Holidays, Schmolidays...Now What? How do you Stay on Track of your Health?
Here we are in the midst of holiday chaos, as some would call it. One down, three to go; how did you do on Halloween? No matter which holiday it is or if it is every holiday for that matter, it seems as though during this ‘tis the season’, many people’s pants get a bit tighter and you may have to loosen the belt a notch or two. Or do you? There are ways to ‘survive’ the 5 to 10lb (yes, you read that correct) weight gain, belly bulge of the holidays.
We all love the sounds, smells and sights of the holiday; the aroma of the turkey and stuffing in the oven, for us pumpkin lovers the deserts galore (and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in the pumpkin spirit since the weather turned chilly), the sounds of Christmas music playing, beautiful lights, pine smelling candles and nuts roasting over an open fire, lest not forget the ringing in of the New Year. Wow, all of that makes my head spin! If that’s not enough, the parties, the food, the drinks – oh my! How can a couple of innocent months out of the year make us turn into stressed out, sugar addicted, belly bloated people?
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s be smart about this. I want you to remember what the true meaning of each holiday is. Give thanks on Thanksgiving and Christmas for the wonderful family and friends you have, give thanks to the nourishing meal put before you and as you are eating it, take your time to enjoy it with your family; have gratitude. Don’t give in to the commercialism that has become of this time of year. Those are the reasons we get stressed out and overeat. Sure, it’s okay to have a few treats and cheers; even I will be having a few cheats and glasses of wine; it is the holidays after all. But using the excuse that it’s the holidays and having a “this is just the way it is attitude” may definitely land you in a larger size!
So I have just a few suggestions to pass along to those willing to listen. Really, these aren’t much different than the everyday tips I give to clients trying to lose weight or inches!
1. Be prepared. Yep, that simple. Wherever you are going; make sure you have a cooler packed with snacks or simple meals and water.
2. Exercise. Yep, that simple. Don’t let your workouts fall by the wayside because you’re “too busy;” schedule it in if need be, like you would an appointment. Exercise will be vitally important during the holidays because of the extra stress people put on themselves anyway. We all have the same 24 hours – make time for you, even if it is just 20 minutes!
3. Stay hydrated. Water, water, water; fruits & vegetables. Nothing more to say.
4. Don’t ‘starve’ your body because you know you’ll be eating extra calories at that party you’re going to. I can’t stress this enough – eat your meals/snacks just as you would any other day; which will actually help you not go overboard.
5. Eat your 5-6 small meals everyday; make sure you get plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, fiber and whole grains. You’ll need the energy!
6. Plan ahead. Back to that party your going to…have a plan in your mind how many desserts or drinks, for example, you’re going to allow yourself; then stick to it! We are grown ups, you can make your own decision of what you want to put into your body; no one ‘makes you’ do it. Stand firm (there are sabotages out there) and don’t give in to ‘pure pressure’.
7. Don’t hover by the food tables. Seriously, standing by the foods will make you want to eat it, even if you’re not hungry. Go mingle!
8. If you’re bringing a dish bring something healthy that you can eat. We all know that many pot- luck style parties are usually not the best food choices. You can control some of that by sharing a healthy something.
9. Munch on the fruit and veggie trays (watch the dips!) before dinner and then look for the leanest cuts of meat, baked potato; hold the gravies/sauces.
10. If you’re going to drink try not to indulge in the fruity, sugary, high calorie ‘festive’ looking drinks. And for gosh sakes, do not drink and drive!
11. Don’t bake a ton of ‘goodies’ if you can’t control yourself from eating many before they leave the house! Equally, don’t participate in the cookie exchange unless you want them lingering well after the holidays.
12. Don’t overbook yourself. My goodness, let’s go back to the true meaning of the holidays; yes it’s a time of joy but it’s not meant to put added stress on your life or your pocketbook for that matter.
13. Meditate and/or get a massage. This can be a very nice gift to yourself during this time. Take it!
14. Go outside and be active; kids off school, good family sledding, ice skating, skiing time. Even this girl who does not appreciate winter will be outside cross-country skiing.
15. If you are a person with a goal of losing weight, put the “losing” aside and put in your mind “maintaining” instead. You will put less stress on yourself with that mentality and it will help you stay more focused.
16. Get sleep! Enough said.
Whew! I think I’ve covered most of them. Just remember, the holidays are a special time of year that hold different meanings for many. Stay in tune with your body and your health. It’s not worth all of the effort you’ve put in thus far to have it thrown away in a couple of months; nor is it worth it period. Food is our bodies’ nourishment. Food has meaning and purpose just as the holidays do. Be thankful for all of the good your healthy mind, body and soul do for you.
-In good health