by Agi Kadar
This is the season for giving, making others happy and indulging in celebrations. In the midst of all that don’t forget about giving to yourself and taking care of and protecting the only body and mind you have.
Here are some useful tips to enjoy the celebrations and avoid weight gain, achy joints, weak muscles, gut problems and other side effects caused by too much inflammation-causing foods, excessive alcohol, lack of exercise and not enough sleep.
Remember that everything around you can add to your stress or help you handle it:
- Mind Your Mindset: Healthy holidays start in your mind! Holidays are for celebration, family, friends and love. Not for guilt or sacrifice, but also not for an excuse to eat and drink all the junk. Think about what this season means to you; be grateful for the traditions and good memories and your blessings. Also be thankful for your body and mind and treat them well. Set your mind to appreciate them and take care of them. That will help you find better choices and still have a good time and concentrate on what is important.
- Be realistic! You will indulge in some foods and drinks. Expect it and plan it! Enjoy small portions of your favorites and eat more of the healthy options such as vegetables, salads and healthy proteins. This way it won’t get out of hand and you won’t feel guilty and you can stay on your fitness goals.
- Eat the best you can every day and keep the treats for the parties and holiday meals. Choose healthy meals and normal portions. Keep taking your supplements to help your body deal with less nutritious meals. Take extra digestive enzymes especially when eating more.
- Protect your hormones with fats and healthy proteins! Your body needs healthy fats to create hormones to fight stress and burn fat. They will also help balance blood sugar to reduce cravings for sweets and treats that are hard to avoid and they will lessen the harmful effects of alcohol. Best sources are: organic avocado, full fat coconut milk, grass-fed ghee, butter or meats, cold pressed olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, bone broth, wild fish, pasture raised eggs and chicken.
- Hydrate well! Drink at least 50%. of your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water. (for example for a 150-pound person, 75 oz of water per day) Avoid plastic bottles and bottled water. Use glass or stainless steel. Add lemon, lime or unfiltered, raw organic apple cider vinegar to aid in detoxification.
- Pick your drinks carefully: if you drink alcohol, the simpler it is the better. Organic wine (think how concentrated the grapes are in wine, and grapes are one of the fruits containing high pesticides, so going organic will help protect you) or simple spirits with water or ice are the best. Some of the mixed drinks can have more sugar and calories than desserts. Most beers contain gluten, that can further upset your gut function (even if you don’t feel it) and usually contain other additives. Also consider the fact that when you drink alcohol, you are more likely to drop your guard and make unhealthy choices. Consume extra water since alcohol will dehydrate you. You will be grateful the next day when you wake up without a hangover.
- Think green! Inflammation is on the rise when you are under stress, eat different foods, travel, get less sleep and are exposed to more toxins. It is also the root cause of health problems and chronic diseases. Green tea is a great addition to fight inflammation. One cup produces enough anti-inflammatory effect to have a positive impact on your hormones and gut health. Drink at least one cup daily.
- Move every day! Keep up with your exercise routine if you can. If you are tired and stressed, shorter or less intense workout sessions might be the way to go until you can return to your regular routine, but do not stop moving. Use gentle forms of movement such as walking, yoga, stretching, light resistance training. Stay active even when you can’t find the time for formal exercise. Walk faster when shopping! Stand up from our desk more often. Stretch, move around, do some body weight squats and pushups. Being active will energize you, curb your cravings for junk and will reduce your stress. Not to mention keeping you in shape and keeping your weight from creeping up.
- Get as much sleep and rest as you can. Meditate and relax for a few minutes when you get the chance. Find some quiet time for yourself every day and make an effort to make up lost sleep.
- Smile! Happiness, laughter and gratefulness will strengthen your immune system as well as help fight stress.
Pace yourself and enjoy the process. Soak it all in: the love and caring, the decorations and the beauty of it all, spending time with family and friends, use the celebrations to recharge and lift your spirit. Look at the big picture and take care of yourself so you can enjoy it all!