All over the country Americans are celebrating the holidays with family, friends and feasts. The unpleasant reality check is when we hop on the scale after all the festivities. The average Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner packs an average of 3000 calories! Holiday depression can also be brought on by shorter days, longer nights, colder weather, and the pressures of finances and holiday hoopla. Here's my game-plan to help you stay happy, healthy, and stress-free this holiday season.
Schedule your exercise. As we get busy with holiday plans and traditions, it is harder to find time to exercise. Schedule your exercise on your calendar and be sure to reschedule it if something comes up.
Get 6-8 hours of sleep. Chronic sleep debt and poor sleep quality can lead to weight gain, additional stress, and irritability. A lack of sleep can also weaken your immunity and increase your risk chronic disease.
Keep calm and enjoy. You may find yourself overdoing it during the holidays. Choose the holiday activities you really enjoy and don't feel bad saying "no" to the rest. Also, if you're strapped for cash, don't feel pressured to spend above your means during the holidays. Enjoying time with family and friends costs you nothing.
Be a food snob. Be picky about your indulgences. Over the holidays people tend to eat food just because it's there. Opt for a small slice of your grandma's delicious sweet potato pie and leave out the mundane snack pack of cookies.
Get rid of the "all or nothing" mindset. Moderation is a great mantra for the holiday season. Balance is critical. You don't want to feel restricted like you missed out, but neither do you want to overindulge and make lots of unwise decisions. The holidays don't have to mean gluttonous eating OR deprivation.
Stay hydrated. Keep your water bottle with you at all times. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day. One handy trick is to buy a gallon water jug, fill up as much as you need in the morning, and sip it throughout the day until you've finished it that night.
Take time for self-care. Make you a priority during this holiday season. Consider ways to reduce stress and manage your emotions by taking care of YOUR mental, emotional, and physical health. These might include talking to a trusted friend, meditating, exercising, getting a massage, treating yourself to a holiday gift or just getting outside for some sunlight.
This holiday season, look for opportunities to make healthy choices and go for the score! Small choices really can make big changes that lead to an end of year WIN. May peace, joy, love, happiness and healthiness be yours this holiday season!