Tips For Keeping You Eating Well, Sleeping Lots, and Moving Plenty This Holiday Season
The holidays are a wonderful time for many – the warm glow of Christmas lights, the incredible smells, the wonderful company, and of course so much to be thankful for. But if you’re anything like us, you can find yourself struggling to keep a consistent diet or getting enough rest over this most joyful of seasons. And those breaks in rest, movement, and diet can have tremendous effects on our mood, immunity, long-term health goals, and much more.
So, seeing as we’re getting close to some of the major holidays this season, we wanted to share some tips with you to make sure you have the guidance and motivation you need to keep eating well, get plenty of rest, and stay active, even when the weather turns chilly outside.
FIRST UP, HOLIDAY FOOD AND DIET
Diet can sometimes be the part of our daily routines that feels like it has the most flex in it. And in moderation, introducing some spontaneity and indulgences can be a great benefit to holding on to your longer-term dieting goals.
Over the holidays, however, our diet can quickly slip from a few indulgences to full-on abandonment of what we know to be healthy routines. It can feel guilt-inducing or wasteful to have a fridge full of delicious leftovers that we’re not eating. We sometimes feel as though we’re not “fully enjoying the moment” if we don’t have all the foods and treats that others are enjoying.
But what is also true, and what we’ve heard countless times from customers and patients before, is that over-indulging leads to not just added calories, spikes in blood pressure, and elevated fat and sugar levels, it also leads to regret. And regret is an emotional killer. While we may regret in the moment not having that second piece of pie or another serving of stuffing, we rarely regret it the next morning. The reverse cannot be said.
So, to keep your diet in a regret-free zone, here are a few tips for you to try.
- Plan, Plan, Plan – When the goal is healthy eating, a well-conceived plan can help keep you on track and makes sure you follow through. Consider ways to get more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into traditional recipes you might make over the holidays or find ways to turn some ingredients (like leftover turkey) into a healthy meal.
- Cook Smartly – Cooking methods can greatly influence the healthfulness of foods. Opt to grill or bake and avoid frying foods, when possible.
- Flavor Creatively – When preparing your foods, consider alternate ways of flavoring rather than overloading on things like salt, sugar and butter. Use spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and others to achieve the same holiday flavors without all the extra calories.
- Portion Size Starts With The Chef – If you’re cooking for a large crowd or your family, make sure to scale back on quantities to avoid wasting food or overeating. Be especially mindful about items such as appetizers and desserts.
- Eat Plenty Of Breakfast – It’s harder to overeat when you’ve eaten a proper breakfast (and lunch for that matter). To help guard against snacking and grazing, make sure your breakfast is appropriately healthy and work in some whole grains for that all day energy.
- Don’t Eat Until You’re Stuffed – Much of the food around a holiday is delicious, but not all of it. If you don’t absolutely love something that’s on offer, don’t eat it. As you’re building a plate or looking for dessert, really consider whether something sounds appetizing, or if it would be better to leave it be.
- Careful Of Liquid Calories – Things like soda and alcohol can be high in calories. If you enjoy these beverages, drink only in moderation. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb is about two full glasses of water to every alcoholic drink.
- Avoid “Slathering” Foods – Avoid heavy gravies or dressings. These can pack quite a calorie punch. If you’re having salad, opt for a fat-free vinaigrette or a drizzle of olive oil, which is made up of healthier fats.
SECOND STEP, TAKE A STEP
These colder fall and winter months can take a real toll on your current exercising routines or movement goals. Long walks become shorter walks, runs stop happening, exploring can feel less fun in six inches of snow than in the summertime. We get it.
That’s why for the holiday season, we’d encourage you to try an indoor workout routine, using bodyweight, that maximizes the space you have in your home, and the season. Bodyweight exercises are aimed at keeping movement up, while minimizing potential for injury. Because you’re using bodyweight, there is less chance of overstraining or overloading your muscles with too much weight. Keep your focus on form rather than how many sets you can do or miles you can knock out.
Check out our piece from earlier in the year for a simple 10-minute bodyweight circuit you can do just about anywhere.
LASTLY, GET SOME SLEEP
Think of sleep, exercise, and diet as three parts of a whole (that “whole” being your health). When one is missing, the other two cannot compensate for the one that’s gone. No amount of exercise and sleep can make up for a poor diet. Moreover, a lack of exercise will impact both sleep and diet. And so forth.
So, as we’re finishing up tips for holiday health, we can’t forget sleep.
- Take advantage of earlier sunsets to get to bed sooner.
- Get somewhere between 7-8 hours of sleep minimum.
- Spend somewhere around 9 hours of time in bed a night. Use that extra hour to…
- Do something relaxing before you fall asleep, (read, journal, crossword – no screens!)
- Leave time in the morning to wake up calm, rather than rushed and anxious.
HOLIDAY HEALTH IN HAND
Taking care of yourself over the holidays doesn’t have to be a monumental effort. With some planning, some will power, and some time in bed, you can ensure your holiday season is the very best one yet.
It can also help to have the right people in your corner. Follow this link HERE to learn more about LiveWell’s Health Coaching! Who says you have to do it all alone anyway?
As always, we encourage our readers, customers, and patients to think about giving their bodies and minds an extra boost with our Infusion IV Therapies – you can find more about them right here.