You’ve nearly made it through December and Christmas is fast approaching! It’s the final indulgence countdown!…or is it?

December is tricky business where health is concerned. This month marks the end of the year, a time to party and let go with all things Merry and Bright, which typically brings parties galore, to include gifts of sweet confectionaries and alcoholic or sugary drinks. Both are triggers at just the right time to start a cascade of poor choices, exercise and diet are the first to be thrown out, even as we transition into the season of resolutions, goal-setting, and fresh starts. It’s that old, “carpe diem” philosophy to take on all things wonderful – TODAY!

And so it is…December is the season of contradictions. We want better for ourselves, yet the Season itself sabotages even the best of intentions. Then we are on to New Year’s and Valentines Day! Seriously, it’s time to get on board with the idea that there’s an excuse pretty much every day of the year to party, live it up, and indulge. C’mon, don’t act like you didn’t know January 20 is National Buttercrunch Day!

If you haven’t already, it’s time to put together a game plan! Because your plan for these next few days’ festive parties holds the critical mass that can totally derail you or keep you on track as the New Year slides its way into your life! One slip and many throw in the proverbial towel, which turns your life into a total season of weight gain and doesn’t prepare you for a healthy start to the New Year!

Here’s your PREVENTION and RECOVERY PLAN. Happily, the steps look the same for both! Please throw any dreams of perfection aside. Instead, keep in mind that perfection is NEVER the goal. Embrace that you will most definitely get a bit off track, but do so on your terms, and with the following tips in mind. Also, practice a great deal of self-forgiveness and get right back on track! Here you go…

1. SLEEP… Lack of sleep causes overeating, since it alters appetite hormones, ghrelin and leptin. With sleep deprivation, the hunger hormone, gherlin increases while leptin, the hormone that tell you to stop eating, goes down. The punchline?…You want to eat the wallpaper off the wall! And, sadly, when your body is sleep deprived, it oddly doesn’t seek the healthiest of foods, rather your cells want calorie-rich, sugary foods. Not a great formula for health! Make sleep a priority! Aim for 7 hours of nightly sleep, with a solid bedtime routine both to prevent overeating, and to recover by breaking the cycle of mindless eating, driven by hormones that are out of whack!

2. HYDRATE…be aggressive! To help satiate and to maintain that your eating is not driven by dehydration, drink a big glass of water before you grab that cracker and cheese or pastry! Just this one, small act can also be a great psychological reminder of health, and it provides the minute of space to make a mindful food decision that serves you. And, if you are already in “recovery mode,” include a squeeze of lemon juice to support effective liver detox. And for additional daily detox and nourishment, I mix a bottle of Detox Lemonade to hydrate, increase immunity, decrease cortisol (stress hormone), and to increase energy.  To make my detox lemonade, start with a large bottle of ice water and add to taste: White American Ginseng, Ionic Elements, Aloe Concentrate, and fresh lemon. (Just click on the links and you can try any of these Superfoods with my health coaching code, “pacerkristen”)

3. GO GREEN. Upon waking, shake up your greens with a yummy and energizing smoothie! This both loads your body with nutrients, and it will keep healthy choices as a priority! What’s more, dark leafy greens heal your gut to kick inflammation and bloating to the curb. Every morning, I whip up a super quick, green smoothie with Purium’s Power Shake – just mix the organic Supergreens with ice and water for a fast start (just click on the link and you can try your own Power Shake with my health coaching code, “pacerkristen”) and for those easier days, grab your blender and use my Smoothie Formula to create your personalized masterpiece with beautiful pomegranates and berries.

4. DRINK MINDFULLY…Be mindful and limiting of liquid calories. Decide beforehand how many glasses (of wine) you will have, and say “no thank you” to juice, wassail, hot chocolate, sweet tea, and the like! Each of these contain at least 22 grams of sugars, which is nearly your total, daily sugar allotment not to mention the added 200 calories per glass of wine (the whole bottle averages around 700 calories!). This is an easy place to cut nutrient-less calories and sugar!

5. FRONT LOAD…Front load your plate..SALADS and VEGGIE PLATTER FIRST! Fill yourself up with salads, veggies, and fruits first, before the less healthy options are even up for consideration on your plate! For reference, whether you are at an appetizer buffet or a full, sit-down meal, fill 1/2 your plate with veggies, then consider healthy proteins/fats (they are typically packaged in the same foods) and complex carbs such as the salmon platter with a quinoa salad. This is a perfect time to drink a green shake just before you head out to the parties. You’ll arrive satiated, such that the bacon and blue cheese stuffed potato skins don’t look nearly as amazing!

6. PRIORITIZE…Identify your “can’t live without dessert,” and make sure it’s worthy of indulging! My mantra, “only quality dessert is deserving,” so if chocolate peppermint cheesecake is your absolute favorite holiday dessert, take a small piece, chew slowly, and savor each morsel. Leave the rest behind! With the average American eating nearly 23.5 teaspoons (94 grams) of daily sugar, dessert is a great thing to cut when you are trying to recover from poor eating days!

7. PREPARE…Have a plan before you go to bed! As Ghandi says, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions!” So, make a healthy lifestyle work for you by allowing your belief in exercise to become your daily action, regardless of parties the night prior. Set your alarm, lay out exercise clothes and your Green Shake before bed, so there are no excuses not to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle of nutrition and movement!

8. FIX MINDSET…Visualize yourself as THE healthy role model in all of the festivities. When you put yourself in an ego state of healthfulness, making great decisions becomes an easier priority! It’s imperative to see yourself accomplishing goals and in a successful state. I call it the “invisible cape” that shields you from less healthy choices and allows you to “rise above!” Get clear on what you want for yourself and keep that in focus as you party with others.

9. REGISTER… for my 10 or 40 Day Move Back Into Your Body Program and private message me for a free health coaching consultation to determine what’s best for you, your lifestyle, and your goals!