Wow. If you’re anything like me, these past couple weeks have done a number on the good ol’ “healthy lifestyle” I like to think I maintain. Seriously, I was doing pretty well until halfway through December when everything slowly fell apart. My birthday is December 13th and is always a good excuse to eat whatever I want (specifically birthday waffles and lots of cake) and then Christmas comes to soon after that it turns into a 2-week long sugar-fest. Compared to past years, I really didn’t do as badly this year. That said, having eaten so clean in the months leading up to December made the consequences far worse. By New Year’s Eve my body felt horrible. On top of that, my car broke down leaving me stuck at home eating leftover pizza on New Year’s Day until I went to watch the Rose Bowl with friends and followed the pizza with some game day snacks.
It’s amazing to see how drastically my energy is affected by all this junk, not to mention my poor bloated belly. This year I was a lot more conscious of how my body felt and I tried to listen to it more which I think has kept my situation from becoming even worse. I learned some tips and tricks that helped me to at least maintain my weight through the holidays and be able to continue my workouts, even if they weren’t quite the quality of my October or November sessions. I definitely was better about following these guidelines the week before Christmas than I was the week after Christmas, and I can tell such a difference in the way my body feels. Here are some of the things I learned that can help-
- Eat slowly. Seriously. This is hard for me. I love to eat and I eat fast and a lot. I got a whole new perspective about eating when I listened to this podcast (if it doesn’t link the specific episode, it is episode 39) in which Serene and Pearl talk about the importance of slowing down and taking time to enjoy the process of eating. I won’t even try to explain the scientific explanations that they shared on the podcast because I would for sure botch it, so I definitely recommend listening to get a better understanding of how important eating slowly is for our digestion and feeling of fullness. Taking this to heart when eating foods that weren’t the best for me really helped me with portion control, and I came to realize how much more enjoyable it was to savor a little taste of a Christmas cookie rather than wolfing down half a pan and not even remembering it.
- Drink water. This was a biggie for me. I normally drink a decent amount of water, but I recently lost my quart size Nalgene water bottle, and as sad as it is to say this– somehow not having that stupid water bottle has really put a damper on my hydration. I guess I forgot that we have a shelf full of perfectly good drinking glasses that can also hold h2o. I found that a lot of the unhealthy foods I have been eating cause me to retain water and feel very bloated, so when I intentionally drink more water it seems to help to flush that out. Additionally, I notice my cravings for sugary foods and carbs go down when I am well hydrated. Sometimes my desire to snack is actually just dehydration and all I need is water.
- Kefir. Kefir is my new obsession. Seriously. I can’t stop drinking it. I love how it tastes, I love how it makes me feel, I love that it is full of probiotics, I love everything about it. I have been struggling with feeling bloated after eating, like, always. It doesn’t matter what I eat, it can be the healthiest meal but I am still going to feel my belly poke out and my jeans get tight. I got on Kefir during November and finally this issue started going away! I normally drink some first thing in the morning and have a swig after most meals just to help the digestion process. It doesn’t correct eating poorly, but it’s my go-to for feeling better after eating poorly.
- Exercise. Do. not. stop. exercising. In the past, that is exactly what I have always done. My nutrition goes downhill so I feel bad so I don’t exercise. This year I made a point to still get to the gym at least 3 times a week, even if it wasn’t for as long or I didn’t do as much as I would have otherwise. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, do something to get moving and active. For example, I am still dealing with my broken down car today and can’t make it to the gym, so this morning I created my own 15 minute HIIT routine to get my heart rate up and do a little leg strength training. Anything is better than nothing, and when I exercise regularly I find it cuts my desire to snack and causes me to crave healthy foods rather than sugary junk. Getting those short and sweet workouts in really helps the train to not completely derail.
How did you do this holiday season? Do you have any tips and tricks for not falling off the bandwagon, or any suggestions for the road-to-recovery? Let me know!