Staying on Track Over the Holidays

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The holidays are just around the corner and it really is a beautiful time of year to spend with family and loved ones. I really love getting to connect with people I haven’t seen in a while, plus the kids are off school, so we tend to do a lot of hosting and visiting. And with the weather getting colder, we also spend many evenings curled up cozily in front of the TV or fireplace.

We often associate the holidays as a time of indulgence, and as a result, we may end up waking up on January 1st already behind on our New Year's Resolution.  This post is not about deprivation. I still want you to have fun and enjoy doing all the things you love with the people you love.  I do however want to give you a few tips that will help you stay focused on your health goals so you can start the new year ahead of the game.  

Here a three ways you can help yourself to make healthier eating choices despite all the yummy food around us over the holidays:

1. Embrace the cold weather and make warm, nutritious filling meals your friend.

Think stews, soups and even oats. You can make a huge batch on the weekend, portion it out and have it ready for the rest of the week. When making your soups and stews, fill them up with delicious, healthy and whole ingredients like veggies, beans, lentils, whole grains and protein. Also don’t forget about breakfast, make a huge batch of oats with cinnamon and almond butter topped with maple syrup and fruit and you’ll have a hearty breakfast to warm you up before you head out for the day ;)

2. Be prepared.

Always have fruits and veggies and healthy snacks on hand to munch on. With colder weather, we tend to be spending more time at home which, in turn, usually means more trips to the kitchen. Things like veggies and hummus, apples and almond butter and some healthy baked goods can fill the munchies in a healthy way.

3. Stay hydrated!

Hydration is important for the body's well-being and for weight loss in particular. In the colder weather, we tend to drink less water (partly because it's cold out and we might feel we're in the mood for one of those yummy seasonal drinks ... Vanilla Latte anyone?). We also lose more moisture in the winter because of all those heaters drying out our homes, offices, and cars. It’s important that we replenish that water loss and hydrate our bodies. If you’re not up for drinking cold water, you can get your water intake with teas.

Baby, it's cold outside! Here are three ways you can stay active over the holidays.

1. Make it daily.

You don’t have to spend an hour at a time, just a quick 10-15 mins workout in the morning can get you warmed up and ready for the day.  Try a combination of 3-4 exercises like jumping jacks, squats, lunges and pushups, for 3 rounds and you just burned a couple hundred calories before you even left the house;) Try these quick at home workouts!

2. Take advantage of the weather, and try some winter outdoor activities.

Here in Canada, it’s cold for almost half the year. If you don’t get out and embrace the cold weather, you’ll be stuck at home and missing out on all that fresh air and vitamin D. Provided you have the right gear and are properly bundled up, you can take the family out for walks and hikes in the snow, try an outdoor skating rink, go sledding or even take a day or weekend trip skiing. These are all great activities that get your heart rate up and burn major calories.

3. Partner up!

We tend not to be as active in the winter and as mentioned before it’s so tempting to stay in and curl up on the couch. Get a fitness buddy that will help hold you accountable (and vice versa) during this season. Make a plan to take a class together, workout, or even meet up with at the mall for a walk and chat! A partner will help you stick to your commitment by motivating one another and holding each other accountable.  

Be realistic, it is the holidays after all. And I want you to enjoy!

Sometimes when we set too many lofty goals we set ourselves up for failure. If you are just starting off on your road to a more active lifestyle take it one step at a time.  Start with simple things that you can easily incorporate into your day, things like parking a little further from the mall entrance, taking the stairs up a few flights instead of the elevator, getting up out of your desk every 30 mins for a quick walk around the office.  I would also even suggest getting a tracking device such as a Fitbit or a pedometer app on your phone to track your steps and activity. This is a really good tool to track your movements throughout the day and making sure you reach your daily goal.  Plus, many of these allow you to add friends and there's nothing like a little friendly competition to keep you motivated!

Some more thoughts on eating over the holidays, because we all know it’s all about the food;)

Tis the season and our calendars are full with holiday lunches and dinners and family gatherings. The old adage "everything in moderation" is great to keep in mind.  And while it's totally ok (and natural) to treat yourself, try not to over-indulge too often. Before you know it, one cheat day turns into 10 and your pants are a little tighter for it.  If you DO tend to indulge at special events, try to compensate by making healthier choices for your other meals at home/work. Eat clean with whole foods and drink lots of water. Also, when you are at an event, you do not have to try every last hors d'oeuvre and dessert. Pick 2-3 of your absolute favourites and stick to those, and try to avoid going for seconds.  Make sure you are drinking lots of water at these events as well, as many of the seasonal drinks have added sugar and calories that you don’t need. One big thing I would also add is, it’s okay to say no! We are sometimes worried about offending and being the boring healthy one, but saying no and moving can give us so much power and help us realize that we have more self-control then we thought.

If you're going to a potluck, try being the person that brings something that's both nutritious AND delicious... remember, healthy does NOT have to mean boring! Nowadays with Pinterest and Instagram there are so many resources to help you make healthier & tastier versions of your old favourites.  Not to mention, doing so will guarantee that you'll have at least one healthy option to choose from when you're at the event. :)  Here are a few dishes that I know will be a hit!

Raw Cacao Chocolate
Citrus Quinoa Salad
Avocado Chocolate Mousse