The holidays provide (happy, delicious, decadent!) temptation at every turn: office goodies, evening celebrations, family dinners, and massive cookie trays that seem to be on every counter…to name just a few. These are all a part of our traditions, and should be enjoyed.
I am definitely not the Grinch who wants to steal your holiday (believe me, I look forward to them as much as you do!) but I do want to offer you some strategies – and perhaps a challenge? Here it is:
I believe that you can get through the holidays without gaining weight while enjoying your festivities, and feel proud of yourself for your accomplishments! What better way to kick off 2016 than to already be ahead of the game?
I am willing to bet that if you follow the simple steps below, you WILL come out ahead. Here are five strategies that will not only get you through the holidays, but thriving in them and into a healthy new year!
- HAVE AWARENESS
Think about what lies ahead. You know what you are heading into, so prepare for it. Do you really want that homemade fudge? Glass of eggnog? Pie? Whatever treats you look forward to, allot for them. For example, skip the bread and mashed potatoes in order to savor that slice of pie. Want everything? Eat smaller portions of them and only eat until you are not-quite full (you will be; give it 20 minutes). Think you can skip meals to save up for your calories? Think again…
- EAT BREAKFAST
No matter what lies ahead, begin your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast. This will enable you to start the day with energy that will help sustain your blood sugar levels, keep you fuller for longer, and help you make better decisions the rest of the day.
Examples include: an egg or tofu scramble with veggies, cooked in olive oil, with a slice of sprouted grain toast, and some fruit, like berries or kiwi; a healthy low-sugar, high-quality shake with your favorite powder, favorite milk (hemp, almond, grass fed dairy, etc) or water, seeds, nuts, and berries; a slice of your favorite quality toast with some almond butter, low-sugar fruit, and your favorite yogurt.
Eating is as individual as you are; experiment with what feels right for your body and use as high-quality ingredients as you can.
- DRINK (no, not that kind)
Water. The essence of all life; nothing can survive or thrive without it. I want you to thrive so we need to up the ante here.
This may seem like a strategy that isn’t hugely important, but please hear this: this is the one thing that takes so little effort and time but can make a massive improvement in your life!
Most people are dehydrated, and those who drink a lot of water are still likely dehydrated. Why? Depending on our level of movement, how much processed foods we eat, how much sugar we ingest, how much pollution we are exposed to, what illnesses we’re fighting, our bodies aren’t getting enough water to run as efficiently as they can.
Not only do our bodies perform and feel better when properly hydrated, but our food and sugar cravings decrease. We often reach for snacks when all we really need is water. Make it a part of your life that you don’t even think about. Have a non-toxic water bottle at the office, in your car, in your bag, in your hand! How much? As I mentioned, it really depends on many factors. The minimum is one-half to one ounce per pound of body weight.
Don’t like water? Experiment! Try still or sparkling water with lemon, lime, berries, orange slices, cucumber, fresh mint, or a combination. Trust me, you will feel the difference!
- MOVE IT
The most important thing to note here is to just get up and get doing SOMETHING and make it a regular part of your day.
It doesn’t have to be hours in duration or leave you immobile from soreness. A simple, 10-minute brisk walk, whenever you can throughout the day, can be a game-changer. A walk in the morning before or during work can help rev up your metabolism and set that tone for the rest of the day. After lunch and dinner, a good walk can help your digestion, stave off sluggishness, and be a bonding social activity with co-workers, friends, or family (or, as some have mentioned to me in our sessions, an escape!).
If you already have an exercise routine, stick with it. Can’t get to your gym? You can do squats, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, triceps-dips, and calf-raises—just to mention a few—anywhere. They can be modified to your ability, injury, or limitations. No equipment needed, no excuses.
To put this into perspective, my 80-something grandmother, bless her dear, lovely, departed soul, was advised to get more exercise. When she couldn’t get outside to walk, she did laps around her house. She would—carefully–go up and down the stairs. She put soup cans in socks and used them as weights. She did stretches and was thankful that she could move her body. An inspiration, still, all these years later.
So, as I said, no excuses!
- HAVE GRATITUDE
Being grateful helps the body by helping the mind and spirit. We can’t “be healthy” without addressing all aspects of our being.
No matter what holiday you celebrate or don’t celebrate, gratitude is something we all share. Cultivating a daily gratitude practice helps us feel more positive, gives us a broader perspective, makes us feel less-stressed, improves our health, and allows us to be kinder, more compassionate and empathetic people. What could be better for us, our families, our communities, and the world?! You can begin and end your day with simply listing 5 things you are grateful for, and reflecting on them. This sets the tone to begin your day and allows you to decompress at the end of it.
Another idea is to write a letter to someone who has shown you a kindness and let them know how much it meant to you. Set a goal to do this regularly; not only are you practicing gratitude, but you’re making someone’s day!
This time of the year can be hectic and easily drowned in things that aren’t really important to us. Having gratitude allows us to circle back to what’s truly important in our lives and be present in our moments.
Grateful to You
To that end, I am grateful to be in this business. I feel very fortunate to be able to help people make simple changes in their lives that transform their health and happiness. Incorporating these five strategies will allow you to thrive and enjoy your celebrations with the confidence knowing that you are taking care of your most important gift: your health. Thank you for being here with me and I wish you each of you a happy, healthy, fun holiday season! Be well.