Embracing Balance: healthy holiday tips

Photo credit (altered): number657 from Flickr

Photo credit (altered): number657 from Flickr

[Here’s another great post by local blogger and fellow Torontonian who’s come East Coast By Choice. Give a warm welcome to Jaime who has some sound advice for enjoying the holidays without added the stress of rebounding from over-indulgence in the New Year.]

By Jaime (aka @balanceblog)

‘Tis the season for temptations galore. Health roadblocks at every turn. It can be daunting, but just take the time to think about your actions and everything will turn out fine. I am a firm believer in planning ahead so I thought I’d share with you my plan of attack for the holidays without busting my belt.

Plan your eats. Think ahead.

  • Eat breakfast. Coffee does not a breakfast make. Take 15 minutes to eat a proper meal before you head out. Something that will stay with you…oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit and nuts. Get your protein in. Trust me.
  • Pack a snack. Throw a banana or whole-food granola bar in your purse or pocket. This will save you from caving to that Tim Horton’s donut or Orange Julius hot dog when your blood sugar begins to take a dip after a few hours of scouring the shelves for the perfect gift for your cousin Bill.
  • Stay hydrated. Go ahead and have that coffee before you leave home (who can tackle Christmas time at the mall without a jolt?!) but try to avoid more caffeine and sugar during your day. Carry water, or buy some at the food court. No one ever believes me when I say water perks you up better than coffee, but it does. Try it, you’ll like it.
  • Avoid cheeseburgers. If you are going to be shopping all day, you’ll need to stop for lunch. Make good choices. I know, I know…it’s hard to just walk past the cheeseburgers and poutine, but I have faith in you. Choose sushi, or a salad, or a sandwich on whole wheat bread. Avoid anything that’s under a heat lamp and you’ve made a step in the right direction.
  • Plan dinner in advance. A huge issue is being tired after shopping and succumbing to eating dinner at whatever restaurant has the shortest line. This generally leads to some sort of cheese toast and big bowl of artery clogging pasta. Ask your family to tackle dinner for the evening or put something in the crock pot before you head out for the day. This gives you something healthy to look forward to coming home to after your big day.

Activity. Get some.

  • Morning routine. If you have time, workout (whatever a workout entails for you…hit the gym, go for a run, take Fido er, Tofu for a walk…) before you go out for the day. The extra energy you create will help keep you going.
  • Make a date. If no time pre-shopping, then go after. Make a date with your significant other or a friend to meet for some activity. This will help you shake off the mall leg you have surely developed and also give you a reason to get out of the mall before 9pm.
  • Don’t be lazy. No brainer. If your shopping location has stairs, use them. Cuz I said so.
  • Take a breather. If your shopping does go all day, take a break. Go outside, put your parcels in your car, get some air. Just breathe. It will go a long way for your mental sanity as well as your physical exhaustion.

Shop smart. OK, now here it is. The biggest tip. If you walk away from here with nothing else…take this one.

  • Don’t buy chocolate as gifts. If you step foot in that chocolate store to purchase a box of chocolate covered pecans for dear Aunt Lily, I guarantee you will walk out with a chocolate pretzel for yourself. Oh sure, you’ll tell yourself it’s for your Grandpa Phil but you know as well as I do it will be gone before you get to the car. Step away from the chocolate.

The idea here is to “keep it real”. Temptations are everywhere this time of year. No one is saying you can’t give in to a few of them (especially me!), but it’s all about balance. If you choose to buy the chocolate, then you’d better be taking the stairs. If you opt to skip breakfast, please drink your water and order salad for lunch. And for the love of Pete, if you must eat in the food court please make healthy choices. Embrace Balance. If it works for me, it will work for you. I promise.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

Jaime has been blogging for 2.5 years. Starting out as a desk bound office worker looking to lose the weight gained sitting on her bum, and progressing to a healthy eating (and living!) enthusiast. Thanks to the power of the internet Embracing Balance continues to grow and thrive each and every day, and so does her knowledge of how to remain healthy and happy without giving up the real food and comfy lifestyle she knows and loves. A transplant from Victoria, BC only two years ago, she is grateful to blogging for introducing her to a fine group of East Coasters that have helped make Halifax more like a home.


Christmas Coffee House

NOTD: Sally Hansen Emerald City