Written by Nathalie Niddam - Academy Holistic Nutritionist. 

The Festive Season is finally upon us and with it, one of the biggest challenges faced by all, including my clients. Is the weeks of parties, lunches, dinners, cocktail parties with friends, family, & work...there is nowhere to hide and it is relentless.  I find that there are generally two camps of people at this time of year - t

 First, people who have been working hard, they have developed a plan, they have stuck to it, they have made progress, sometimes they have even reached some goals.  

The second, people who just haven't gotten around to creating, adopting or implementing their plan. These are the people who tell me...January, in January I will start...sometimes they do, sometimes not so much.  Depending on their mindset, December brings the perfect opportunity to procrastinate and delay - put off to next month (which sounds mysteriously familiar) what they’ve been meaning to do for a long time and here comes the holiday buffet - the puff pastry appetizers, the baked Brie dripping in some jam or jelly, the office cookie exchange, or worse the colleagues who, desperate to get undesirable food out of their homes dump it into the office kitchen as a "gift".   This will never change, but mindset there's a word worth exploring and one of the keys to getting to January in at least as good shape as you came into the festive season in.  

What is your mindset?  Are you following a plan because you want to or because you have to?  Is it a lifestyle change or are you coming off a 30 Day plan thinking that you can now check that off the list and go back to your status quo? Do you own it?  Have you actually written down a list of reasons stating why you are doing this?  Why it is important to you? It is an interesting exercise and I invite you to try it out. Go a bit deeper than what size clothes you want to wear, think about what achieving these goals will really mean to you, your life, how you feel, how you perform, how you can be there for your family, your friends, your coworkers, your employees.

 In my practice, my most successful clients are the ones who have made this shift - they are not seeing me to lose 5 or 10 or 20lbs - well, actually many of them start there, but what they soon discover is that what they are really after is better health, better energy, better performance and, ultimately a desire to improve every aspect of their lives for the longterm. For these people, if we can drill down into their why, write it down and own it, then they experience a shift.  

This post is not about diving deep into these concepts maybe some other day, but for today, let's keep it practical and real.  Let's say you have made this shift, and you are committed or at least want to be - I won't lie, it still won't be easy to turn away from temptation but there are strategies you can avail yourself of to make it easier:

 1 - Set your intention before you walk in the door.  Review your goals and why these are important to you. Give yourself the gift of better health this year...and it starts now.

 2 - Never ever show up at a cocktail party famished - willpower is highly over rated especially in the presence of low blood sugar - have a bowl of soup or skip to point 10 for my newest and most favourite hack.

3 - Limit your alcohol, or have none.  Again, this comes with intention, make a deal with yourself, one or two drinks with a tall glass of sparkling water in between - and then it's sparkly water with cranberries or lemon slices or whatever for the rest of the evening. Quite apart the sugar and caloric load of alcohol, know that drinking lowers your inhibitions and makes it SO much easier to rationalize poor choices (of all kinds).

4 - Volunteer to be the designated driver - for most people this is enough to make sure they moderate their drinking, which will make it easier for you to stick to your guns as per point 3.

5 - Be a rebel! Don’t be afraid to eat the slider without the bun, have a piece of cheese without the cracker (it will taste better), demolish the veggie platter, eat the sushi sashimi style (ditch the rice - did you know that many sushi restaurants add wheat and/or sugar to their rice!?)…..

6 - If it’s appropriate, offer to bring an appetizer or dessert that you know you can enjoy - just bring lots because these days you are not alone, there are more and more people clueing in to the benefits of healthier eating so know that whatever you bring will go fast.

7 - Buddy Up.  Just as people not on your plan may try to second guess your choices to derail your best efforts, hanging out with someone who shares your goals will help you to be firm and happy in your resolve - together, you are stronger, and healthier.

8 - Get enough sleep - this can be a bit tricky at this time of year but being chronically tired can wreak havoc with your hormones, your blood sugar and,  your ability to resist temptation.  Do what you can to get your zzzz's and you will also be less likely to get sick.

 9 - If you end up indulging, willingly or not you have a couple of options:  1.  when you get home, pop one or two Activated Charcoal pills with a lot of water before bed - might just help soak up the excess toxins. 2.  Practice Intermittent fasting the next day, drinking lots of fluids, herbal teas, maybe some bone broth, lemon water…help your body clear the toxins.  If you get hungry you can use Apple Cider Vinegar in water to stabilize blood sugar, MCT in your coffee or tea to keep your brain happy OR, have a Keto Shake (see below).

 10 -  If exogenous ketones are in your toolkit - have a KETO O/S shake about half an hour before the party - stable blood sugar means less cravings, feeling full means better control plus, ketones help your body process glucose more efficiently so you win on all counts.  Yes, this is a plug.  A shameless and unapologetic plug for one of the best hacks I have come across in a long time. Ketones deserve their own post, and I will get there soon but in the meantime, this is a great tool to keep you on track for the holidays.  

Want to try some?  Shoot me a message and I will get back to you.     

Plan to have a spectacular holiday season, celebrate yourself, great health and friendships, enjoy your family, eat great food that nourishes you in every way.  Honour your goals and your resolve, be strong.

 To your great health,