Mindful Living

How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

Written By: Kripa Jalan

How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

Take a minute, and imagine a vivid “film” of dinner with your extended family.

Everyone’s there – your mum, dad, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles. Don’t forget Oreo, the puppy.

Whoever it is for you, seat them at this table. You can smell the sweets, hear the crackers, and feel the warmth in the air.

Now, while these folks mean well, there may be a conversation or two about your eating habits or that extended cousin who bounced back to her pre-pregnancy weight miraculously. Someone may pressure you to eat more. Someone may bust your hump about why you’re not married. Someone may raise a question or two about what you’re doing with your life.

And there’s a bunch of temptations – widely known as “no-go foods” or dishes that upset your stomach, threaten your waistline, and booze that ensures you make less-than-ideal choices after a couple of drinks. They’re all calling out to you. It’s the holiday season. You’ve been “good.” You deserve a bit of indulgence. You’ll start fresh later when the magical “right time” comes.

You’re wired. It’s go time.

Listen, I get it.

Starting in October, I have clients, friends, and family come to me with questions about how to stay on track between Diwali and New Year’s Eve. I mean December is a blur, right? So, I wanted to share a few strategies to continue nourishing your health (while enjoying yourself, of course) during the holiday months. Here are my top 5 tips for healthier holidays!

#1 It’s really, really not about the food

While food is commonly referred to as medicine – it’s also a huge part of our culture, celebration, and connections. During these precious moments, food is just an added bonus to spending time with your loved ones. As great as food tastes, don’t make food the center of your attention. Don’t obsess over it.

#2 Learn to say “no, thank you” 

If you are physically full or genuinely don’t want to eat or drink something - politely let the person know that even though you think a dish is amazing, you’d probably give it a try some other time, and would like to take some home to eat the next day, or ask for the recipe.

#3 Tune into your hunger cues

Finishing all the food on your plate, regardless of how much is served, or how hungry you are will only lead to discomfort. To break the tendency of automatically eating everything on your plate, try leaving 1-2 bites of food uneaten. You want to feel satisfied, not stuffed.

#4 Move with love

Your workouts may or may not look ideal. The whole idea of perfection has to go. So how do you manage things? Well, if you can’t do the regular workout, do a bodyweight workout, or intervals on the stairs, or go for a run or a swim, or even a walk. 

Ask yourself: If I can't do what was asked of me, what can I do? What can I manage (physically, emotionally, mentally) now? Then go and do it.

#5 Veggies

Vegetables offer the most bang for your buck, in terms of nutrients. They’re a great way to create more volume and help you feel fuller. During the festive season, when we’re typically consuming dense foods, balance your plate out by adding a portion (or two) of non-starchy vegetables!

The holidays are just one example of many challenging eating scenarios that you may encounter throughout the year. If you find these minor hindrances to be overwhelming, or feel like you can’t do this alone, you don’t have to.

That’s why I created the 1-1 nutrition coaching program – which is designed to free you from food and diet obsession, maintain a balanced weight, improve your health and cultivate a positive relationship with your body – all while enjoying yourself.