Episode 066: The Holiday Survival Guide - Five Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season
Is it possible to enjoy the holidays without feeling guilt from overindulgence and sugar overload?
In this episode, we examine how you justify your choices, how you make your decisions, and how to slow down and be present this holiday season.
I also share five simple, practical and tactical strategies for before, during and after your holiday party so you can enjoy a healthier, guilt-free holiday season!
Listen to the Episode:
Click Here to Read the Episode Transcript...
Hi there! Welcome back to another episode of The Live FAB Podcast. I’m your host, Naomi Nakamura.
We are in the thick of the holiday season and I bet your calendar is full of parties, potlucks, get-togethers, you name it!
It’s the social time of year, also known as the most exhausting time of year for introverts like me, and our calendars are full of events and if they’re anything like the parties I’ve been to, they’re usually full of great food, drinks and tons of sugary sweets!
We associate food with happiness and everything tastes so good in the moment, but after hours or days later you feel it, whether it be puffiness, an upset, bloated and distended tummy, headaches, brain fog or even breakouts from all that sugar!
You feel so gross and yucky and you promise yourself that you’re not going to eat or drink anything at the next one!
But when you get there...I mean, come’on! It’s the holidays after all and these things only happen once a year! So you overindulge and the next day wake up with a raging headache, bags under your eyes and zits on your jawline.
Or maybe you’re like me and feel all of those things, plus the dreaded belly aches with no energy (hello wheat belly!)
I have been there so many times. And have learned, through lots of trials and errors that the holidays don’t have to be this way! It doesn’t have to be a rollercoaster of binging on treats, then regretting it the next day.
It is possible to enjoy and embrace all the goodness that comes with the holidays without feeling like you were hit by a train afterward!
It’s all about knowing how to slow down when you eat and tapping into your parasympathetic system, being mindful about stress and understanding what your non-negotiables are when it comes to what foods you put on your plate - all things we’ve been talking for the past few episodes!
Today, we’re going to explore some very simple strategies that you can try that can take the worry away, guilt and stress when it comes to enjoying your holiday festivities.
This is NOT about depriving yourself of all the treats and special meals. What I’m sharing with you is an action plan where you allow yourself to enjoy that small piece of gluten-free apple pie without beating yourself up or feeling like a wreck the next day.
Before we jump into my tips and strategies, I think it’s important to first take an honest look at what your triggers are and identify when you feel tempted to overindulge and why.
Notice I didn’t say to take a bite - I said overindulge. Importance difference, especially when we’re looking at our triggers and mindset around it. So take note of the different situations that you’ll be in, or have been in this holiday season and build some self-awareness around your triggers.
Here’s some examples of situations you mind be finding yourself in:
Eating all the hors-d'oeuvres at the holiday party The cake at the office party that you just can’t stop thinking about Mindlessly eating while watching tv All the cookies and chocolate you received as gifts. As a side note on this one, have you ever received a boxed of assorted Sees Candies and then just had to take one bite of each just to see what was in the middle? Bringing treats to your kid’s school Preparing food for a party you’re hosting Family get-togethers
All common situations during the holidays, right?
Okay, so let’s get into some tips that I have for surviving the holidays, and I’m breaking these up into before your event, during your event and then afterward.
Tip #1: Plan ahead
Before your party or social event, have a plan in place before you go.
Ask the host what kinds of foods and drinks will be served so you know in advance how to prepare yourself. If you have dietary restrictions or dietary non-negotiables, knowing in advance is key and so helpful!
Because if there’s nothing on the menu that you’ll be able to really eat, then you know to eat in advance. This way you can still be social and not have your empty stomach doing all the “talking” for you!
If it's not a cocktail type of party, like something that’s a sit-down dinner, ask to bring a dish to contribute to the menu.
Don’t be afraid to call ahead and offer to bring a dish that you can enjoy and share with the other guests. This isn’t being rude - it’s taking care of yourself so you can spend your energy on having a good time and not worrying about how you’ll feel after you eat.
And what host doesn’t appreciate someone offering to help with the menu too!
You can also bring some snacks with you! I like to carry nuts with me. Lara bars are also a great option so you’ll have something to snack on besides the chips and dip.
Whatever you decide to do, just be sure you don’t show up hungry! If you just aren’t sure what’s going to be served, have a small meal before you go. Because if you show up hungry, you’re going to chow down on everything in sight. So eat a protein-rich mini meal to tide you over and keep you from binging on all the sugary treats.
Some of my go-to mini meals are: Sliced turkey with avocado. You can even enjoy with some grain-free crackers A protein smoothie A cup of soup A Lara bar A green apple with almond butter Any protein and vegetable combination!
Tip #2: Hydate
During your party or event, stay hydrated!
If you find yourself craving sugar and salt, you could be depleted in minerals so get a tall glass of water, adding lemon is even better!
If you’re enjoying a few cocktails, be sure to drink water before and after!
Another option is to make vitamin water, and drink it both before you head out AND the morning after.
A simple recipe for vitamin water is:
8 ounces coconut water 1 teaspoon (or capful) of raw apple cider vinegar 2 inch piece of chopped fresh ginger Juice from one lemon
Stir or shake the ingredients to combine, and sip. The raw apple cider vinegar will enhance your digestive enzymes and balance PH, while the coconut water will mineralize your body.
As you’re drinking your vitamin water, take a few deep breaths. As we previously have discussed, deep breathing calms your nervous system and naturally reduces stress.
Tip #3: Stay no - most of the time!
The key to staying health-ier and feeling good, both physically and mentally, during the holidays is not to binge and overindulge.
But its unrealistic to think that you’re going to make it through the entire holiday party season saying no to every single treat, every single time. Nor should you want to! This kind of extreme thinking is what makes us feel deprived, especially emotionally, and overeat at home, after the party.
So instead of being all or nothing, take a taste!
I don’t particularly advocate “80/20” thinking most of the time, but I think its a good approach during the holidays.
Focus on eating healthy, nourishing food 80, well 90% of the time, then allow yourself moments of indulgence 10 or 20% of the time - without the guilt!
Tip #4 - Take a taste!
When you do decide to have that slice of pie or a helping of your mom’s gluten-free stuffing, savor the food, don’t inhale it.
Practicing moderation and paying attention to portion sizes can go a long way to feeling healthy and well.
So check in with yourself before you eat:
Before you start eating, take a moment to turn inward and ask yourself: Have I been kind and taken care of myself today? Have I slowed down and tapped into my parasympathetic system?
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, pause and take a few deep breaths. If you need to, step away from the festivities for a few minutes.
Taking the time to slow down and check in with yourself and your body will help you be more mindful of your choices.
I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating - don’t be afraid to talk with the party host, the server or your colleagues about healthy food options for the holiday events.
It can feel nerve-wracking or out of place to do this. You might feel like you’re being a pain or a burden and you may worry about what others might think. But you’re not - you’re being mindful and taking care of yourself and setting yourself up for success. Your host will want you to have a good time and able to enjoy yourself!
And when you take a taste of something, slow down and savor the flavor! Taste the flavors and textures of what you’re eating and don’t feel guilty about it.
In addition to savoring the flavor, savor the moment too!
A truly healthy, happy holiday season is about being present in the moment. You can be mindful and present by practicing affirmations like: I deserve to really enjoy my life. I deserve to step away from a stressful situation to focus on myself if just for five minutes. I deserve to enjoy celebrating in the company of my friends and family.
Remember, the parties aren’t just about the food on your plate.
Take a taste of life, too. The food on your plate is a reflection of your life and what is happening inside and around you. Savor it.
Now what about the after party?
Tip #5 - Debloat and Reset
Sometimes, regardless of our best intentions, we can still feel bloated, tired, and less-than-amazing once the party’s over. It happens when you’re not 100% in control of how the food is prepared.
So it’s important to have some tools in your toolbox to nip those gross symptoms in the bud and get back to feeling great again.
You’ll want to focus on flushing toxins out of your body and reduce the waste that causes to bloating and fatigue.
Here are my three favorite strategies for a reset:
A lemon water elixir
I’ve shared this recipe before: take 2 cups of filtered room temperature water, and add the juice from 1/2 a lemon, a capful of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of cayenne (if you dare), and 1 teaspoon of raw honey. Mix well, and sip.
A chlorophyll drink
Chlorophyll is fantastic for detoxing. You can find chlorophyll at any natural food store, whole foods, or you can even get it ready-to-drink at Pressed Juicery if you’re lucky enough to have one near you!
Add 1 tablespoon of chlorophyll to 12 ounces of filtered water with the juice of one lemon.
Move your body!
Exercise and movement is one of the best ways to cleanse your body and remove toxins. Take a brisk walk, hit the gym, or go for a run.
Sweating helps your body to eliminate toxins through the skin. So be sure to shower and scrub when you’re done.
If you want a 3-4 day reset plan, try this:
- Drink some lemon water elixir after waking up.
- Have a nourishing breakfast with protein, veggies and healthy fats
- For a snack, have some peppermint or ginger tea with raw veggies like celery with nut butter
- Have a nourishing lunch with a plate built like breakfast - protein, veggies and healthy fats
- If you need an afternoon snack, have a cup to tea and something like a green apple with almond butter
- Dinner should be nourishing, just like lunch with the chlorophyll drink
- If you need a little something in the evening, try having a cup of chamomile tea with just a teaspoon of raw honey.
The holiday season, and really, all the time should be about turning inwards, knowing your triggers, respecting your non-negotiables and enjoying the season - mindfully!
So I hope you consider these practical and tactical tips that I’ve shared with you and give them a try this holiday season because I want you to enjoy it, without guilt!
Be sure to check out the show notes for this episode at www.livefablife.com/066 where you can check out the transcript for this show that details all of the tips and steps that I’ve shared in this episode.
While you’re there, don’t forget to join my email list! When you do, you’ll be the first to be notified when my brand new program, Beautiful Skin for Life, opens in early 2019!
Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you right back here next week!
Naomi Nakamura is a Functional Nutrition Health Coach. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, programs, coaching services and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop!
Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest