Four Tips and Tricks to Come Out Happy and Healthy
Another holiday season, another year of stress, weight gain, colds, flu, Covid, etc. It doesn’t seem like all the holiday issues listed are connected but believe me, they are.
The holiday season is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year, but for many of us it’s also the most stressful time of the year. A survey released in 2019 found that 88% of Americans say that end of the year holidays is the most stressful time on their calendar.
The effects of the holidays include stress, weight gain, lowered immune system, and post-holiday guilt. However, if you approach the holidays a little differently this year, you can come out the other side healthier and happier.
Begin with wellness from the inside out
Many of us can agree that we take better care of our cars than our bodies. For example, depending on what you drive, fuel grades matter. High-performance engines need higher octane fuel. We want our vehicles to run at top performance and last longer without issues. Now, compare your body to a car. If you treat it right and give it the proper fuel, it will smoothly and last much longer. The holidays are wrought with eating sweets, cocktails, lack of sleep, and mental fatigue. So where to begin?
Four tips to preparing your body for the holiday season
Eat better when you can
Many worry that since they can’t devote themselves to a healthy eating plan, they should take it up in the new year. However, as a nutritionist and personal trainer, I can’t tell you how strongly I feel against that thinking. Some go into the holidays already with weight issues; during the holiday, if you allow yourself to eat, drink and enjoy merriment to the full extent, you just added an additional 8 pounds to your weight loss goals. Which adds to the post holidays depression and guilt – why do this to yourself?!
Don’t fool yourself thinking you can easily take off what you gain. Instead, be proactive and there are things you can do to keep some of that holiday weight off:
1. Start with how much you eat
One of the easiest ways to stay ahead of holiday weight gain is by concentrating on how much you eat. In fact, by simply managing your portion sizes, you may avoid weight gain, establish better eating habits, and have a healthier relationship with food. If you are unsure what a portion size looks like, read my article, Easiest Way to Attack Nutrition. In the article, I discuss the easiest way to manage your portions.
2. Avoid depriving yourself
The holidays are rough enough; depriving yourself of foods that give you joy will only lead to bad things. Trying a restrictive diet during the holidays is bad for you physically, mentally and emotionally!
Restrictive diets can lead to not eating enough, probably not getting enough nutrients. If you do not eat enough food, it’s only natural that your body will start looking for alternative energy sources. It will begin by storing fat in order to fuel itself until it finds enough food to eat.
3. Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays
After many years of helping people lose weight, I advise this time of year: don’t bother. Just try not to gain during the holidays. Trying to lose weight during the holidays will undermine your confidence and mindset. Instead, practice mindful eating. Mindful eating is the art of intentionally paying attention to your food without judgment and utilizing all of your senses during a meal. Slowing down and enjoying your meal (every time) can boost mental wellness.
4. Go for a walk
Walking is the best medicine for holiday stress. It can put your brain into a calmer state, and gets us outside, which reduces stress, improves memory and attention, releases endorphins to improve mood, creates time to connect with friends, and boosts energy. Plus, if you are going to a holiday party, you can get some extra calories before. Also, exercise often suppresses appetite, so that will help you from over-eating.
Get holiday ready – Summary
It would be best if you started preparing now, which begins with your body and your overall health. So, it’s time to start focusing on the healthy habits that will help you look and feel your best, no matter how you celebrate.
If you feel tired during the holidays ready my article “Tired – causes and solutions”.
If you want to focus on more movement, getting more rest, and eating healthy, check out the article “What to do if you hate exercise.”