The holidays are here! Haul out the holly and the parties and the cookies and the visits from loved ones… the list goes on. With all of the good stuff, though, comes that lurking stress about how those seasonal treats might impact your health goals. You need some solid wellness tips to navigate all of it.
The holidays — and all of the yummy things associated with them — are supposed to be fun. So where do those icky feelings even come from?
“We see the holidays as a time to fall off the clean eating bandwagon, telling ourselves we will fix it in the new year,” bulldog leader and certified nutrition therapy practitioner Haley Halteman says. (She’s our in-house pro so we trust her, obviously.) “It creates this sense of dread surrounding holiday food and parties, while simultaneously stimulating our craving to consume as much ‘forbidden’ food as possible before the holidays are over.”
With all of these mixed messages working on us, it’s no wonder that we all feel so much stress and pressure around food and weight during this season!
You already know that feeling guilty about what you eat is not productive, but what else can you do to ensure that you feel as good about what you’re putting in your body as possible during this festive time of year? Try these seven wellness tips from Haley!
1. Fuel up throughout the day.
You might feel powerless to control the food options that are offered to you at holiday parties or family dinners during this festive season, but you can be the master of your own destiny when it comes to what you’re eating when you’re on your own time! (It sounds dramatic, but it’s true.)
Haley recommends focusing on complete, nutrient-dense meals throughout the day. Enjoying these smaller, well-rounded meals should eliminate any urge you might feel to binge on holiday treats the minute you see them. It helps with that whole moderation thing!
Steady, nutritional eating over the course of the entire day also gives your metabolism a much-needed boost so that you can more efficiently process your favorite festive sweets. According to Duke Health, “grazing” is a surefire way to help your metabolism run more smoothly.
2. Slow it down!
You’re sitting down to a meal, not running a marathon. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!
Eating more slowly, Haley says, improves digestion processes and gives your body a chance to tell you that it’s full before you’re on the other side of overeating. Taking your time to eat will also help you enjoy your food that much more… and it might even give you a little extra time with loved ones, too!
See? We’re not just in the business of wellness tips. We’re helping you have more fun.
3. Snack on veggies.
You can’t really go wrong with vegetable snacks — especially during the holidays, when many of the meals you’re eating might be heavier and richer. Leaning on fresh veggies as snacks a little more than usual at this time of year will prove an important balance for your bod and will give you much-needed energy if (/when) those holiday meals leave you feeling a little lethargic.
You can be proactive with this wellness tip by spending a little time at the beginning of the week cutting up your favorite raw vegetables and portioning them out in your refrigerator. That way, when you’re craving a snack, it will be easy to grab something clean!
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Let’s get real: you should be drinking plenty of water throughout the year. But paying a little extra attention to hydration during the holidays can be an effective way to balance your nutrition.
Haley tells us that thirst signals are often disguised as hunger — so even though you might think your body is calling out for another sugar cookie, it’s possible you’re just thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water before you fill your plate. If you’re still hungry after that, we fully support you grabbing that cookie.
Water is also key for detoxifying, so as you indulge in sugar, booze, and other special treats, staying hydrated will support your body as it regulates itself.
5. Add some tea to your bedtime routine.
Here’s a twist to your typical nighttime rituals: dandelion root tea!
According to Haley, dandelion root has been proven to detoxify the liver, so if you like to celebrate the holidays by toasting your loved ones, it could be an important element of your holiday health regimen. And since your body does its best detoxifying at night, drinking that dandelion root in tea form before you hit the hay is ideal.
6. Prioritize movement.
With loved ones in town and treats to eat and wintry weather outside, you might feel less motivated than ever to make exercise a priority… but resist the urge to abandon your fitness rituals entirely! We offer regular exercise as a wellness tip in all seasons, and it can really go a long way toward helping you feel your best in the midst of the indulgent holiday season, in particular.
Go for a butt-busting workout or a few rounds of bodyweight exercises. Haley says that physical activity supports the lymphatic system and it works to flush toxins out of your body. It doesn’t hurt that exercise is also beneficial for your mental health, according to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. As fun as the holidays can be, they can also be stressful — we’re just being honest — and making time for regular movement will relieve stress, improve your mood, and increase your energy.
7. Detoxify with more yoga!
When in doubt, yoga it out.
All kinds of exercise can be beneficial during the holiday season, but the twisting that happens during a solid bulldog yoga session can really help remove those toxins from your system! (Sweating doesn’t hurt, either.)
Our bulldog online classes give you access to our high-intensity yoga no matter where you are, so whether you’re traveling to see family or just don’t feel like leaving your house this December, you can get your body moving.
Follow these wellness tips to maintain some much-needed balance in your health and nutrition this holiday season…
1. Eat small meals throughout the day. This will help you practice moderation when it comes time to party and will also support a healthy metabolism.
2. Regulate your eating pace. We know those holiday treats and meals are delicious, but it doesn’t have to be a race to eat them! Eat slowly so you can better tune in to your body and its signals that you’re full.
3. Prepare raw veggie snacks. Get ahead of holiday snack cravings by stocking the fridge with plenty of your fave vegetables. These will help balance all of the rich meals and snacks you’re enjoying!
4. Stay hydrated. If you’re craving more cookies or a second helping at a holiday meal, try having a glass of water first. You may just be thirsty.
5. Try dandelion root tea before bed. Dandelion root is great for detoxifying the liver, so this wellness tip is especially helpful for you bulldoggers who love to celebrate the holidays with lots of toasts!
6. Stay active. Maintain a consistent exercise routine to support your body as it detoxifies — and to boost your mental health.
7. Hit the mat. Yoga is a great option for holiday season exercise, and you can even do it at home (or on the road) with bulldog online!
Rest assured that we are here for all of the seasonal treats and general deliciousness… and we’re sure you and your loved ones have your share of amazing recipes and edible traditions. Integrate these wellness tips into your holiday routine to help balance all that indulgence and feel your very best. That’s the most important thing!
What are your favorite holiday treats?
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Featured image: Lydia Matzal/Unsplash; Water image: Clint McKoy/Unsplash