Coach Julie’s 10 Tips for Healthy Living Over the Holidays
1. Make a schedule. Physical activity will reduce holiday stress and keep your metabolism rockin’! Schedule at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity 4-6 days/week depending on your current level of fitness.
2. Don’t skip meals. By missing meals you will put your body into “starvation mode”. Your metabolism will decrease and your body will “hold on” to fat stores. You are also more likely to indulge later int he evening or at that holiday party. Be smart!
3. Drink water. You have heard it before but I will say it again…drink water! Water will aid in weight loss, keep your heart healthy, improve the appearance and elasticity of your skin, improve your digestion, flush toxins from your body, decrease your risk for dolon and bladder cancer and help you to exercise at higher intensities and for longer periods. Aim for a glass of water when you wake up, at each meal, in between meals and before and after exercise. Prevent thirst!
4. Stress management. The holidays can bring stress in all forms…even the joy of this time can change your routine and throw you of your game. Take care of yourself during this time. Take time to relax, read, meditate, walk, listen to music, share time with a friend and hug your kids. Be mindful of each moment and don’t forget to play once and awhile!
5. Wash your hands and get your vaccinations. We have entered cold and flu season. Wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds especially before meals. Get your flu shot and make certain you are up-to-date on all your vaccinations, exams and screenings. Now is not the time to “put off” your yearly mammogram and/or physical.
6. Eat your fruits and vegetables. At least 50% of your daily diet should contain fruits and vegetables. If you are planning a party or going to a party start with the raw veggies (watch the dip!), fruit salads, green salads, etc. You might not have enough room for dessert with this strategy!
7. Eat whole grains and reduce the white stuff. Whole grains will keep your heart healthy. Whole grain foods are made from all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. The following are considered whole grains: barley, rice, corn, oats, quinoa, rye and wheat. Reduce the added sugars in your diet. Refined sugar is linked to increased dental decay, increased weight gain and empty calories, malabsorption of B vitamins, decreased immunity and tolerance to heat and cold, increased risk of diabetes, cancer and heart illnesses.
8. Drink in moderation…that’s alcohol in moderation! I know…I know…no one wants to hear this especially with all those great holiday parties looming. Alcohol has empty calories (7 calories per gram). Alcohol dehydrates us and depletes our bodies of the B vitamins and vitamin C. Avoid sugary mixes, keep your drinks clear (vodka and gin over bourbon and whiskey), don’t mix (our stomachs hate that), eat before you drink and while you are drinking and drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.
9. Maintain your routine. I know that nothing gets us off track better than the holidays. Lots of work parties, neighborhood shin-digs, social gatherings, carol sings, holiday shopping, tree trimming and eggnog can lead us into negative patterns of behavior that can evolve into bad habits. Maintain your regular schedule of exercise, clean eating and stress relief as much as possible.
10. Be realistic. Stop demanding perfection of yourself and relax and enjoy the time with family and friends. It is easy to feel consumed by buying the perfect gift, making the best pumpkin pie and having the nicest holiday outfit. Focus on the meaning and traditions of the holiday season and your interactions with the people you love. Forget those unrealistic expectations!
Enjoy your Holiday Season!