Ho Ho Hold the Holiday Season! As much as the holidays are a fun time, they can also be a stressful and at worst, unhealthy for your mind and body.

This year, to put health and happiness at the fore, let's re-frame and re-invent what the holidays mean to us and be mindful of it as we make our way through the season. We don't have to sabotage our healthy habits to enjoy this wonderful time of year!

As a Certified Health Coach, I encourage you to focus first on your "primary food". What's your "primary food", you ask? It's how you feed the areas of your life that need to be whole. Physical activity, your career, your relationships, your spirituality... How do you feed these aspects of your life? When these areas of your life aren't healthy, you'll reach for the "secondary food" to fill its gaps. The "secondary food" is what ends up on your plate. Consider the strategies you have in place to keep these areas of your life satisfied. When these areas are being properly fed, your desire to sabotage your healthy lifestyle will shrink.

  • When speaking specifically about the holiday season, here are some questions you can ask yourself to develop strategies around the above:
  • How do I want to celebrate my relationships over the holiday season?
  • Do I want to make this about the food or is it about spending time catching up with the people that mean the most to me?
  • How can I make this an active, fun season for my children and create some new family traditions?
  • What does the holiday season really mean to me?
  • Am I going in a direction with my work life that fills not only my bank account but my spirit? 
  • How could I spend time with my family doing things for others that are less fortunate than us and feel the spirit of giving back? 

Once you’ve made some decisions around how you will fill up your "primary food" cup, you can move onto the "secondary food" plate:

  • What will I allow myself to enjoy this holiday season without guilt or shame?
  • How will I hold myself accountable to my decisions?
  • Who are my biggest supporters and how do I want their support over this season?
  • What are my favorite childhood traditions and how can I enjoy them this year? 

It’s all about reframing what the holidays mean to you. Put the emphasis back on the spirit of the season and less about the parties, the food, and the hustle and bustle.  One way to prepare for the holidays is finding recipes that are yummy yet healthy so that you can enjoy holiday food without guilt. Plan for the times that you'll have the "extras", remembering the 80/20 rule. If you overindulge only 20% of the time over the holidays, you will not ruin your healthy efforts and will have a less stressful, more rememberable Christmas season. Once you’ve decided on these times then enjoy them without guilt, as the after-food guilt only creates a different stressor in our body working against our good intentions. Consider the strategies and allow yourself to put the focus on the fun times you're having rather than pouting about the food you're avoiding. Happy, healthy holidays!