Wellness Within: Staying healthy during the holidays – it is possible

This column is done by Journey to Wellness with Deborah Peddle-Hann

“It’s the holidays so I can eat more.” “I deserve a treat after a hard year.” “I’ll start fresh in the New Year!”

Sound familiar?

Yep, so many of us (me included) have fallen in the trap of equating relaxing during the holidays to completely falling off the nutrition and fitness wagon. But as you have probably experienced, it usually ends up leaving us feeling awful and lazy. Sugar hangovers are a real thing!

But it IS possible to both enjoy the holidays and stay healthy, without feeling like you are sacrificing any hard earned down time. And I promise, you will feel better because of it!

Here are my TOP 5 TIPS for staying healthy during the holidays and even just choosing a couple to focus on for the next couple of weeks will leave you ready to start 2021 strong! I’d love to hear how it went for you so please send me a message or tag me on social media. I LOVE seeing how you and your family stay active!

1.    You eat what you see so make it healthy! We usually end up eating whatever is within easy reach, so make sure that you keep the junk food hidden and the healthy snack food out in plain sight. Order a fruit and/or veggie tray or make your own to have out on the counter so that instead of snacking on chocolates, chips and junk, you’ll be more likely to grab the healthier options. Charcuterie boards are another great option when you combine nitrate free meats, cheese, fruits, vegetables, nuts and a few crackers or bread. Just keep it small so you don’t go overboard. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat any unhealthy options. But it is easier to keep them limited when the healthier options are more readily available. 

2.    Water, water, water! Yes, you can still enjoy holiday beverages but make sure you are filling up on your water FIRST! Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health and energy levels, so try to include plenty of water each day for optimal benefit. I suggest starting the day with a full litre of water and then for every coffee/alcoholic/sugary drink, you drink another full glass of water.

3.     Protein & Produce every three hours! It is amazing how well this works. No, you do not need to starve yourself all day long because you know you are eating a big meal that evening. When you eat a little protein and produce every three hours throughout the day, you’ll keep your metabolism and energy high, plus you’ll be much less likely to overindulge in the evening.

4.     Daily Walk or Exercise! Resting and relaxing does not need to mean doing absolutely no exercise for 10 days. Start a holiday tradition of daily family walks to see the light displays or just head out on your own for a brisk walk in the fresh air. Your body and mind will thank you! Most importantly, make sure you do something immediately after your big holiday meal to keep the sleepiness away. Once you sit and relax after that meal, it will be almost impossible to get moving after.

5.     Take ME time! Yes, the holidays will still be great even if they aren’t perfect. We know this holiday season is going to look different and will probably be much quieter than we are used to so why not take advantage of the downtime GIFT we have been given! Sleep a little longer or take mid-day naps, hire a cleaner to clean your house, hop on Zoom to chat with people you haven’t seen in a while, purchase a massage gift card to enjoy once you are able (support local) and take time just to BE in the moment of the holiday instead of running yourself off your feet. Just let the days be what they are and enjoy the more peaceful moments you’ve been blessed with.

I truly hope you all have a healthy and safe holiday season. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to those around you and my sincere wish for everyone is that we are all together with those we love in 2021.