It’s the most wonderful time of year! The holidays are here, which means time for shopping, eating, and gathering with family and friends.
Whether you are new to intermittent fasting (IF) or have been doing it for years, the holidays may seem challenging. But they don’t have to be!
I put together this guide to help you navigate the holiday season while fasting.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Hydration is a key component when it comes to intermittent fasting. That’s because fasting tends to flush out electrolytes, especially in the setting of lower carbohydrate diets. As a result, you are more prone to dehydration. I highly recommend using LMNT electrolyte drink mixes to replace electrolytes and stay hydrated during the holidays and beyond!
Want to learn more about electrolytes? Listen to my podcast that covers electrolyte imbalance symptoms, causes, and solutions with Robb Wolf here!
Increasing your water intake during the holidays is essential, as many traditional meals are higher in fat, salt, and sugar. All three of these have been shown to increase thirst, which is often confused for hunger the next day. So if you wake up the day after your holiday get-together feeling more hungry than usual, try upping your water intake first.
How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough water? Symptoms of dehydration may include:
- dry mouth
- slow digestion or constipation
Don’t go hungry
Whether it’s the office holiday party or the neighborhood mom’s get-together, never go to an event hungry. One of the most common mistakes people make during the holidays is not eating on the day of a party, which can make your body think it is in survival mode and, potentially, lead to overeating.
So stick to your regular fasting schedule, and get in a good amount of protein before the party. Since protein is more satiating, it can keep you feeling fuller longer while keeping your insulin and blood sugar levels stable.
Need some ideas for increasing protein in your diet around events this holiday season? I recommend:
Be careful about reading labels as the processed food industries can be super sneaky, as they may also contain many unhealthy additives like seed oils, artificial sweeteners, and trans fat.
Find one thing to focus on
It’s okay to splurge a little during the holidays but to help set limits for yourself, think about focusing on indulging in one thing.
Have that holiday dessert if you have a soft spot for sweets. But then skip the appetizer table. Or vice versa.
Get in the mindset beforehand that several options will likely be available at the holiday event you are attending. Avoid eating everything in sight, select your favorite to indulge in, and take the time to enjoy it.
Be mindful of alcohol intake
Studies find that alcohol consumption increases significantly during the holidays. Most alcoholic drinks contain sugar that increases our blood glucose, whereas one of the goals of IF is to limit the blood sugar spikes and keep blood sugar levels balanced. A spike in your blood glucose can lead to craving more sugar.
In addition, alcohol can lead to:
- weight gain
- poor sleep
- fatty liver disease
Being mindful of how much alcohol you consume benefits your health during the holidays and beyond. You should also take into consideration what you are drinking. There are healthier alcohol options on the market. Dry Farm Wines is an excellent zero-sugar, no toxic additives, keto, and paleo-friendly wine company.
There are alternatives to enjoy this holiday season if you decide not to drink alcohol, such as mocktails (this mojito mocktail is delicious any time of year!) and sparkling water. And while you should never feel obligated to explain yourself, it may be helpful to let friends and family in on your health journey and what that does (and does not) include.
Check out my hangover prevention tips if you have too many drinks.
Have a next-day plan
The day after a holiday event, especially when you might have over-indulged, is critical to getting your body back on track. Take these into consideration to progress in fasting while still enjoying the holiday festivities:
- Move your body– Go for an extended walk, take a Pilates class, get some strength training in
- Get in a good sweat– I love using an infrared sauna to achieve this!
- Consider fasting a little longer- Sugar and high-fat foods the night before may make you feel hungry in the morning. Try to increase your water intake and fast a bit longer.
Tap into the benefits of Berberine
Berberine is a natural plant alkaloid used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat numerous ailments. Recent research has suggested this botanical may have several health benefits.
How can this supplement help with fasting during the holidays and all year long? Berberine can help to buffer our blood sugar response and supports a healthy metabolism.
Give yourself grace
Don’t allow guilt to keep you from enjoying your holiday traditions. The holidays are a time for family, food, and fun.
Utilizing these tips and planning can help decrease the stress of fasting during the holidays. But you should also give yourself grace along the way and enjoy yourself.
The holidays can seem challenging when it comes to sticking to your health and wellness goals. It may seem easier to write off intermittent fasting till the new year.
However, fasting during the holidays can have many benefits, including supporting healthy metabolism, preventing holiday weight gain, and combating holiday fatigue.
My passion is to help women make sustainable changes in their lives to significantly impact their overall health and wellness. Ready to get started on your intermittent fasting journey? Click here to get started!
This blog shares the views and opinions of Cynthia Thurlow. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical condition or disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern, diet changes, and adding or discontinuing a medication or supplement.