyle habits. This type of thinking can pre-determine how we handle the season and …. the results that follow on January 1st. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be this way. Try these strategies:
- Let’s Break It Down. In November and December there are 61 days. For those eating “3 square meals” per day, that’s 183 meals. How many of those are actual holiday, celebratory meals? I’m thinking 5 or so? Consider which ones those are and recognize that you can handle 5 out of 183! And, it takes less than 45 (or 30 minutes) to eat a meal!
- Lead from the Future; Act In The Now. Ask yourself where you’d like to be — what you’d like to achieve — by January 1, 2020. What do you envision for your health, weight, energy goals? Once you have that future goal or vision, that will determine the actions to take TODAY, and going forward, to make that a reality.
- Identify Your Perceived Obstacles and Challenges of the Season. Is it food? Drinks? Stress? Travel? Family? If any of these are challenges, identify WHY. Really break down why any of these could be reasons to derail your health goals. Plan how you will handle these challenges in a positive and non-reactive way. Working through these combined with support throughout the season can move you forward and past obstacles that have set you back in the past.
- Maintain Routines and Healthy Habits. You wouldn’t stop the healthy habit of brushing your teeth, so why discontinue other healthy habits? Continue fueling your body every 3 hours, start with a small breakfast, drink plenty of water, incorporate physical activity into your day, strive for 7 to 8 hours of of quality sleep each night. Choose more “Lean and Green” meals. In other words, prioritize your healthy habits. You’ll handle the demands of the season so much better!
- STOP. CHALLENGE. CHOOSE. This is perhaps one of the best exercises for maintaining control (emotional intelligence) vs being in a reactionary mode (primitive functioning) when confronted with choices that do not support our goals. STOP when confronted and pause for a few seconds. You will gain composure and control. CHALLENGE yourself: do I really want this? How will I feel 15 minutes from now? Does this support my goal? CHOOSE. Now, make a choice. Most of the time it will be far better than if you skipped this exercise. It takes seconds to go through this process.
- CONSISTENCY. Related to #4. Consistency of habits results in success. This is where dieting and a dieting mentality fail people: lack of consistency. That dieting mentality is short-term and often leads to yo-yoing, weight gain and a feeling of frustration and failure. It stops short of establishing new habits. Your health and lifestyle goals should be more about creating lifelong habits and not 30-day miracles: pace yourself for long-term success!
- Plan Your Holiday Meals. The holidays easily lend themselves to healthy meals. Turkey (and other proteins), root vegetables, fall vegetables, green salads, mashed cauliflower are just a few examples. Why not try some new recipes this year? If you’re in need of ideas, contact me for recipes!
Make it a happy and healthy holiday season! Your Health Coach, Beth