Everyone knows that the holidays are a time to be surrounded by family and friends, but what about that beautiful giant plate of cookies? The cake? The drinks? And of course simply the increased amount of food? I am 100% on team “soak up the season.” But I also want to stay fit and healthy while having fun. So over the past several years, I’ve developed some ways that I can soak up the joy of the season (aka food!) without getting crazy and losing sight of my goals.
First off, if you aren’t already doing intermittent fasting, I can’t stress enough the incredible benefits of doing so. Intermittent fasting is simply where you give your body several hours a day of no eating to let your digestion system rest and reset. It sounds difficult, but guys…. you can just do it while you sleep! So for instance, I try to be done eating around 7:00pm, and then I won’t eat breakfast until 11:00 am. That gives my digestive system 11 hours to rest.
The first couple of days you may think you’ll die… but I promise you won’t! I recently encouraged my sister, Tracy, to do intermittent fasting. She admitted that the first 3 days or so she thought her stomach may eat itself. But then it’s SO wild how quickly your body adjusts. Now, she and I both aren’t even hungry at 11:00am when it’s time to eat! She lost 10 pounds by ONLY doing intermittent fasting, and my other friend lost 8 pounds. Throughout your eating window you can eat anytime, but hopefully in healthy ways! And if you have a late dinner that night, you can always move your entire eating window back so that you break your fast later, and dinner therefore later as well. As long as your body has the time “off” from digesting!
Along with intermittent fasting, make sure you have a small, protein packed meal to break your fast before dinner so that you’re not scrounging for food when you get there. I love to start my day with breakfast food despite what time I’m breaking my fast. So on Christmas, I may start my eating window with eggs to get in a decent amount of protein. But of course if you wake up super shaky, have a little something in the morning regardless. Listen to your body. And ease into intermittent fasting if needed.
When it comes to the actual Christmas meal, whenever possible try to stick with larger portions of the protein packed appetizers and sides and smaller portions of the carb filled sides. Notice I don’t say avoid the carbs…. Because hello! It’s Christmas! Protein keeps your blood sugar stable. And without blood sugar spikes, your hunger is kept in control and you won’t get the sudden tired feeling either. Blood sugar spikes = storing fat… but we will talk more on that in another post! So just try to focus more on the appetizers with ham, shrimp, nuts, etc instead of having 10 rolls. Unfortunately my moto of “samples are calorie free” isn’t actually true… dang it. But it is Christmas, so enjoy them!
When it comes to the actual meal, go through the line and see what you REALLY want. That way you don’t start grabbing treats as you go, without realizing you would actually MUCH rather have whatever is unhealthy at the end of the line. It’s all about prioritizing! Not about missing out on the goodies!
Also, try not to eat the treats that are simply just there. For instance, I think gingerbread cookies are ridiculously cute. I’m so easily entertained…. So I eat one! But I would MUCH rather save those calories for a good ole warm brownie. Don’t deprive yourself, but just prioritize.
My trainer Val Smorol always suggests that I do a decent workout that focuses on legs during any day I’m going to eat like a crazy person. She says that doing so keeps your body burning calories all day since your legs house the biggest muscles in your body. That may not sound fun, but I promise after you get up and workout early, you’ll feel so awake, proud, energized, and even more excited to face the rest of the day. The euphoric feeling that comes from working out will only give your body an even better holiday! If you’re looking for a super simple leg workout you can do right in your home on the holidays, read this to learn more about my workout routine!
Overall, remember, this is just a couple days. One day won’t throw off all your goals. But it’s your habits that throw off your goals. So be careful what leftovers you bring back with you. Soak up the day – but don’t get caught in the cycle of the bad habits.
Most importantly…. let’s remember the reason for celebrating…. Jesus’ birth. I am so so grateful for all my family members I get to spend each holiday with. We may be crazy, but we are our family! I am also so grateful for all of you that are taking this new journey with me and I couldn’t be more grateful. Your support and love is absolutely priceless to me. Please keep it coming because I need it! I LOVE YOU ALL! MERRY CHRISTMAS!