OPTIMIZING HEALTH OVER THE HOLIDAYS
Tis the season; to do lists, cooking, shopping, guests, decorating, parties, blissy foods and crafted cocktails. How can we approach the holiday season with mindfulness, self-awareness, and intention to enjoy the moments all while supporting our physical and mental health?
We’ve put together some holiday health tips that will leave you feeling energized and balanced. A healthy lifestyle is marathon not a sprint, small changes can make a big difference. So read through and find a few that may work for you.
Our goal at the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center is to inspire and support you in living your best life. Live long, live strong. Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season!
Real food is medicine! Incorporate more vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and lean protein into your diet. Take stock of your processed food/sugar/packaged food intake, what can you reduce or eliminate to kick start your health? Added sugar is the culprit behind weight gain, chronic disease, and inflammation. Start a food journal to see what your sugar consumption looks like and then create a plan to reduce it.
Meals rich in vegetables and fruits, lean protein and healthy fats will keep your blood sugar in balance, while keeping you satiated. A balanced, regular meal schedule will prevent the hanger feelings that often lead to sugary or salty carb cravings, helping you to say no to the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha (grande 440 calories with 54 grams of sugar!).
Holiday treats are a joy, making cookies with the family, or enjoying some savory appetizers at a cocktail party, we are not here to crash the party. However, you can create a game plan so that it is not a free for all at the expense of your health and waistline. Being mindful about your choices will help you strike the perfect balance.
Focus on hydration, aiming to drink 8-12 servings of water a day. Pick up an insulated water bottle and bring it with you on all those shopping trips. We often confuse thirst for hunger.
Speaking of drinks, consider your alcoholic beverage intake, can you create boundaries or limitations around consumption that will support you through the holidays and beyond? Sipping on sparkling water during the holiday festivities is a great way to limit the alcohol consumption, increase hydration and prevent those holiday hangovers.
With growing to do lists, we often find that we don’t have time for exercise. Aim for 30 minutes in the morning before the rush of the day. This is a great way to boost your mood and productivity. Those feel-good endorphins will have you flying through your holiday tasks! Also take advantage of the opportunities for more steps, grocery shopping, mall visits and small business shopping is a great way to boost your step count. The goal is 7-10k steps a day. Any increase is a plus!
The holidays can be a very stressful time, taking care of your mental health with daily meditation or breathing exercises may be just what the doctor ordered. Just 10 minutes a day can make a difference. A simple meditation technique. 1) Find a quiet and comfortable location, 2) Close your eyes and settle in 3) Notice your breath, in and out 4) As your mind wanders, notice, and accept the thought and return to the breath 5) continue for 5- 10 minutes.
Sleep is critical for overall health, when we don’t sleep well, we create stress for the body which can impact our hormones and create cravings and weight issues. Try to stick to your natural circadian rhythm, wake and go to bed at the same time each day and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. Early morning sunshine and getting outside during the day can help regulate your sleep. Avoid surfing the internet for the holiday bargains just before bed, the light from your phone or laptop can interrupt your melatonin levels making it tougher to fall asleep. Create a nighttime routine that is supportive of healthy sleep.
We talked about exercise, stress management, and eating well all of which support self-care. It is still important to check in with yourself, get support from family, delegate to others. You don’t have to do it all and shouldn’t be expected to have to take it all on, sometimes you just need to ask for help. Take the time to go for a walk, escape the company, the to-do lists, get a massage, mani-pedi, meditate or anything else that helps you feel centered and balanced. It is important to keep manage your stress to support a healthy metabolism.
Preparing and planning for your healthy holiday season will help bring on a healthy and happy new year without the need for new year’s resolutions. More importantly, you will have given yourself the best gift of all, a lifestyle focused on optimal health and longevity!