I’ve had a great morning. I slept in, although my definition of ‘sleeping in’ has changed since I zapped sugar – I’ve been waking up 1.5 hours earlier on weekdays! I got to catch the parade from the roof of my building, did my workout, and made roasted brussels sprouts to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.
I want to share a few thoughts on sticking to a healthy diet over the holidays. I talked to many clients this week who are anxious about their healthy eating going out the window over the long weekend. This comes up especially if you’re travelling to visit family where you may have less control over what you’re eating.
I get it. We don’t want to appear fussy and un-fun. Plus, a strange thing happens when I’m at my parents house — they have lots of goodies (ice cream in the freezer! crumb cake! 5 different types of cereal!) and it’s the one place in the world where I can really dig in without the constraint of having to be polite and civilized and only eat what your host serves you.
But given that my health is something I’m incredibly grateful for, I choose to respect it over Thanksgiving. Here are my top tips for enjoying healthy holidays:
1. Eat a good breakfast. No matter what you do, start the day off right. Get some protein and it will help to balance your blood sugar, curb cravings and set you up for a better day.
2. Bring supplies or make a run to the grocery store. I’m going home this weekend and I’ll bring a few protein shakes, some tea bags, and pick up some almond milk at the supermarket. Not a big deal.
3. Bring a healthy dish. I’m bringing brussels sprouts! They are vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and absolutely delicious.
4. Eat a big salad. Get some greens in your system to balance out the heavier foods.
5. Exercise! Whatever you do, don’t skip exercise. You can gather everyone up for a walk after dinner, run a turkey trot, do a 30-minute workout with a professional trainer at home like me. And pack your sneakers or whatever you need to make it happen – I keep an extra pair at my parents house. Move!
6. Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, and get right back on track for Friday. Don’t make this a four-day eating extravaganza. The idea is that you eat well because it makes you feel better, so eat well! Not because I’m telling you to, but because you want to.
7. Be the healthy one. So many people are afraid to cause a stir by wanting to eat healthy. On the one hand, I can promise you that nobody really cares what you eat. But if it does get some attention, don’t be embarrassed. Enjoy it! Tell your family what you’re up to and how much better you feel. Be a leader within your family – think how much everyone could benefit if you got dad or Uncle Dan curious about changing their diet too. Don’t ever apologize for wanting to eat healthy foods. Be confident about your choices – people are drawn to confidence and enthusiasm.
8. Be like a puppy. When Coconut shows up at Thanksgiving dinner today she is going to be bouncing off the walls with excitement to see my sister’s dog. They are best buddies and they will be nuzzling and jumping all over each other for the next 5 hours. Sure, if a nice hunk of cheese falls on the floor she’ll eat it. But that’s not the main focus. Her focus is on play, connection, love.
I would also like to share that it is possible to not drink alcohol over the holidays. I’ve done it for the past three years now. Here’s what it’s like: I enjoy everyone’s company, I enjoy good food, I watch the dogs play, I hold a baby, I drink seltzer water, I help wash dishes, maybe I watch 5 seconds of football (but probably not). Nobody cares one bit. I have fun. It is 100% not a big deal. So if that’s what works best for you, do it.
Lots of love, gratitude and brussels sprouts!