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Episode 179: 5 Health Hacks for this Holiday Season!

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I need to tell you something that's probably going to make you mad... I never gain weight over the holidays.

Is it because I don't let myself have any holiday treats? No.

Is it because I make myself workout an hour a day? No.

Is it because I skip all the holiday parties and boozy drinks? Nope. 

I thoroughly partake in all of the fun of the season! But I do have a few habits that keep me from getting so far off course that have to start back at ground zero come January...

1. Don't try to swap your favorite recipes, just swap ingredients!

Every year I enjoy pumpkin pie, stuffing, Christmas cookies, and hot chocolate. I just make them with healthier ingredients like gluten free flour, ghee instead of butter, coconut sugar or maple syrup instead of white sugar, coconut or almond milk instead of cow's milk, and I make things from scratch instead of getting them store-bought so I can control the ingredients. 

This way I don't feel like I'm missing out, but I also don't constantly feel bloated and gross. Plus, I don't go into the New Year regretting all my holiday decisions. 

 2. Practice setting boundaries.

Some examples of phrases to use this holiday season are:

  • "I will not respond to comments about my body/diet." 
  • "I'm not interested in talking about politics, if you need to I have to leave the room."
  • "No, thank you."
  • "We're leaving at 9 o'clock."

The holidays can be a tough time for family dynamics, but it also can be a great time to practice breaking unhealthy patterns. 

My biggest piece of advice when setting boundaries (particularly when you get push back) is remain as emotionally detached as possible. Don't get roped into over explaining yourself or arguing over your boundaries. Repeat yourself in a calm and cool way, and if the push back continues that's when it's time to enact your boundaries and remove yourself from the situation entirely. 

Always remember, boundaries are about you setting consequences for other peoples' behavior, they are not there to control someone else's behavior. 

3. Don't totally ditch your routine. 

So many of us put our health completely on the back burner during the holidays because we think, "what's the point?" 

We put a halt to our workouts, we stop making any effort at choosing healthy food, and we just figure we'll get back to it come the new year. 

But there really is no reason to go full fuck it like that. You can enjoy holiday treats and traditions and you can ease your foot off the fitness gas pedal without bailing out of the car altogether. 

It's 3 months of your life, you can still get yourself up and walking regularly.

You can fit in a 30 minute workout. 

You can cook healthy meals in between your favorite dishes and desserts. 

Life does not have to go on pause between October and December. 

4. Create new traditions that don't revolve around food.

I give this advice every year because it's such a great way to take the focus off food without depriving yourself of food. 

Some of my favorite holiday activities include:

  • Making a Christmas tree out of a tv guide.
  • Pulling out our Christmas coloring book that sits on the kitchen counter through all of December.
  • Crocheting or knitting a scarf or hat.
  • Playing card and board games with my family. 
  • Going sledding (if you live somewhere with snow).
  • Going iceskating.
  • Walking around and looking at Christmas lights.

5. When you go to a holiday party, eat before and/or bring your own dish.

Even when we have the best of intentions, it's really hard to make good choices when we're starving and when we have little control over the food in front of us. 

Which is why when we have one holiday party after another, we can quickly find ourselves having to reach for our stretchy pants. 

Now I'm not saying not to enjoy the dessert table or not to eat what the host has prepared. But at least if you bring your own healthy dish you know you're getting some good nutrients in and if you eat a snack before hand you won't be ravenous and in full on binge-mode. 


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