The holidays are hands down one of my favorite times of year.
EVERYTHING is festive, cities, towns and neighborhoods are all lit up, there are events and parties and cocktails, holiday treats and food... I mean the season has it's own genre of music for goodness sake. My favorite thing to do when I walk home at night is see all of the Christmas trees lit up in the windows of the Marina in San Francisco. It just makes you feel good.
But I'd be remiss if, as someone who enjoys writing about health and fitness, I didn't acknowledge all of the anxiety that occurs for people during this "indulgent" time of year.
From Thanksgiving to New Years it's all about Turkey Burns, Turkey Trots, how to earn your cookies and then plump them up with so much protein powder and fake sugar that they don't even taste like a treat anymore.
It doesn't stop January 1 either - there's the post-holiday "detox", juice cleanse specials, Sober January and healthy New Year's Resolutions.
It's actually all a bit mad if you really think about it.
What happened to just wearing a fancy dress, toasting with bubbly, and eating a damn cookie with the people you love? Or sitting at home with (spiked) hot chocolate watching Elf or Love Actually staring at your Christmas Tree?
Don't trip - we can get back to that happy, blissful place.
How To Navigate the Holidays (& Enjoy Them)
Don't Eat Like An Idiot
The holidays aren't a time for deprivation but you also don't need to buy into the idea of 30-days of gluttony. I promise you, a cookie here-and-there, or a piece of pie, or whatever your treat of choice is won't kill you. Having 5 every day probably isn't the smartest idea, but you didn't need me to tell you that.
(Also FYI: Paleo/Vegan/Gluten Free/whatever cookies? They're still cookies. Vegan Butter/Coconut Sugar/Honey/Maple Syrup/etc is still to be enjoyed in moderation. Even Almond Flour doesn't need to be eaten in excess.)
You don't need to throw every conceivable vegetable into a blender to make a smoothie the "morning after" either. Scramble up some eggs. Have a piece of fruit. Eat a salad. Snack on trail mix or a protein bar. That Cheese board at a party got you all googley eyed? Yeah same. Make yourself a plate, eat the cheese (and the crackers - grains won't actually kill you) and down your drink. Maybe refrain from eating the entire block of cheese. (Or don't, do you.)
Move, Every Day
Exercise doesn't have to be this planned-in-advance or thought-out event. It doesn't have to be at 6am every day and you don't have to track it on your FitBit or your Apple Watch. You don't have to be dripping sweat to make it a "workout".
Exercise is simply, moving. Walk to work. Bring your lunch? Me too because San Francisco is expensive AF. So rather than spending my lunch time going out to eat, I take 30-60 minutes, grab a co-worker and go for a walk. Member of a gym? I love The Bay Club. Download a movie or read a book or magazine on your iPad on the treadmill at the gym. Pop into whatever class happens to be going on at the time you're there. Call a friend (preferably with a dog), grab a coffee and take a stroll. Rent a bike and cycle. Go skiing or snowboarding. Even easier, go sledding or shovel snow.
It doesn't need to exhaust you, make you "crazy sore" or take up more than 60 minutes of your day. It also doesn't need to cost you $35 every time you do it.
Don't make more work for yourself
I don't meal prep. I know, the HORROR. But frankly I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen on a Sunday and then another hour doing dishes. I also don't want to eat the same thing multiple times a week. I rarely enjoy eating leftovers.
Instead I receive 3 GoMethodology meals a week (KRISTINECIARDELLO1 gets you off the waitlist) and I'll either eat them for lunch or dinner. They're clean, packed with organic/grass-fed/wild/etc protein and veggies, and they have the best sauces that I couldn't possibly make myself. (Or I could, but just choose not to?)
Feel like you need something to detox? Go purchase a juice at your favorite juice-shop.
Just can't motivate yourself to move? Sign up for a boutique fitness class. Those cancellation policies are there to discourage you from not showing up. Literally you just walk through the door and someone else tells you what to do for an hour. It's a win-win.
So don't freak out, don't drop a G on a 30-day post-holiday juice cleanse or 30-pack of classes somewhere. Don't think you can't have your cake and drink it (wine) too.
You can. And I hope you do.