The holiday season is upon us. This crazy, stressful time is when we often forget about the most important part of our lives: our health.
We often put ourselves last on the to-do list, and put off taking care of our bodies until spring time. This of course comes with the not-so-anticipated consequences of dealing with the binge eating aftermath that can extend until spring.
Here are seven ways you can take preventative measures now, so that you will make it a little easier on yourself come bikini season.
1. Junk Proof Your Home
This process starts with deciding what you’ll be making for the week to come. Take ten minutes to brainstorm several healthy dishes you can prepare and write down those ingredients on your shopping list. While you grocery shop, challenge yourself to as few “bar codes” as possible, meaning mostly fresh fruits & vegetables with little to no processed foods. Stick to shopping around the perimeters of the store, and avoid middle aisles where most junk foods hide. If you must indulge in something sweet such as a raw dessert.
2. Try a Green Juice Cleanse
The holiday season may seem like the worse time to start a cleanse but that’s in fact the total opposite. Going through a green juice cleanse will strengthen your immune system and rejuvenate your body during this stressful time of the year. It will give your body a nice break from the processed foods, and nourish it with essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, you’ll find yourself less likely to reach out for junk food after having detoxed your body.
3. Get on the Raw Dessert Train
You want to have your cake and eat it too? Whoever said that desserts have to be “bad” for you, certainly hasn’t tried raw, vegan desserts. This winter WOW your entire family with a healthy chocolate cake that’s free of processed ingredients, added sugars, gluten, dairy. Experiment with various raw dessert recipes, or order one from your local raw foods cafe. You’ll be surprised how healthy and delicious your new favorite holiday dessert could be!
4. Let Go of the All-or-Nothing Mentality
One major downfall for most of us is that we don’t believe it’s possible to actually enjoy the food and stay in shape at the same time. Keeping an awareness about your portion sizes and having fun with healthy food swaps will put you on the right track. If you are proactive earlier on, you’ll have less “damage” to remedy when the New Year rolls around. I also suggest setting up a reward system for the holidays. If you complete a hard workout or a longer run, have that piece of pie your grandma made. It’s about balance, not restrictions.
5. Build a Support System Around You
Surrounding yourself with others who are also trying to stay on track during the holiday season is an effective way to motivate one another. A support group will put you ahead of the game so that you won’t have to deal with the aftermath of binging come New Year. Join a local group of fitness enthusiasts to get you to staying in shape during the busiest time of the season.
6. Fill Your Tummy Before the Party
One rule I have is to never go to a party on an empty stomach. Although it does seem counterintuitive to eat before going to an event that will be filled with food, that is also the point of this exercise. About an hour before your event make sure to have a little bit of protein combined with fiber. The protein will help keep you fuller, as will the fiber. Have a piece of fruit with some almond butter or a cup of good quality yogurt low in sugar. Having a filled tummy will help put the breaks from unhealthy junk food and tempting desserts that may make you feel worse than when you started.
7. Slow Down and Enjoy Food Mindfully
If you’re going to treat yourself, make sure that you do enjoy it mindfully (as it goes with all food in general). Instead of just going through the motions, take a moment to indulge all your senses in the experience, and try to extend it by slowing down and putting your fork down in between bites.
Smaller bites with longer gaps in between = reaching satiety much faster
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