Thanksgiving. A time of celebration with loved ones, near and far. A holiday completely themed around an abundance of food. And while there is without a doubt so much to give thanks for this time of year, it can be one of stress, temptation and falling out of sync with your healthy habits for many.
As a coach, I see it too often: we set intentions for keeping ourselves on track during the holidays, but as soon as our eyes set on the feast and the buzz of family and friends (and well, maybe the buzz of alcohol also sinks in ;)) are in place, we let it all fall by the wayside. We overindulge. We stay up later than normal. We stress. We eat “all the things”. And as a result we find ourselves feeling shameful and crappy right before the holiday parties all December long commence.
My advice? Take a deep breath. Visualize how you want to FEEL through the holiday season, and make a plan. And by that, I don’t mean a 15-item long daily list of things you need to accomplish to be “on track”, but 1-2 KEY things you are willing (and able) to commit to during the busy time of year that help you feel good. Here’s a few ideas:
MEDITATION / DEEP BREATHING If you do one thing during the holidays, set some time aside to either meditate or practice some deep belly breathing. Not only will you oxygenate your brain, but you’ll calm your central nervous system, which can affect your fight or flight response in your body, which when set off can stimulate cravings for sugar and carbs (quick energy). New to meditating? There are a lot of apps out there that provide curated, guided meditation recordings to help you quiet your inner chatter. My personal favorite is Headspace. I know meditation can seem “woo woo” in the beginning, but having personally developed the practice, I can say it has 100% changed my resilience and reactivity to stressful situations. Not into meditating? Practice taking 3 deep belly breaths through your nose (4 counts in, holding for 7 counts, and exhaling for 8 counts) and exhaling through your mouth. Reassess how your body + mind feel afterwards. This is the “4-7-8” breathing technique from Dr. Andrew Weill.
MOVEMENT In my opinion, there is no form of movement that’s too big or too small to go unnoticed. ANYTHING goes, especially during the holidays when you are often either traveling, hosting and otherwise out of your normal routine. My personal favorites? If it’s not too chilly, go for a walk (with or without loved ones). Getting fresh oxygen to your brain, sunshine on your skin and a chance to step out of your hectic schedule can have a serious impact on your mood.
DANCE PARTY- put on your favorite tunes (double whammy to do it while prepping or cleaning after a meal) and shake it off. Prefer a regimented routine but don’t have a gym handy? Grab your phone and download a Fitness app (my personal favorite is NEOU (check out my friends at JaneDO!) they have all levels, varieties and duration of workouts to choose from. You can do it in your jammies in the living room!
HEALTHY BREAKFAST The easiest way to make sure you eat healthy? Start with breakfast. Notoriously known as the “most important meal of the day” for good reason: what you eat for breakfast can often determine your blood sugar reactivity for the day- which can then affect your sugar cravings and food choices to follow. The number one recommendation I have is to start your day off with some form of protein. Eggs are always great, and easy to prepare. If you have the equipment and ingredients handy, a protein shake is a great option too. (My go-to shake: 1 scoop Vital Proteins vanilla collagen powder, 1 handful spinach, ½ banana, handful of berries, 1 tbsp chia seeds and 1 cup almond milk. Remember how I said to focus on 1 or 2 key things? Setting yourself (and your day) up for success by making a healthy breakfast your non-negotiable guarantees you’ll start your day off on the right foot, with confidence, and set you up to be more mindful of healthy choices throughout the day.
BRING A HEALTHY DISH TO THE HOLIDAY FEAST When we’re faced with so much tempting (and delicious) food, it’s HARD to control your appetite (trust me, I get it- I LOVE food). Which is why I think it’s always a great choice to bring some healthy to contribute to the holiday feast. This way, you’re guaranteed to have something you can eat without guilt. Here’s a healthy side dish recipe to get your creative juices flowing:
Garlic Parm Cauliflower: (below serves 4)
1 heads cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
1 tbsp himalayan sea salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
4 cloves fresh garlic
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Handful of fresh thyme springs
To prepare: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine the above ingredients, mix well until evenly coated. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up!) and spread cauliflower mixture evenly. Roast for about 15-20 minutes or until desired. Can brown by broiling for 2-3 minutes. Enjoy!
Jamie is the founder of Jamie FWD: Nutrition + Lifestyle Coaching in Jersey City. Jamie’s coaching practice is built on three key principles for creating harmony and health: nutrition, mentality and movement. Her coaching style is grounded in psychology and holistic health, and she works with her clients to create action-oriented programs to achieve their wellness goals, all while making it fun, approachable and sustainable. She creates an relationship with her clients that fosters confidence in their mentality, and comfort and love in their bodies. Jamie is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and has continued her studies in women’s hormonal health and mental health. She is a Level I Spirit Junkie Graduate, and a trained dance fitness professional. You can find her on Instagram, and her current website. Look out for her new site, coming soon.
Love what you read? Head to Deals and Coupons for a special offer on Jamie’s FWD Five Day Reset, starting LIVE on December 2nd!