4 Ways To Stick To Your Normal Health Routine Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Our hearts are excited.

Our mind and bodies are not.

A lot of my clients, who have recently embarked on new fitness and nutrition plans, are apprehensive about the upcoming holiday season, and rightly so.

While hugging and seeing Aunt Martha may give us a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, flashbacks of her urging us to have another serving of beans soaked in butter (because we're "healthy," right?) bring up feelings of anxiety and dread, as the holidays approach.

How can you avoid these feelings?

Have a plan. Create a fool-proof "how to survive the holiday festivities" strategy now, when you're feeling relatively healthy, inspired and a little bit apprehensive.

Mid-week is a great time to do this.

Write your plan down for yourself or email it to a friend to get them on board too. Make a plan to check in with yourself or your friend once or twice a week.

It's really easy to lose touch with your body this time of year.

We can feel bloated, and covering ourselves up in layers with thick, poofy or itchy clothes only further disconnects us from our body.

My favorite trick to keep my body present and detox throughout the holiday season -- especially with holiday travel and family visits --  is movement and nutrition.

Design a five-minute, non-negotiable, morning stretch routine.

Stretching before breakfast can help loosen up the body and ease stress. It will help you more than any bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with coffee ever will.

Pay specific attention to opening up the sides of your body, stretching out your hips with runner's stretches and warrior yoga poses and letting your shoulders drop and release with forward bends.


Brisk walks are your friend.

Going to your favorite feel-good boot camp or on that high-intensity four-mile run is usually the last thing we want to do when visiting family during the height of the holiday season.

Sometimes it isn't even an option. But unexpected blizzards aside, you know what you can do? Take a 75-minute brisk walk.

I say 75 minutes because that's usually is the point where I feel totally energized, feel the blood moving through my body and come back inside with that rosy glow. But 45 minutes might work for you.

Bundle up, get away from all that food and use the time to think, decompress, debrief on family interactions, breathe and soak up some fresh air in the great outdoors.

Afraid to be seen as the total loner? I love announcing to my family and friends, "Hey! I just ate breakfast, but between 10 am and 2 pm I'd love to go on a long walk and talk with whomever wants to come with me!"

One-on-one conversations with those you love can be the highlight of the holiday season.

People often connect the best when moving side-by-side together in a forward motion like walking, running or driving in a car.

And if they don't take you up on your offer, you've just created the perfect accountability tool to head out by yourself to walk and think.


Plan and prep for your "go-to" breakfast

Dinners can be all-out boozy feasts, lunches can be yummy leftovers and chocolate is everywhere.

But breakfast?

You can express more control and intention with your first meal of the day.

A healthy breakfast continues to help your digestion system detox from a night of fasting. It's also a great way to sneak in nutrients and set your mind and body up to make better nutrition choices for the rest of the day.

I always travel armed with a few go-to breakfast options in little ziplock bags.

My logic goes like this:

  • Hot water, but no blender? Eat oatmeal with chia seeds as base and add on toppings you see in host's kitchen (nuts, coconut sugar, berries, banana). You can do this in an airport, too.
  • A bit of prep time? Bring chia seeds to make chia pudding (hack non-dairy milk by blending up half a banana or scoop of nut butter in water) and let seeds sit for 10 minutes to expand, and decorate with toppings and stevia.
  • A blender, better yet, a Vitamix? Victory dance! Blend a simple smoothie with handful of greens, nut milk, one scoop vegan protein powder, half a banana and fun things like chia seeds or stevia and almond butter.

With a healthy breakfast, you've given your body about 14 hours of health and rest if you stop eating at 10 pm the night before.

Kudos to you, you've won over half the battle.


When you return home...

Have another plan in place for when you get home from your holiday trip.

This is the best way to avoid the all-out, one-month holiday bender. (We've all been there, right?)

First, get in healthy nutrients and get back on track with your eating, asap. Have frozen veggies in your fridge you can prepare or frozen greens to make a smoothie.

Next, get right back on track with your exercise.

Sometimes your body needs 24 hours to detox with good food, and then it's ready to get back to your normal workout routine, Or, you can kick it up a notch with high-intensity workouts to blast those couple pounds of added body fat.

Move gently on Monday and then schedule an intense class for Tuesday or give yourself a gift -- hold yourself accountable and book a session with a personal trainer for Wednesday.

You'll be back on track and ready to take on your next string of holiday parties in no time.

Now ask your heart, body and mind: Who's ready for the holidays!?