By Hope Zvara – Mother Trucker Yoga
For most, when the holidays come around every ounce of health logic goes out the window, and the phrase “After the holidays I’ll eat better” comes out. Which is really a free pass to yourself to have zero self-control and awareness of what you are about to do for nearly two solid months.
And for drivers who may already struggle with finding a healthy balance between nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle, the holiday free pass can put them even further out of alignment with their health goals.
Health does not and should not be something you turn off and on, but rather something that you integrate into your lifestyle in a way that you feel as though you can maintain where you are right now. Now is not the time to come up with crazy fitness goals or adopt extreme health diets, nor is telling yourself you will flip an unrealistic switch once the holidays are over. Because you and I both know that is a lie (Yep, I said it).
When to Indulge
No matter if you are on the road or at home for the holidays, it’s essential to keep splurges in check — especially on the go.
And while everyone else is telling you all about the new, fanciest diets, I’m telling you that moderation, no matter what, is key. The key is to moderate the calories and at the same time choose foods packed with more nutritional value.
What foods to choose from?
- Lean meats: chicken, turkey, or sh, opt for fun seasonings rather than dressings to keep your calorie and sugar consumption in check.
- Nuts and seeds: raw, or lightly salted, be careful of trail mixes with dried fruits, chocolate, etc that can pack on extra sugar and calories when consumed in high quantities.
- Vegetables: Opt for raw vegetables, grilled, oven-roasted, or steamed, and have fun with seasonings; opt for coconut oil, olive oil, or even toasted sesame oil and fresh herbs for a little extra flavor.
- Whole grains: Opt out of refined grains, and look for barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, and oatmeal and consume them in moderation.
Holiday eating is often a mindset shift more than a diet shift. Having a plan and not arriving at a holiday party stressed, or eating simply because everyone else is, can be key to keeping a healthy body and not feeling the stress of extra pounds come the first of the year.
Holiday Health Strategies
Create a healthy routine now, rather than later. A big part of any lifestyle change is your mind and how you think about it. If you keep telling yourself, you will care about your health later, what you are really saying to yourself is “my health is not a priority”. Hence, the reason you then struggle to make any healthy changes come the first of the year.
Instead, create a plan you can adopt through the holidays and beyond.
Healthy Holidays Strategy Guide
Hydrate. Dehydration not only leads to brain fog and constipation, but often we think we are hungry when we are thirsty. So, drink up. Opt to get your water in at the beginning of the day to curb hunger and help you feel your best when unhealthy foods are coming your way.
Healthy foods first. Holidays or not, instead of making yourself choose healthy foods or indulgent ones, choose healthier foods first. Then allow yourself a dessert, or piece of pie afterward. By filling up with good nutrition first you can hopefully curb that desperate need to eat any food when really your body is craving nutrition. And when you don’t get that nutrition, you just keep eating and we all know where that approach leads us.
Move and breathe. Anxious eating and stressful holidays are not a good combination. Stress eating is often an unconscious coping mechanism much used during the holidays when they aren’t comfortable with their company. Make it a point to schedule a few minutes of activity, walking, yoga, a few bicep curl reps, and breathing exercises. They all can help you get your mind in a better place so you can step into the holiday festivities feeling more in control. Remember no one makes you put food in your mouth except you. And if you don’t feel in control, take back control. Adopting activities even for just five minutes a day can help you destress and feel like you can be the driver of your life.
No matter what the holidays have in store for you, opt for a game plan so you can prioritize your health and change lanes towards a happier, healthier, stress-free you. It’s your job to create a game plan so no matter what you come up against you can stay in control and feel like you can have a slice of cake but not eat it all.