*Disclaimer: results may vary.

While the holidays should be a phenomenal time we enjoy with our family and friends, often it can be a highly stressful time for many of us. December is typically full of parties and food and tons of things to get done, but that doesn’t mean we have to go through the month feeling overwhelmed. Ultimately, that overwhelm leads to stress, stress eating, and out-of-whack emotions. It does not need to be this way. Here are 4 tips to help you stay stress-free and in control.

Tip #1: Limit your time with toxic family members

It might not be nutrition-related, but it’s so important to limit your exposure to any toxic relationships! I know this might feel impossible to do; you probably feel obligated to spend time with family members, even though you know they are not good for you or your family. But here’s the thing—you are in charge of your life.

Toxic people are like crabs. When a cage with some food is thrown into the water, one crab will usually go to the cage to get the food. Soon, the rest of the crabs follow the first one into the cage, even though the food is already gone. Some of the crabs will try their best to get out of the cage, through the open top, but the crabs at the bottom will actually pull them down, often killing them in the process. Sounds pretty grim, right? Well, this is often the effect toxic people have on those around them. They seek to bring everyone down with them. Choose who you invest your time with; time, after all, is your most valuable commodity. 

Tip #2: Enjoy treats on the holidays

Notice I didn’t say to enjoy treats every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. However, that is when most people gain weight. Because of all the parties and treats that are available during the holidays, we often end up eating more than we need to fuel our workouts. While you should not deprive yourself of things you love during the holidays, it is important that you are extremely intentional about when and why you enjoy those treats. Choose the ones you love the most, and have at ‘em on the actual holidays! Make sure that you are mindful of your eating during the rest of the month. Also note that having processed foods around during this season can really affect your emotional state of being. Eating clean will help you feel emotionally stable, happier, and more level-headed, which will be key to keep stress at bay during the holiday season.

Tip #3: Be sure you are getting enough sleep

I know firsthand how hard this can be, however, it is so important for maintaining low stress levels! Some things that have helped me find a good sleep pattern are:

  • going to bed at the same time each night

  • keeping the room cool and dark

  • limiting screen time prior to bed

  • waking up at the same time every morning

These things may not always possible, but sleep cycles are extremely important in regulating hormone levels. Those hormone levels are directly related to your stress levels and whether or not your body is storing fat or burning fat. Do your best to get into a good sleep habit—it will go a long way in helping you feel in control.

Tip #4: Continue workouts, but slow down if you need to.

Do your best to work out consistently through the holidays, but do not be afraid to scale back a workout if you’re having a particularly stressful day. Undoubtedly, there will be a few bumps in the road where you come up against stressors. When that happens, it’s really important you listen to your body and ease up on your workout. If you are feeling incredibly stressed, and go all-out for an intense workout, you are going to increase your cortisol levels when they are already elevated. That will make losing belly fat all the more difficult. Plus, there are times when your body just needs a break. Be sure that you are listening well to what your body is telling you, and then give it what it needs.

The holidays can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to derail you from pursuing your health and fitness goals. While you may need to do some things a little differently to keep your stress levels low, it is entirely possible to feel in control and truly thrive during the holiday season.

If you’d like guidance and accountability for making it YOUR best holiday season ever, join us for the FASTer Way to Fat Loss! Over 100,000 clients love the food freedom they feel all year long, but especially during the holidays! We’ll teach you everything you need to know so you can feel your best while burning fat instead of putting on the holiday 10.