Your Guide to Healthy Holidays

By Lipsa Shah

It’s the most wonderful, overindulgent time of the year. You can workout twice a day, drink a gallon of lemon water, and stick to your nightly routine, but resisting temptation is always the hardest around holiday season. Let’s enter this season with a smile and a new approach, shall we? It doesn’t have to be like the last few years, ridden with possible anxiety and guilt. My body has taught me a lot through the years, and I’ve learned crash dieting and overexerting myself is simply not the way to enjoy the season—so here are a few tips that work for me:

Treat yourself every night.

Blasphemy. No, really, treat yourself every single night. I promise I’m not setting you up for failure. Think about it: If you’ve spent weeks depriving yourself of your favorite chocolate or refusing a glass of wine in order to reward yourself at holiday dinners, you will inevitably binge on all the foods that you denied yourself. The secret to avoid overindulging is to satisfy your sweet tooth every night. Enjoy a glass of wine or some chocolate (emphasis on some)—any treat that you would normally shun. Personally, I like to have two pieces of Theo’s 85 percent dark chocolate after dinner each night; they are so rich that I feel satisfied each time.

Bring your own food to work.

I typically avoid going out to eat as much as I can, but especially around the holidays. Between the holiday parties and work events in abundance around this season, you can forego the time and expense of a few dinners out. It’s a great way to save yourself a few bucks while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Stop by your local farmers market, pick up in-season fruits and veggies, and make dinner at home a few nights each week. Inexpensive and healthy pantry staples include beans, rice, quinoa, and oatmeal—now you’re set for an extremely healthy, extremely cheap start to your week.

Drink water!

It sounds so simple, but it’s something most people neglect. When you catch yourself craving a chocolate chip cookie after you just had lunch, drink a glass of water and give yourself 15 minutes. Sometimes cravings are our body’s way of telling us we are on the verge of dehydration. If you’re still craving your snack, feel free, but there’s typically a good chance you were just thirsty or bored. Drink 16 ounces as soon as you wake up, at least 32 ounces throughout the day, and always begin a meal with a glass of water. Water keeps you hydrated while also keeping you full.

Keep your digestion in check.

If you don’t already focus on your digestion, now is the time to start. Consistent digestion is imperative for your body to function internally, but it’s also a prerequisite for mental clarity. Let’s be honest, I doubt you’ll be focusing on much else when you’re backed up. You’re probably eating more than you normally would at these events and parties, which can send your digestion into a panic. Start your morning off with a probiotic (great for your gut), sip on some ginger tea or eat raw ginger throughout the day (no, the pickled ginger you get with your California roll doesn’t count), and take a few moments to really check in with your belly.

Meditate.

Last but not least, possibly the most simple tip of them all: morning meditation. A calm mind will set the tone for the rest of your day. I don’t know about you,but when I’m overwhelmed, I stress eat—which leads to binging, which leads to feeling like garbage for days to come. Some of my favorite meditation apps include Headspace, Calm, and 1 Giant Mind. Whether you commit three, five, or ten minutes, meditation is the best way to ensure clarity and better choices throughout the day.

Regardless of your diet and preferences, I hope everyone enjoys a guilt-freeholiday season!

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