Tips for Staying on Track During the Holidays

During the holiday season, our five senses are working on joyful overdrive. Beautiful lights and fluffy blankets greet our eyes and fingertips, while the smell of balsam, evergreen and cinnamon fill the air. And if you listen hard enough, you can hear the faint whispers of Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé’s melodious carols dancing on the wind (no shame; we listen to them on repeat, too).  

Lest we forget about those tastebuds- what about the wonderful treats of the holidays? Thanksgiving is a day unto itself for creating and then feasting on delicious dishes, taking a walk around the block, and refilling for round two. The last months of the year could very well trade up to a more fitting portmanteau- NoCember, if you will- as they seemingly blend together with all of the boozy parties, lavish dinners, half-day brunches and potluck gift exchanges we pencil in.

Food is certainly a cornerstone of celebrations for many folks this time of year, but it can all feel a bit overwhelming for those endeavoring to make healthier choices while not missing out on the festivities. Mindful eating and watching waistlines during the holidays does not need to leave one with a plate full of celery stalks. 

Especially if you ask Coach Kim of Kim Askey Coaching. “Diets are temporary; intentional lifestyles are nourishing, supportive and sustainable.” We’ve asked Kim for some tips on how to make it through the holidays without thwarting goals or putting on the Christmas Fifteen. Your personalized guide on how to “live healthy through the holidays” starts here. 

“Know what to expect throughout this season. We tend to think that this is a season for exceptions and enjoyment, but it often ends with overindulgence and feeling worse, not better. When you take a realistic view of your whole season, you can know which parts of the holidays matter most to you to enjoy and which you can go without.” Kim advocates for assessing the holidays in their entirety rather than day by day pickings. “I always recommend taking a birds’ eye view of the whole season rather than deciding ‘I deserve this’ or ‘one won’t hurt.’ Be really honest and thoughtful about what those choices are so that you can enjoy the whole season without the excess we tend to regret.”

“Holiday parties are full of tasty treats to indulge in. Rarely do these parties provide a balanced combination of protein, vegetables and fruit. Eat something before you go to your next holiday event so that you are more in control of choosing the treats that you’d really love to enjoy rather than trying to satisfy a hunger. So often, people ‘save’ their eating for holiday events which always ends up in overconsumption. Eat before you go and you’ll be more likely to treat yourself with the things you truly enjoy.”

“When you start your evening with an alcoholic cocktail, you’re more likely to continue on with that and end up with just a little more than intended. Start with a delicious non-alcoholic option. You’ll kick your night off hydrated and be more likely to stick with a non-alcoholic option through the night sprinkled in with your cocktail of choice if you desire. Exciting mocktails are trendy right now, so don’t be afraid to ask your bartender to make you something delicious- without added sugar. You’ll be surprised what you get: sometimes these are even more interesting than traditional cocktails! Here in Boise, some of my favorite alcohol-liberated options can be found at The Lively and Barrio.”

“Don’t worry about getting in a strenuous workout in this busy season- but don’t forget to move. We tend to have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality about exercise that almost always ends in nothing. Just move. Go for a walk, grab a yoga class, take the stairs, park in the furthest spot at Target and walk in. Something- not nothing- is the goal of the season.”

“One candy here and there adds up to a few pounds gained over the holidays. What matters to you and what doesn’t? Can you eliminate the mindless grazing and not miss it? Save those treats for something you love rather than taking the season as an open invitation to eat all the things you normally don’t. Try keeping track. I love writing down what I eat every day to help guide my awareness. This is the perfect time of year to start tracking: not to police yourself, but just to notice. What are your habits? Be curious and kind.”

Enter this holiday season with confidence and a plan. For additional support, Kim is accepting one-on-one clients “who want a personally curated lifestyle plan to help them achieve their optimal well-being. There is no one size fits all, but there is a perfect plan for you. I help you write it and follow it, with compassion, patience and love.” 

Contributing Editor / Claire Meyer