“I’m going to start eating healthy in January.”
“I need to get back on track after the holidays.”
Sound like you?
I hear this. Every. Single. Day.
How about staying on track and starting 2016 with a healthier you?
Rather than digging yourself a deeper hole, why not take advantage of the season and work on your personal health goals?
The holidays really are a special time of year; it’s a great time to focus on time with friends and family. Unfortunately, most of us find this season loaded with sugary foods that leave us feeling tired and full of more cravings. Coupled with the added stress, this can really be a recipe for disaster (and sickness, bloating, and weight gain).
Most common complaints over the holiday season:
- Trouble sleeping
- Bloating and digestive issues
- Weight gain
Here are my tips to keeping healthy over the next several weeks
1.Scope it out. Don’t just start loading up your plate. Check out your options and know where you want your “treat” calories to go. Keep portions realistic—no need to keep eating once you’re full. Plan on your plate being mostly protein and vegetables. If you know that your favorite sweet potato casserole is at the end of the buffet, then you can make sure you skimp on the stuffing at the beginning.
2.Plan your beverages.Keep track and know how many you are letting yourself have. Bring something you know you can drink if there won’t be anything else you like available (bottled or carbonated water). DO NOT drink the sugary beverages (and that includes juice)! Go in with a plan.
3.Don’t give up your exercise routine!If you’re short on time, split it up or add in some extras during the day. Holiday party after work? Take 15 minutes in the morning to squeeze in some squats and push ups, take another 15 at lunch for a brisk walk. Exercise increases metabolism, decreases stress hormones and reduces cravings- all MUST haves during these winter months.
4.Grab a healthy snack before you get to the party! This will help you to make more rational decisions during the festivities. When you show up starving you're much more lively to fill up on "carbage." We'll talk more about that shortly.
5.Starving when you get to the party? Load up on protein. If you made the mistake of not having your snack, fill your plate up with chicken, turkey, fish, beef, etc. Don’t fill up on high-carbohydrate foods (stuffing, potatoes, casseroles) that won’t keep you full for very long and don’t provide many nutrients.
6.Don’t chat near the snacks. Standing near the snacks and appetizers is going to increase the chances that you will eat more of them (and you know you probably shouldn’t). Keep social hour away from the cheese ball. You want to fill up on the nutrient dense stuff (turkey, meat, veggies), not the nutrient poor snack items.
7.Avoid the snacks completely if possible. These tend to be loaded with empty carbs and inflammatory oils (corn, canola, soy and “vegetable" oil). These aren't only bad news for your waist, but also for your heart, brain and joints.
8.Carry mints and gum.Want to decrease the likelihood that you will eat more cookies? Chew on some minty gum or mints.
9.Share a healthy treat you like. Bring something you know you want to eat! If you're brining a dish to share, make sure its one that you know you can enjoy in excess.
10.Make the most of the meals you ARE responsible for.If you know you and your family will not be eating the “best” over the next several weeks, make the most of the meals you serve at home. Leave the "treats" to the parties and social events, keep them OUT of your house. Keep up with your healthy habits at home and leave the holiday madness to others.
11.Don’t be afraid to say “no, thank you.” Its okay to say NO. You are doing what’s best for your health. Hosts will survive if there are cookies and cakes left over. Sorry food pushers, but no thank you.
12.Support your stress response. Magnesium or adaptogenic herbs can help promote relaxation and a feeling of calm if you are under additional stress. Adaptogenic herbs are those that can help you “adapt” to stress better. The most common are ashwagandha, ginseng and rhodiola. My favorite is rhodiola, but you should always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new regimen. Magnesium can act as a natural muscle relaxant and also promote a feeling of calm.
13.Get enough sleep! Sleep has an impact on stress hormones, cravings, and more. Aim for 7–9 hours in a dark room. Turn off your T.V. and smart phone 1-2 hours prior to bedtime if you're having trouble falling asleep.
14.Relax. Try to enjoy the holidays! You should be enjoying this time! If you're not then you have some work to do!
Good luck! You can make the most of this holiday season and start off 2016 with a healthier you.