Thanksgiving is around the corner, and with the holidays amongst us tend to come feelings of excitement, stress, and anxiety. There's an abundance of festive parties, holiday dinners, family, and work. In addition, the average reported weight gain is anywhere from 5-10 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Years. So what are some ways to enjoy the holidays while staying sane and healthy? A little preparation is key!
It's really important to create balance by making time for self-care. Start your day with meditation for improved immunity, heart health, mood, sleep, digestion, and focus. Twenty minutes a day is ideal, but if you're a beginner, start with five and work your way up to twenty to experience all the health benefits. Don't worry about if you're doing it wrong or right, there is no such thing. Just sit comfortably, upright, in a chair or the floor, and simply begin to breathe deeply, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on your breath, and when your mind wanders, come back to your breath.
Exercise promotes the release of hormones that improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. A minimum of thirty minutes a day is what you need and it can include walking, taking the stairs, yoga, dancing, cleaning, etc. It all counts, just move your body!
Don't Skip Breakfast! While you may think saving a few hundred calories for the big meal later makes sense, skipping and starving does just the opposite. A small meal in the morning can help give you more control over your appetite. Start your day with something that combines some protein, fiber, and healthy fat. (An egg or almond butter with whole wheat toast, oatmeal with almond milk, greek yogurt with flaxseeds)
This is the holidays and you've waited all year for your favorite treats, so have them and enjoy! Take a look at what's available and choose what you really want. Have an appetizer plate or napkin and select what you can't live without. Be mindful when eating, chew your food thoroughly, at least 20-30x per mouthful, and put your fork down between bites. Fill your plate with 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 25% whole grains to add to your feeling of fullness.
Start your day with two glasses of water and drink plenty of it throughout the day. Go easy on the alcohol and don't forget alcohol calories add up quickly. Choose wine or vodka with club soda on the rocks and have a glass of water between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.
With so much focus on food, we tend to forget what the holidays are about. Create the focus around family and loved ones, quality conversation and your time together. Consider how much nourishment you receive from connecting with your loved ones and allow the food to be a second source of nourishment. (food for thought) ;)
Give Yourself A Break
If you overdo it, please don't beat yourself up! It's the holidays and we're all trying to manage extra temptations, busy schedules, and stress. Be kind and practice compassion with yourself and others. Focus on weight maintenance, not weight loss around this time of year and do the best you can. After all, we're all human, and perfectly imperfect. Take it easy and enjoy!
I hope you found these tips helpful. Now, I'd like to hear from you. How do you manage stress and stay healthy this time of year?
To your health & happiness,
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