The holiday season is here.
While you’re putting in the extra time and energy to make the season bright for family and friends, you mustn’t forget about yourself.
Here are five simple rules to remember to maintain your energy, your weight and your healthy glow. You may have heard them before, but it’s always good to get a reminder right about now.
1. Continue to exercise
Exercise burns extra calories. It’ll bring your stress levels down, increase your energy and get the endorphins going so your mood stays lifted. As an extra benefit, it gets the blood running to your brain and your face so you’ll be both brilliant and beautiful at the party.
Here’s a fun fact for you: the Thermic Effect of Food (the calories you burn while digesting your food, which is pretty small) plus the Thermic Effect of Exercise (the calories you burn while exercising) has a greater than additive effect when you eat and exercise within a short time of each other. It’s the perfect motivation to get out for a walk, play some football, or take that hike before or after dinner. Here’s one case where 1+1 is greater than 2!
2. Organize your plate
Getting the macronutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants you need to keep your energy and your healthy glow by filling half your plate with fresh plants (fruit and/or vegetables, minimally cooked, with minimal sauce and cheese) every time you eat. I recommend it to all of my clients, and I do it myself .
If you practice this through the holiday you’ll be fully satisfied with less calories and feel great after you eat. Having lots of fruits and veggies will also curb your appetite for the dessert after the meal. Hands down, it’s the easiest way to maintain your waistline through the holidays.
When we’re not getting enough water, our blood volume actually lowers. We can start to feel sluggish, and we may not even think as well. Staying hydrated ensures you’ve got enough blood to get all the oxygen and nutrients (from all the fruits and veggies you’re eating) to your brain, body and skin so you can radiate all day long.
4. Be particular about your sweets
It’s recommended that women get a maximum of 6 teaspoons and men get a maximum of 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That’s 24 g and 36g of added sugar per day. (I’m not talking about natural sugars we find in fruit and dairy).
Most of us are already consuming more than that during the average daily routine. So when it comes to the holidays, we add more sugar and fat on top of that. That’s how the holidays can become dangerous for our waistline, and for our health.
Take a quick tally of where you’re already eating sugar during the day. See if there’s any place you can cut down on the sugar in order to make room for some of the holiday treats you might be having.
For example: What are you eating for breakfast? Do you regularly stop at the coffee shop for a holiday coffee and a slice of pound cake? If so, you could make a swap for oats with fresh fruit and nuts, or eggs, spinach and half of a sweet potato, have an espresso and save your sugar budget for the holiday party.
Remember, sugary foods take the place of other, healthy foods that support your healthy day. So make sure you have a nutrient-filled meal before you dive into the dessert table. And when you do, take the treats that you love the most and leave the rest.
(Where does alcohol fall on the food spectrum? My rule of thumb is that 1 serving of alcohol equals 1/2 piece of cake.)
5. Get your sleep
The value of sleep is becoming more evident. During deep sleep Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is at peak levels in our bodies. HGH is crucial for our body’s growth, recovery and repair. Deep sleep is essential for optimal gains from an exercise program, recovery from injury or illness, and the deposit of information into long term memory banks in our brain. Recent research even suggests that sleep may clear our brain of toxic chemicals that are associated with alzheimers. On the lighter side, sleep is the best beauty product nature ever invented and getting enough of it really does wonders for our looks.
If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, you may be over-stressed. Stress can get in the way of falling to sleep and can even disturb our deep sleep.
The holidays can be a wonderful time, but we can’t ignore the fact that the additional preparation, obligation and expectation can bring additional stress. For that reason, it can be helpful to have a few stress-reduction practices in your back pocket.
Diana and I have created a trilogy of Healthy Holiday webinars to help our viewers manage the holidays in a healthy way. In Episode 3- Tamping Down the Stress I gave away techniques that help you to quickly bring down holiday stress so you can get back to having fun. Click here to watch the recording of that webinar. You can join in on the previous two below.
Do you have your own secrets to looking and feeling great through the holidays? Share in the comments section.