Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is upon us, and Christmas is around the corner. Not to mention the various other holidays and celebrations such as Hanukkah, Kwanza, and New Year’s Eve parties. It’s the time of lights, feasts, gifts and more! So indulging is on the menu for today and for the next month or so. How can you partake without significantly impacting your health?
Craving the holiday candy at Halloween is natural. Stuffing yourself over Thanksgiving is a holiday right! And enjoying multiple parties with sugar and bread comas is what the holidays are about. Right? Well, maybe not every year and maybe this year, your body needs a break. So how do you maintain a year of health without experiencing the highs and lows in sugar, weight gain, and exhaustion?
Here are three simple steps or mantras I remind myself daily to mitigate the “damage” from the holidays, lessen the pain from the recovery, and keep my body functioning more regularly.
1) Drink water: When I say drink water I mean it. Like a ton. Like 3 liters. Like you should be going for water before you take that sip of coffee or juice, before biting into that salad or sandwich, and even when you are bored. Drink water. Drink it first thing when you get up. Drink it before you go to bed. You will fill fuller, hydrate continuously and ensure you aren’t mistaking hunger for dehydration. Carry around water as often as you carry your wallet. Hydration is your key to health.
2) Move: If you exercise, keep the same pace. Make the extra effort to just maintain. Don’t add during a time when schedules are tighter with more demands. And if you miss a regular session, accept it as part of the holiday slide. If you don’t have a regular exercise regime, don’t necessarily start one just to offset the holiday gain. If you have more motivation during this time of year, then definitely capitalize on that feeling, but find exercise that you will assuredly be committed to doing daily, weekly or bi-weekly. Aside from formal exercise (gym, classes, sports –designated times of movement), MOVE THROUGHOUT your day! This means taking the stairs, parking further away from your destination, taking long walks on the weekend, cleaning your house more, dancing, standing and mingling at the parties. Find ways to continually move through your day to burn the calories and keep mindless nibbling at bay.
3) Indulge: Indulge? Yes, I said indulge. Why? Because in my experience, deprivation only creates a stronger need of wanting. If this sounds familiar, then I would highly suggest accepting that during this time of year, you may indulge, but responsibly and moderately. Is there Halloween candy at a desk you frequently pass or in the break room? Allow yourself to walk by that area at two designated times during the day to take a piece. Don’t walk by other times and if you do, remind yourself you have allotted a time to indulge. If you don’t feel like taking candy at the indulging hour, don’t. It’s all about accepting your indulgences and not creating guilt. Attend a holiday party with the goal of enjoying one full plate and two drinks. Don’t go convinced you will NOT eat those delicious peanut butter buckeyes or macaroni and cheese. Don’t assume you can rise above the temptation. If you don’t indulge at the designated moments, you may find yourself overindulging out of sure loss of will power and then you’ll overdo it.
All three of the above work in tandem as well. Remember to drink water between those sips of alcohol, eggnog or punch and move every time you feel the urge to pick at the party food table. This way, you will enjoy the holidays with a feeling of empowerment and will power. And, you’ll be prepared for indulging so you can enjoy the holidays without feeling guilty.
Contact me if you need some more tips on maintaining your health during and post-holiday season.