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By Olivia Janisch

The holidays are the best. Friends, family, and so much delicious fresh food, this time of year can boost our spirits and re-connect us to our joy. Because so much is based around food, it’s important we consciously create small plans to make sure we enjoy ourselves while taking care of our minds and bodies during this time. It’s not about limiting or scrutinizing ourselves in regards to everything we eat, but putting systems in place to protect ourselves from guilt and frustration around something that’s supposed to be fun and uplifting. Use the following guidelines to help create a little balance during your holiday indulgences.

1. Don’t congregate near the snack table

Mindless eating is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain, especially over the holidays. Standing right next to a buffet of nuts, chips, and treats while we catch up with Aunt Doris on our latest love interest makes it way too easy to fill up on salty, oily snacks, ruining your appetite and your resolve to eat well. If someone approaches you as you’re making yourself a small plate of apps, gracefully move three to four steps away from the table, so that you’re at least out of arms reach from the goodies.

2. Use small plates and load them up with real foods

Large plates make us overeat, plain and simple. When there are so many delicious options to try, two spoonful’s of each dish can lead you down a slippery slope that starts with a biscuit and ends up in carbocide. Don’t do it. If you know you go for seconds, thirds, or, who are we kidding, fourths, start with a small plate. It will give you a better chance of eating reasonable portions and managing your intake, making eating more a conscious effort.

3. Take the mornings to make juice, a smoothie, or go for a run

Having a few days off of work is a great chance to do the morning activities that workdays typically don’t allow for. Make a healthy juice, throw together a smoothie, or do a leisurely workout during this time. It will give you some personal time, get your days started off mindfully, and put you in a healthy and grounded mental space.

4. Be the person that motivates after lunch to get everyone going for a walk

A brisk walk and some fresh air is an excellent way to help digestion and get energized after a big lunch. Be the one to get everyone excited to walk the dogs or push the kids on the swings at the park. It’s fun and great for your health.

5. Make socializing, not eating, your focus

Instead of making it your goal to try every kind of mashed potato at dinner, make it to have a genuine conversation with a few people you haven’t seen in a while. Getting up and moving around to sit with a god parent or a cousin gives you a little time in between courses, and helps strengthen your bond with those people. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the holidays are there to celebrate the ones we love, so this is good practice!

6. Use Udaya classes as a resource

Exercise improves our mood, strengthens our bodies, and helps balance us during this crazy time of year. Quiet time to reconnect to yourself in a time of heavy stimulation and interactions improves your ability to consciously relax and take in the joy of the holidays. Yoga will keep you energized and centered, while assisting in maintaining your willpower and grounding you during this time of year.

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