The holidays are behind us, and with them, the hot chocolate, apple cider, gingerbread cookies, mulled wine…all delicious and comforting. But they are also just the tip of the giant iceberg of food and alcohol that we are presented with at every holiday event and that leave us feeling depleted, bloated, and guilty. No matter how good our intentions are, and how determined we are to stay on track with our healthier eating habits, the last month of the year implies crazy amounts of food and little will power. Now that we’ve turned the corner into 2017, how can we re-focus on healthy living and spare ourselves the feeling of having eaten too much and needing to take a nap?
I was talking to one of my health coaching clients this morning, giving her some tips to survive the next couple of weeks with grace, and I thought sharing it with all of you would also be beneficial. So if you are already worried about not being able to bounce back from the Christmas table, here are a few suggestions that will help you navigate the first few weeks of the new year in a healthier and more empowered way.
- Balance your meals throughout the day as best as you can. This means that if you know you will be going to a social event with large amounts of tempting foods for dinner, for example, you can be extra mindful of your other meals during the day. Eat enough to feel satisfied, but make wiser choices such as eating more veggies than usual and cutting out the sugar, dairy, and processed carbs.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day. Some of you may already know that a lot of times our cravings are really signs of thirst. Staying hydrated will keep you fuller and less likely to overindulge past the point of satiety. It will also help you cleanse your body from whatever it is you drink or eat. And if you drink alcohol, commit to having a glass of water in between every cocktail or glass of wine.
- Go for the salad first, and chew it well. Restriction hardly ever works when it comes to food, especially when we are surrounded by many tempting options and see everyone around us enjoying them freely. A better idea? Make it your only goal to have a large portion of salad before you eat anything else. Most restaurants or gatherings of friends include at least one salad option (or cooked vegetable side dishes), and going there first will fill you up with good, tasty, and nutritious food, leaving less room (both in your stomach and in your mind) for heavy desserts and sweet drinks.
- Do a short detox. One to three days of raw foods or juices during the first weeksof the new
year will do wonders for your body. If you are one of the people who think juice cleanses and fasting in general are just a fad, you need to read more about it, and definitely listen to this enlightening talk by Mark Mattson, professor of Neuroscience at John Hopkins University. Fasting has nothing to do with restriction and strict dieting, and everything to do with loving you body and giving it proper maintenance. If you still don’t believe me, just try it and see how you feel!