HAPPY HOLIDAYS, my darling friends! 😀 ❤
I must admit, the first snowfall made me SUPER sad, because I really do not enjoy snow and how cold it gets here in Montreal (WAY CRAZY below freezing), and the inconvenience of public transport and walking around in the craziness…. the lack of sunlight, the lack of vitamin D, it can really get to you. But quickly, I always turn my thoughts to how blessed and happy my life is. How TRULY blessed I am to have a loving family, a beautiful circle of friends (both in the flesh and far, far away), a warm home, food on my table, a wonderful job with wonderful people, a developing business, my HEALTH…… there is SO much we have in our lives to be thankful for, and this time of year is the perfect moment for reflection, reminiscing, understanding, helping, giving, loving, filling the world with light and setting our intentions for the next 12 months.
There are a lot of wonderful things about this time of year, too – SNOW (it’s pretty, shiny, white and fluffy), earlier nights (more sleeping! zzzz….), frosty mornings (it looks so peaceful out there!), keeping warm by the fire (or a crackling fire on the TV screen), cups of tea and coffee, spending time with your loved ones away from the stresses of every day life, thinking of those less fortunate than us and giving to them freely, giving to OTHERS freely without the thought of GETTING, the birth of Jesus, the miracle of life and the universe, the season of love and light. It’s beautiful. It’s magical. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
It is also a time of year when a lot of us gain unwanted pounds! With all the holiday parties, the temptation can become really intense. LOADS of fried, battered foods, stuffed turkeys, fatty meats, veggies absolutely DRENCHED in oils and slathered in cheese, platters of veggies with dips, salty crackers and cheeses, salted nuts, candied fruit (I mean really? Isn’t fruit sweet enough?!), cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, alcohol, wine… it’s never-ending TORTURE for ANYONE who is actively trying to become healthier and live a healthier life. Everyone around us is indulging (read: OVERindulging) and basically forcing food down our throats, and no matter how politely we say “no, thank you”, the guilty associated to not trying Aunt Bessie’s famous pie leads us down the rabbit hole. I GET IT. I’ve been there, my friends. I KNOW that the temptation is real, I know that it can put you into the worst spiral of binge/starvation, or end up in a total binge-fest and come January 1st, you have no idea how to get out of it.
Even seemingly healthy foods such as nuts become unhealthy as the portions double, triple and even quadruple. We consume so much food during the holidays, much more than we would at any time of year. It’s also SOOOO easy to over-eat and drink in excess when you’re surrounded by friends and family, sitting down, having fun, not a care in the world. And the next thing you know, you’re waking up with a killer hangover, dehydrated, bloated, feeling sick. And not to mention a few pounds heavier. Although of COURSE it’s totally okay to indulge every once in awhile, over consumption in one night can undo some of your hard work. So let’s find ways to help you stay on track, and still enjoy your holidays!
– KEEP UP YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE! Don’t let yourself get lazy just because “it’s the holidays!” It’s cold outside, and we don’t get much physical exercise outdoors, so take it indoors! Do a workout every day (either your DVD or find a routine online, there are tons!). Don’t skip any! In fact, from today until the end of the year, make it a point to be active EVERY SINGLE DAY! On your “rest day”, make it an active rest day by doing some yoga or Pilates. When you start your day off with exercise, it sets the perfect tone for a healthy day. You feel accomplished and proud, and you won’t want to ruin your hard work by eating poorly. Whenever you can, get your workout done in the AM, so that your day starts off healthily.
– WORK OUT HARDER! The day before and the day of a big party, make your workouts the most intense you’ve ever done! There are easy ways to up the intensity of your workouts: lift heavier (do less reps if you must, but GO HEAVY), jump higher, PUT A SMILE ON (this helps loads!), tell yourself you have tons of energy and mentally prepare yourself to go hard, put on music that gets you excited, have a workout buddy! The hard, sweaty workout will make you CRAVE HEALTHY FOOD (seriously!).
– EAT AWESOMELY ALL WEEK! The week leading up to the parties (i.e. this week!), eat AMAZINGLY. Have lots of veggies, lots of fruits, whole grains and tea. Eat lots of filling, plant foods, and this will not only make you feel great, but actually reduce your cravings once the parties hit!
– PLAN YOUR TREATS. You know there is going to be tons of delicious foods at your parties, but you also know which ones you can pass on and which ones you die for every year. Indulge SMARTLY – pick one (or two, and split them in half) desserts or guilty pleasures that you REALLY want, and eat it slowwwwly, savouring every bite. You were good all week – enjoy your treat!!!!
– EAT BREAKFAST! Don’t skip any meals EVER, and especially don’t skip breakfast on the day of a party. Eating in the morning is super important to set your metabolism for the day, it satiates you and actually makes you less prone to overeat throughout the day than if you skipped this meal entirely.
– MAKE A HEALTHY DISH TO BRING TO A PARTY! It doesn’t need to be crazy elaborate. Something as simple as a huge mixed salad with organic greens, quinoa, mixed raw nuts, chopped up apple and pear, hemp seeds, avocado, red pepper and a light dressing is delicious, nutritious and FILLING. Make a batch of raw brownies (by mixing dates, cacao powder, maple syrup and walnuts), or my Two-Ingredient Cookies and BOOM, you’ve got your dessert down!
– EAT BEFORE GOING TO THE PARTY! Having a nice salad with some beans, an avocado sprinkled with hemp and flax, a bowl of fruit or some oats will fill you up and you’ll be less prone to “graze” and overeat!
– SKIP THE HORS D’OEUVRES! You already ate before the party, so you’re not hungry! Avoid that temptation just cause it’s “there”. Drink water instead to keep those hands occupied.
– DRINK WATER! Water is GREAT! Keep filling up that glass, never let it be empty. Drink before the party, drink during, drink drink drink drink. Pee pee pee pee. I drink water like crazy, and I’m #alwayspeeing. But this is a GOOD thing. It keeps my hands occupied, it keeps me from grazing, it keeps me FULL and satisfied (we already ate, remember!?)! And it flushes all my toxins out. So just do it!
– LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION. You know this one. Alcohol is completely empty calories. They are absolutely useless carbs and sugar. Your body stores this excess “energy” (calories are energy, remember), into pockets of fat in your body, ence the term “beer belly”. Alcohol also lowers your metabolism (yikes) and lowers your inhibitions (double yikes). Save your calories for food! One or two little glasses of wine is enough to make you feel nice without getting sloppy.
– SAY NO TO BREAD! Again, empty useless calories. Bread has little to no nutritional value, so you can eat and eat and eat without getting full. The less nutrient-dense the food, the more nutrients your body CRAVES, signalling hunger pains, and hence, overeating. So avoid it, drink your water instead. Either way, you already ate before the party!!!!
– SCAN THE FOOD TABLE TO SEE WHAT LOOKS HEALTHIEST. If the veggies are steamed, pile them on! Try to avoid as much as possible anything that has been fried, cooked in oil, breaded or covered in cream or cheese. Go for the simplest foods, and eat a ton of salad. And if there is no simple food available, that’s ok cause you brought a healthy option, you smart thing!
– JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE OFFERS IT TO YOU, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD EAT IT. Don’t feel guilty for saying “no” to food. You can be super polite and honest about it. I’m vegan, so that’s my excuse, but for those of you who aren’t, simply saying “that looks truly AMAZING, maybe I’ll try some later, thank you so much” can work wonders.
– PICK ONE DESSERT AND STICK TO IT. Savour it. Close your eyes. Enjoy.
– EAT CONSCIOUSLY. This goes for your daily meals, too. Try to avoid reading/watching tv/surfing the web/looking at your phone while you eat. Look at and smell your food. Put the fork down with each bite. Chew until it is mostly dissolved. Swallow. Let the taste linger and enjoy it.
– EAT A BUNCH OF FRUIT! LIKE SERIOUSLY it’s natures dessert.
– EAT A BUNCH OF SALAD! With reckless abandon!
– STAND UP AND WALK AROUND. It can be super uncomfy to sit down for hours at a time. Get up, stretch those legs!
– DO NOT KILL YOURSELF OVER BAD CHOICES. You made an unwise decision. BIG FREAKEN DEAL. Enjoy it, and let it go. LET. IT. GO. You are human! You made the necessary plans and you did your best. Don’t throw everything outside the window just because of one choice. Eating like crap all night because you made one bad decision is like slashing all four tires of your car when you get one flat. It’s redundant. Move on!!!! And drink water. And resume your healthy routine tomorrow.
I hope these tips help you and give you ideas for your holiday get-togethers. The holidays are time for merriment, love and appreciating our lives and our friends and family. We are blessed to be able to share these moments. Make this holiday season a healthy and happy one. Enjoy the company of your loved ones (and of course your own company!) and have a beautiful time. Don’t stress too much about anything, just keep a light heart and a happy heart. Food shouldn’t rule your life, but if you’re committed to living a healthy lifestyle, you’ve got to plan ahead and go in with the right mindset. Your happiness does not depend upon the food you put in your mouth. You are MORE than that. You are a smart, beautiful and magical person with SO much to offer and SO much potential. Your soul shines when YOU shine and are happy, and when you take care of yourself. Truly. Start 2014 off on a high note.
I can’t wait to write to you again, one last time in 2013, so stay tuned for my next post about reflection and appreciation, and how to get the most out of your December 31st/January 1st experience this year.
Merry Christmas, I love you all!
Peace, love and light,