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Thrive Through the Holidays: A Health Coach's Guide to Staying Balanced & Well

Written by
Our Editorial Team

The winter holidays are a time of joy, reflection, and often, indulgence. Festive gatherings, decadent foods, and the hustle-and-bustle of the season can challenge even the most health-conscious among us. As a functional medicine coach and FDN practitioner, I am here to empower you with strategies to navigate the holidays while maintaining your wellbeing. Let's explore how to honor your body's needs and embrace the season's festivities without compromising your health.

Navigating Social Gatherings with Intention

Connect Mindfully: Remember, holidays are more about connecting with loved ones than overindulging in food and drink. Cultivate meaningful conversations and engage in activities that foster connection. This mindful approach helps you stay present and enjoy the company around you, sidestepping the overemphasis on food.

Set Boundaries: It is okay to say no to events that do not serve your wellness goals or lead to unnecessary stress. Prioritize gatherings that uplift you and provide space for healthy choices.

Contribute Wholesome Offerings: Bring a dish you love that aligns with your health principles. This ensures you have at least one nourishing option, and it introduces others to your lifestyle in a delicious, non-preachy way. 

Eat your food groups in the right order: At Able, we are less about counting calories and more about prioritizing blood sugar. How do we do that? We want to eat food groups in an order that doesn’t put quick digesting food into your stomach first causing your blood sugar to spike and then dip. These kind of frequent patterns put a lot of stress on your body to get the extra glucose out of circulation and store it as fat. 

Instead, put the hardest foods to digest in your stomach first slowing down digestion of every that comes after. Start with your non-starchy veg which is full of fiber and takes longer to digest and also feeds your good microbiome bacteria. Next, eat your protein and good fats, finishing with your carbs, starchy veg, fruits and desserts since these are the quickest to digest. Consider reframing your meals and you will really notice a difference in how you look and feel - and the best part? It’s free. 

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Managing Holiday Foods and Overeating

Practice Mindful Eating: Slow down, savor each bite, and listen to your body's hunger cues. Eating mindfully helps prevent overeating and enhances the enjoyment of holiday flavors.

Balance Your Plate: Aim to fill your plate with a colorful array of non-starchy vegetables alongside modest portions of protein and healthy fats. This balance supports satiety and provides vital nutrients.

Plan for Indulgences: Choose wisely when it comes to indulgent foods. Select one or two items you truly love, and enjoy them without guilt. Deprivation can lead to overeating later, so allow yourself controlled enjoyment. Remember that it’s not about what you do once or twice, but the things you do consistently every day. 

Maintaining Exercise and Activity Levels

Schedule Workouts: Treat exercise like an essential meeting. Put it on your calendar and honor the commitment. Even shorter, focused workouts can help mitigate holiday stress and excess calories.

Stay Active Post Meals: Integrating movement after meals can also help with blood sugar regulation as your muscles start working and can use up that excess glucose before it gets stored as fat. A set of 10 lunges on each leg, a 10-20 min walk, or anything that contracts your muscle will do. Get the whole family involved to make it a fun social event as well. 

Get Creative at Home: If you can't make it to the gym, use bodyweight exercises, yoga, or dance to maintain your fitness routine. A little creativity can turn any space into a makeshift gym.Also great for mitigating that holiday stress! 

Prioritizing Sleep and Rest

Establish a Routine: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible. Adequate rest supports metabolism, mood, and overall health and healing—vital during the busy holiday season.

Create a Sleep Sanctuary: Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. Limit screen time before bed to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

Relaxation Techniques: Use deep breathing, meditation, yoga/pilates or gentle stretching to help ease holiday stress and prepare your body for restorative sleep.

Embrace Moderation and Flexibility

Remember, the holiday season is just a short period in the grand landscape of your wellness journey. It's important to embrace moderation and give yourself some flexibility. Perfection is not the goal; rather, strive for balance and genuine enjoyment of the holidays.

If you'd like some extra support and guidance, Able can be there for you. We now offer FDA-approved weight loss medications alongside of health coaching to truly personalize your experience! 

By approaching the season with intention, mindfulness, and a commitment to your wellbeing, you can celebrate wholeheartedly without sacrificing the gains you've made in your health. Wishing you a happy, balanced, and rejuvenating holiday season!

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Sources

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