If we relied on a "quiet time" during the year to start our health programs we would never take action. During the year we are faced with many "special" occasions, from birthdays to weddings, religious celebrations, Christmas, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the list goes on.
Instead of waiting for the light to go green or culling your health program, why not implement some of these easy steps and have it all? Fun and fantastic health without the brain fog, bloated belly, and tired soul.
Here are some of my tried and tested festive season hacks:
Get clear and have gratitude.
Write your health goals down and then be grateful for the end result as if you have already attained them. Those who express gratitude tend to be more energetic, hopeful, and happier. These people are also more motivated to perform, exercise more often, and take care their health.
Before you go out, think about how much and what you would like to eat and drink at the party. For example, I may tell myself I will only have one glass of red wine and the main meal tonight. I find that if I don't mentally prepare myself, I consume food and alcohol mindlessly and in excess. Declare it out loud to yourself or to someone.
Make and bring your own food.
Fill your plate with a palm portion of protein, 2 tablespoons of healthy fats such as olive oil or avocado, and 2 cups of vegetables and salad. This formula will help you feel full and satisfied, thus less likely to overeat.
Add apple cider vinegar.
Add some apple cider vinegar to your salad to support your blood sugar levels and satiety.
If dining out, choose an expensive glass of red wine so that you are less likely to drink copious amounts of alcohol—organic or preservative-free wherever possible. I aim for no more than one to two glasses.
Drink two glasses of filtered water before you arrive at a party, and make sure your first beverage is water at the venue instead of alcohol. Why not bring a few bottles of sparkling natural mineral water and limes so that you can quench your thirst and deter well-meaning friends from filling your glass up with alcohol?
Have a substantial breakfast.
Many people fast until they get to the party so that they can consume more indulgent food without the guilt. Please don't.
Breakfast helps to regulate your metabolism and blood sugar levels throughout the day. Missing breakfast leads to unbalanced cravings. Those who skip breakfast tend to consume more sugar and fewer vegetables during the day.
Have healthy "next day."
Even if you have no appetite for breakfast the day after the party, I suggest having a simple smoothie so that you don't make unhealthy food choices during the day because your blood sugar is erratic and you're ravenous.
It also helps me avoid a flat mood post-celebration. As an added bonus, you may even stop fearing indulgent celebrations moving forward because you have confidence in your ability to spring back and refocus on your big goal: optimal health.
Make an effort to talk to people so that you forget you are surrounded by platters of treats, dips, and bread.
If it feels right, let people know that you are on a health program. Say it confidently and with conviction. If someone in your life continues to challenge your health goals, then consider distancing yourself. It's futile to compromise your health goals for others when the only thing you and everyone around you stand to gain is better health and a happier you.
"Your choice of people to associate with both personally and business-wise is one of the most important choices you make. If you associate with turkeys, you will never fly with the eagles." — Brian Tracy
Occupy your time with things that move the body, the digestive system, and engage the mind. Whether you are the host or a guest at the party, get among physical activity. Move the body. Instigate a ballgame, board game, a swim, or paddle board (if you're in a warm climate).
After the party, go for a walk around the block. Better still, recruit another person to come with you. Guaranteed there will be someone at the party feeling rather full and dusty, who would be super keen to take you up on it.
Be the host.
Why not be the host? Then you can create an environment that is conducive to your goals. For example, host brunch or lunch at the beach or park with planned sporting activities, or plan a degustation with loads of healthy and delicious fodder.
An example of this may look like:
- Appetizer: antipasto with olives, grass-fed prosciutto, artichokes, marinated peppers or bell peppers, baba ghanoush, roasted tahini dip, gluten-free seed crackers
- Main: grass-fed roast lamb (or beef) with roasted vegetables and a green salad
- Healthy dessert: sticky date pudding or chocolate pecan brownies
- Beverages: organic red wine, sparkling natural mineral water, or filtered water with lemon
Make fun plans for the following day.
Organize an activity with friends or a loved one for the following morning so that you have something and someone to commit to and to be less dusty for.
I like to schedule an early morning yoga class with my partner and/or a friend followed by a wholesome breakfast and then an ocean dip.
Now over to you. Do you have any solid strategies to help you avoid demolishing your health plans? Share them on Facebook.