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Health during the Holiday's

For many of you the tree has been up since November, boxes of chocolates are tempting us daily in the grocery stores, workplaces & maybe even our own cupboards. The baked goods are more prevalent than last month & the allure of a big sit-down meal with family we haven’t seen in ages is tempting us.

Soon people will be bringing more treats to work, visitors will be bringing baked goods, sweet treats, alcohol & good food in general. We will bake more, cook richer foods, & likely have a few more drinks than we did last month...Tis the season after all!

But wait, what if you’ve been working hard to maintain a healthy diet & exercise schedule that now runs the risk of being lost the minute you eat a slice of fruit cake or minced meat pie? This is a common theme among people in general. We diet, exercise & generally work to get in shape to “look good” for an event, season, or whatever it may be, then blow it all away once that goal line is crossed.

The psychology around this is fascinating but we won’t go down that road, instead let's consider that we don’t have to undo every good & kind thing we’ve done for ourselves, just because it’s an overindulgent season. You have the power, control, & ability to determine how you treat your amazing body over the holidays. So here are a few tips to ponder & hopefully even remember when faced with diet & lifestyle upheaval the next 4-6 weeks because let's face it Christmas isn’t just a week or two anymore.

  1. We are wired to store more fat in the winter, which made sense when food was scarce & the body needed to conserve calories for future energy use. Now while our genetic disposition hasn't changed the abundance & addictive qualities of food has, & yet we continue to eat based on a historical need, failing to recognize this is no longer necessary, so try:

  • Remind yourself these foods will always be there, you are not going to miss out by not eating every tart, bun, sweet, or meal offered to you, Christmas or otherwise.

  • Remember that you can have everything but do so in moderation, 1 butter tart instead of 2, eat until you are full, not stuffed & know that you can always save it for later.

  • Rest assured that the few minutes of pleasure you get from the sugar rush will not benefit you long term. Instead remind yourself of how good you feel after a workout, or when your clothes fit just perfectly.

  1. We are inclined to overindulge when we are in group settings, an unfortunate but true statistic. With holidays being even more of a reason to gather together & over indulge we may not even realize we are doing it, so try:

  • Turning your back to the food instead of talking & picking at whatever might be in front of you, hungry or not, & more often the latter.

  • Change rooms to engage in conversation instead of standing next to the dessert table or island covered in finger foods. The person you are talking to might even appreciate the gesture too.

  • Try a group walk after dinner instead of falling into a turkey coma. Even just a quick 15-30 minute stroll can reset our hunger cues & help us to avoid overeating.

  1. We tend to be more dehydrated in the winter as we don’t crave a cold drink like we do on a hot day & so we might not get in as much water as we should be. Radiators, stoves, & excess clothing can also contribute to dehydration, as well as the caffeinated beverages we might be craving to warm us up. Since we often mistake thirst for hunger this can be a simple enough one to correct, try:

  • Drinking water before every meal. Not with your meal but prior to, since drinking while you are eating is not advisable. It can dilute digestive juices & potentially reduce nutrient absorption. While drinking prior to a meal will help to fill you up some & potentially help to avoid over eating.

  • Try herbal teas in the evenings when you are in relaxation mode & maybe craving a sweet or food just out of boredom. Peppermint, cinnamon & licorice teas can all help to pull the focus from food.

  • Adding a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. I know it’s easier said than done, but this can have an immense impact on dehydration, alcohol consumption, overeating due to relaxed inhibitions, & even recovery the next day.

  1. We don’t need to sit around for 10 days, as is the typical amount of days off over the holiday season. While it might seem like a great idea to curl up in front of a fire, or tv, eat on the couch & just generally be lazy & relaxed, this will prove to be anything but good for you in the long run. A day or two is fine, we all need a bit of down time, but make the other 8 more productive & try:

  • Embracing your inner child, I know it’s corny sounding but why not. We used to walk after Christmas dinner every year as a kid, bundle up & play in the snow for an hour after the dinner & be exhausted by the end of it. This will help improve digestion & burn a few calories.

  • Get in some exercise in the morning, it’s when our energy levels should be at their best & cortisol will be elevated so you’ll have the drive & need to burn some excess energy.

  • Remember stretching is great for the body & the mind. So if the weather doesn’t let you outside or you don’t fancy breaking a sweat, spend 15-30 minutes just getting yourself in sync again with some gentle stretching.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed & can be without leaving you feeling like you have to roll into the new year with a list of resolutions the length of your arm. Remember your body is still in winter storage mode in January, hence why diet attempts that time of year very rarely work out.

Love & be kind to your body daily & it will love & be kind to you. Small changes, more steps, & a bit of self awareness can & will go a long way this year. Good health habits can take time to develop so have patience with yourself & don’t throw all the good work you do out the window over a few poorer choices, no matter what time of year. No one is perfect, there is no perfect diet, body, workout or plan, just what works for you & how good you feel doing that each day.

Happy Out Nutrition

Where Happy In Leads to Happy Out!

Phone: 087 440 5199

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