December 14, 2011

Healthy Holidays

Basically, healthy holidays is an oxymoron. Who wants to eat salad when you’re surrounded by hot cocoa, santa cookies, candy canes and awesome feasts? Pretty much no one however, there are ways around the 2 extremes, gorging or depriving.  Here are some tips to reach a happy medium over the next few weeks of holiday feeding and drinking frenzy!

  • Let yourself enjoy the dang treats! – Look, you don’t have to eat the whole tray of cookies or a ginormous piece of pie to get the most out the holidays. AND you don’t have to “just say no” either. Allow yourself to have a cookie or 2, have a piece of pie and curl up with that hot cocoa by the fire. If you aren’t stuffing your face all day every day for the next 2 weeks, you’re ok. In fact, deprivation may cause you more stress in which case your body will produce more cortisol, a hormone that will actually cause you to gain weight. Those few bites of a holiday treat will not kill you and they certainly won’t be the complete demise to your waistline.
  • Routine is key – Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean that you should completely neglect your exercise routine. Sure, maybe you don’t work out hard core for an hour but if you can squeeze in a brisk walk around the neighborhood to check out the pretty lights, just getting moving can really help you keep yourself in check and not fall off the wagon entirely.
  • Ho, ho, hydrate – Always have your BPA free or glass water bottle full and handy. Drinking water all day long will keep you full, hydrated and satisfied, helping you curb the junk food cravings.
  • Sneak in the good stuff – Even if you are cooking up a crazy holiday feast, always sneak in veggies and whole foods whereevr you can. the more pure, whole and organic your food, the less it affects your body chemistry and weight.  Chop up yummy veggies like spinach, tomatoes and zucchini for pasta dishes; add sweet potatoes to your stuffing, make a giant salad full of delicious chopped veggies and legumes and fill up on that before the rich entree, etc.  If you’re eating 75%- 85% awesome, if the remainder is holiday treats, you’re good to go!
  • Let yourself enjoy a long winter’s nap – REST! This time of year, stress is a biggie that leads to illness, fatigue and even full on burn out. Give yourself the gift of rest and relaxation so that you can start the new year happy, healthy and recharged.You are more likely to enjoy the holidays (and deal with family) if you get plenty of sleep and time to relax.
  • Give yourself (and others) the gift of slack – No one is superman or wonder woman, no matter how how we try. Whatever can be put off, if even for a day, allow yourself to let it go and let others have the chance to chillax too. This is the time of year to relax with family and friends and reflect on the year. Let go of problems you can’t solve and enjoy the season. Give yourself and others a break, the new year is right around the corner!
  • Be a kid – Yeah, let your inner child do something fun and silly over the holidays. In this day and age, sometimes we need to stop being so serious and the holidays are the best time to have some fun. Wear that crazy sweater, make a snow angle, get in a snowball fight, bake with your family….Whatever your holiday persuasion, do it and enjoy!

While all of these are probably no-brainers, sometimes we all need to be reminded to slow down and take it all in. Enjoy the season!!

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Carolyn Scott  |  Contribution: 11,900