I, for one, vote No Thanks to the Jan 1 Holiday Hangover..

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They’re here! Holiday parties, cocktails with friends, shopping marathons, wrapping marathons, making spirits bright. People sending cookies, office kitchens filled with every sweet you can imagine. Three years’ worth. In three weeks.

But, they only come around once a year, so relish in them. Soak in all the festivities, see friends that you haven’t seen nearly enough all year long, and celebrate!

At the same time, I vote no thanks to the Jan 1 Holiday Hangover. Exhausted, run down and feeling like you need to spend the next month locked up in the gym.

I promise, the season will be a thousand times more enjoyable if we just take a breath, and decide that the wheels don’t have to come completely off.

Here we go. Small, simple things that will make ALL the difference:

1. Hydrate Yourself.

Yes, shocking I know. But as much as this one is at the top of the priority list, it’s easy to let slide. Believe me, I’m reminding myself as much as I’m reminding you.

  • It’ll give you energy and focus to get you through the marathon shopping excursions and all-nighter wrap-a-thons (you know – the ones you said would never happen again..)
  • Your body will actually function properly: Better metabolism, a more controlled appetite (tell me you don’t want these things), and a stronger immune system – it’s the holidays, you’ll be spreading yourself thin. Don’t get sick. You’ll regret it, and so will your neighbor at work.
  • That beautiful holiday glow! We all know this one. Better hydration = better skin. No question.

Making it easier:

  • It’s cold out. Drink tea. Preferably, herbal decaf so as not to defeat the purpose.
  • Make your water more interesting: Lemon, lime, cucumber, cucumber & basil (love that one)
  • If it’s easy, you will do it. Make the healthy things easy. I try to drink two cups of green tea a day. So, at night, I throw two teabags in an iced coffee cup and throw it in the fridge. It’s ready in the AM for me to just grab and drink as I get ready. BONUS: when you cold brew tea like this, it tastes less bitter.. AND if your eyes are a little puffy, there you go – two chilled teabags to the rescue.

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2. Eat Breakfast.

I know, you do this every day, anyway, right? Great, so now that the insanity of the holidays has arrived, even when you feel like there’s no time, and want to blow it off. Don’t.

Eat breakfast, and make it count.

  • This is no time for carb loading – a sugar rush and crash isn’t going to help anyone, so make sure you’re getting plenty of protein.
  • Routine is your friend. Not only that, but first thing in the morning, you’re setting the pace and approach for the rest of the day. Take charge.
  • You’ll get your metabolism going and you’ll eat less all day. Not to mention, It’s far more difficult to resist temptation when you’re starving. Save those indulgences for the parties. A quick muffin in the office kitchen, under fluorescent lights?? Blech. You can do better.

If it’s easy, you will do it.

And if it’s delicious, that won’t hurt either.

Try this gluten free Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal by Nutritionist in the Kitch. It’s delicious. I had it for dinner last night. Oh, and breakfast this AM. (Couldn’t send you in blind. I had to test it. That’s my job.)

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It’s easy, and it’s got fiber, protein and is packed with nutrients, it’ll most definitely keep you full and energized throughout the morning. Cut it into 6 bars wrap them individually, you’ve got a week’s worth of breakfasts, right there. And if you’re on the fly, throw it in your purse on your way out the door. Of course ‘on the fly’ is not the best way to eat your meals, but I’m living in reality here. Holiday reprieve.

Another option:

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Breakfast in a jar – or Tupperware, whatever’s around – we don’t have to operate like we live in a Pinterest board to be healthy. Although,  give it a try once in a while (maybe after the holidays). If it’s pretty, it’s more enjoyable, we’re more satisfied, and we’re more likely to stick with it. Just a thought. But for now, use what you’ve got!

Make a week’s worth at once. All the same, or switch things up. Just add the milk each night before you go to bed and give it a stir. It’s ready when you wake up. Top it with a banana, or a couple of seeds, nuts or dried fruit. when in season, load ‘em up with berries. Experiment, the options are endless. Just be sure to get your protein in.

3. Same idea as Breakfast: Bring your lunch – make it healthy.

If you’re going to be going to parties, out for cocktails, etc. after work (and I hope you are!) You don’t want to show up starving or fueled on whatever cupcake or half a cookie you found left in the office kitchen.

I know there’s not always time, so try to be as prepared for that as possible.

  • Make a big pot of soup at the beginning of the week, or a big stir-fry.
  • When you cook, cook for leftovers. When you’re putting away the leftovers, put them in individual containers ready to grab for lunch. Don’t think you’ll pack it in the morning. Make it easy.
  • Try this quick Chickpea, Lentil and Kale Stew, care of  Eat Spin Run Repeat. It was great, and made PLENTY for the week. I ended up freezing a bunch of it. Bonus: I also ended up with an overabundance of lentils to add to salads, use for a lentil salad, etc.

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4. Exercise.

Yep, I know you don’t have time. But, you do.

And this will make ALL the difference in the world.

Even if you can’t stick to your normal workout routine, you can get some quality time in there.

  • I know everyone isn’t a fan, but I’m going to say it anyway. Morning workouts really are the safest bet when things are crazy. The day won’t get away from you, you’re focused on what you’re doing and your workout isn’t competing with a spontaneous, post-work glass of holiday cheer. If you’re anything like me, that contest always seems to have the same winner. Not to mention – your metabolism is now on overdrive throughout the entire day. 
  • If you can’t get to the gym, or just know you won’t leave the house that early. YouTube can be your best friend. Yoga. cardio, muscle-building, barre, Pilates.. you’re going to have a hard time convincing me there isn’t anything you enjoy on there.
  • I like the Tracy Anderson videos. Even if you’re short on time, you can string a couple of them together, and trust me, you’ll still be feeling it the next day. 
  • And on those days when you just don’t have time to breathe, FitSugar has a bunch of 10-minute workouts to choose from. Find what works for you.

Congratulations, you’ve just set the day on the right course.

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5. Party Time.

And party you shall. A couple of small strategies to help stay on your game:

  • If  you can bring something to the party, bring something healthy. You’ll know you have at least one fallback.
  • At least start with the ultra healthy. Scope out the veggie tray. Get your system started on the healthy stuff, get the good digestive enzymes going, and fill yourself up a bit.
  • Don’t stand on top of the dessert table (no explanation needed).
  • Finally, I have NO delusions that you won’t be indulging in holiday sweets. So in addition to your healthy dish, why not bring a healthier dessert. You’ll know what you’re eating and you can enjoy it with far less guilt.
  • Try these Energy Bites from Gimme Some Oven. Always a huge hit –and so easy, no cooking involved!
  • Or the Double Chocolate Mocha cookies (pictured below) from Elena’s Pantry (gluten-free and vegan). These are delicious (I didn’t have grapeseed oil when I made these – I used coconut oil and they were still fantastic). I’ll be bringing them to the party I’m going to this evening. 

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So now that we’re bordering on a post you don’t have the time to read, let’s wrap it up.

Each one of these strategies you commit to will make a difference for the better. So do what you can. You’ll thank yourself when you’re slipping into that New Year’s Eve dress, getting ready to welcome in the New Year feeling fantastic.

Most importantly: Soak in the spirit of the season and don’t forget to enjoy yourself and those you love.

Happy Holidays! XO

 

 

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