If you want a stocking full of good health & happy holidays, but aren’t sure how to navigate your seasonal sleigh ride, ask your holiday self-care expert: Saint Fit!
Dear Saint Fit,
I’m a busy mom of 3 heading into the holidays with a full plate: errands, baking, shopping, wrapping and family events. I also have a ton of events and gatherings to attend, all of which are laden with rich foods and drinks! How do I get through the holidays without putting on an extra 10 lbs.?
Crazy @ Christmas
Dear Crazy @ Christmas,
I think most women can relate to your situation! Here are a few tips to stave off those party pounds, from my just-in-time-for-New Year’s Resolutions paperback Love Yourself Fit:
-Think of Exercise in 10-Minute Segments. Stop trying to carve out an hour for the gym and start cutting out 10-minute chunks of time for exercise. Take a walk before you eat lunch, do planks after you brush your teeth, etc. Research says 3 x 10 min. chunks are equal to a 30 min workout.
–Interval at Events & Use Small Equipment. Interval a glass of water after any rich beverages or cocktails, and use the smallest plates and cups you can find (at events & home). You’ll eat and drink less!
–Use the 80/20 Plan. 80% of your week, eat stellar; the other 20% eat whatever you want. Schedule your 20% days for those holiday soirées!
–Make a Freezer Tummy. Label a 1-gallon freezer Ziplock® bag and use it as your “tummy”. During your 80% days, use the bag as your pseudo stomach—put whatever you crave (cookies, goodies, creamy dips, etc.) in the bag until your 20% day. Then enjoy!
Dear Saint Fit,
Not only is Santa coming to town, but so are my in-laws! I know a big part of being healthy is keeping my stress level down, but I’m already feeling tense about Christmas dinner! Do you have any tricks for getting through difficult family celebrations stress-free?
Stressed in San Diego
Dear Stressed in SD,
You’re right: keeping stress levels (hence cortisol) down is a good way to keep your waistline trim as well as improve digestion and keep blood pressure under control. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful:
1. Pretend like you are spending the holidays with a friend’s family or shooting a film about another family. This allows you to feel more neutral and less sucked-into the drama. (per Jill Badonsky)
2. Plot some calming self-talk in crazy accents for button-pushing moments. “While bless their little hearts” in a southern drawl or “Yah, vee vill not be agreeing vis zat” in Swedish slang can make you giggle when said to yourself. (per Jill Badonsky)
3. Bring a friend or 2. Relatives tend toward their best behavior when strangers are around.
4. Plan a family art project or video the entire event. Being craft director or videographer allows you to consume yourself, create something cool, and distracts you from difficult people.
5. Set time limits before the event. Agree on leave or end time with your spouse & kids.
6. Make a positive aspects list. Make a list of the positive attributes of difficult family members. Is that druncle witty? Smart? A good cook? This can dramatically shift your vibes around said parties. Try this; it totally works!
7. Learn to set healthy boundaries in a kind way. Holidays reveal the elephant in the room with our relationships or point to how we can improve our interpersonal communication skills. It may not be the time to confront a person, but it is time to add a book like Boundaries by Townsend & Cloud to your wish list.