Thanksgiving and all of its delicious calories officially kicked off the holiday season. Which means a seasonally over-scheduled and overeating caloric calendar packed with celebratory office parties, festive happy-hours, family vacations. This too often leads to more than the standard number of sweet treats and the tendency to over-indulge. Of course, we're always grateful for this time of year and spending additional time with family and friends but the tantalizing bites and spirits can easily derail our health and fitness goals.
With so much celebrating to be done, it can be easy to push your health and fitness mindset aside (including the progress you’ve worked toward) and we’re here to say that it’s more than okay to continue pursuing your wellness goals! For inspiration, we chatted with Portland, Maine’s very own *Chelsea Barringer, MS, DTR, Nutritionist of Nutrition Simplified on strategies and tips for staying healthy over the holidays. Here's what she had to say -
While my routine often goes out the window during the holidays, I focus on daily non-negotiables: hydration, a daily walk or stretch, and remember to be kind to myself. Healthy living doesn't have to feel like a chore, contrary to the rap it gets. Rather than making unrealistic and unsustainable attempts to maintain your health goals, start by setting small goals that easily fit into your current lifestyle. This might look different seasonally, monthly, weekly, or even daily! Find 1-3 simple things that can become your daily non-negotiables and focus on only those. Anything more is just a bonus!
Supplement wisely. Quality supplements never take the place of a healthy diet, but they can help fill in voids, and offer up support when it comes to compromised digestion, hindered immunity from travel, high stress, and lack of sleep. Vitamin D, omega-3s, B vitamins, and magnesium are some of the most common I suggest, but certainly consult with your health practitioner or nutritionist on what you should be taking and proper dosages.
Schedule yourself into your own calendar! I find that we can get caught up in the rhythm of prioritizing everyone else in our calendar but ourselves. Break that cycle as soon as possible if you’ve found you started it. Re-pleat your depleted nutrient and energy stores by getting back into your routine — whether it’s your Monday night yoga class, your Sunday meal prep, or your monthly massage. I personally love hosting my Fresh Start program in January for myself and others to get back into our healthy habits and have our community to gain inspiration from — especially during these long winter months. You are so worthy of investing your time, money, and energy into yourself because remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup!
Be the person who brings a healthy dish! It’s likely most people are going to bring not-so-healthy dishes to a get together, so be the person who breaks the trend! It’s surprising how many ’thank you’ s' I get when I bring a beautiful tray of fresh veggies and hummus. Most everyone feels relief in having some fresh options available. Try bringing a fruit salad, veggie platter, or healthy home-baked treats.
Kick the all-or-nothing mindset. Motivation that comes from within is the key to success. Simply put, find what you enjoy and do that! Maybe it’s only 1-2 of the healthy habits you typically employ, and that’s OKAY! Science shows that negative self-talk, shaming, and guilt trips only hinder progress, so my philosophy is relish in the mini successes along the way as you build new habits and make room for self-love, celebration, and proud moments. After all, healthy living is all about loving your body, not hating it.
Thank you for chatting with us, Chelsea - make sure to grab your tickets to Be Well Fest to see all the knowledge and tricks in store for you!
* Recognized as a leading voice in integrative health, Chelsea Barringer specializes in functional and therapeutic nutrition. With a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition, and over 15 years experience in practice, Chelsea draws on her wisdom and expertise to empower women to become the drivers of their well-being. She has a knack for taking complicated information and delivering it in a way that is easy to digest. Through Nutrition Simplified, she offers one-on-one coaching, group programs, and self-learning resources all designed to help individuals experience their most vibrant health.