I know it's hard to maintain your healthy regimen over the holidays, but if we don’t keep some measure of discipline over our choices during this festive, celebrative, social time we will be trying to reign it back in ‘til Spring. We don’t want to have to be struggling with trying to make right choices for the next four months, so let’s try to keep health at least in the back of our minds if it's not at the front of our minds during our holidays.
1. Eat only when you are hungry
Problem: Food may be around you all the time. Stop and think before you put that cookie, or that chocolate, or those cheese and crackers and chips in your mouth – “Am I hungry? Do I really want that?” If you find yourself picking at food all day throughout the day, recognize it and STOP.
Solution: Put a timer on yourself and don’t eat or drink anything except water for that amount of time. Notice how many times you think about reaching for some food. Recognize how habitual and thoughtless your choices have become. Becoming aware of your actions is the opportunity to make a change.
2. Eat only until you are satisfied
Problem: Food is both really yummy and really social. It is easy to just keep eating, especially when there are so many choices. But you know that if you eat past your full point, your stomach will compensate by stretching itself to accommodate all that food. And that translates to tight pants and shirts.
Solution: Have a large glass of water 10-15 minutes before eating your meal. Then put your food on a plate and be done. No more looking around to see what you can pile on the plate. Eat slowly, putting your utensil down in between bites so that you give your brain time to catch up with what’s going on in your stomach. Take that time to notice whether or not you have the hunger capacity to eat more or if you are satisfied, happy and content and can therefore, STOP
Problem: Yes, many problems can arise, but in the context of making health choices, alcohol inhibits our ability to make healthy choices. Here’s a scenario; you’ve been having a great day of making healthy choices and you are feeling successful and good about yourself. You are going over to your best friends’ for dinner, just you, your partner and your two best friends; the four of you. Before you know it, four empty bottles of wine are sitting on the counter and you’re opening a couple more bottles to finish dinner with. Now the veggies aren’t looking that appetizing but the butter, the bread and potatoes, and the chips and the cheese, and the dessert looks really good. After all, it’s the holidays!
Solution: Somehow, you have to limit your alcohol consumption. Be a DD and carry around a breathalizer, alternate wine with water and lemon, don’t have anything to drink before you go out, or … indulge and start up again the next day. If you find that the next day never gets started, then you simply have to jump on the wagon for at least a week and know that you will survive, and may even like going dry. I know for me, after many years of celebrating with alcohol, now it's kind of a “been there, done that, don’t really want to keep doing that.”
Problem: There’s not enough time or, I can’t leave my visitors or, I’m too full or, I don’t feel like it or, I’m traveling and don’t know where to go or, what to do for exercise or …
Solution: Honestly, you’ve got to move your body. If you don’t move your body, your body will hurt. Your body is worth 30 minutes every day! Plan a walk, plan some stretches, plan to go to an exercise class you’ve never gone to before, plan some sit-ups and pushups and squats, put on some music and dance, buy a hoolahoop, 10 full inhales and exhales every hour of the morning, pull a sleigh, clean your house, take the stairs, play Pictionary … there are lots of ways to get 30 minutes of movement into each day. Then make an exercise plan for the upcoming New Year.
I hope these suggestions help you.
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