Holiday season doesn’t have to leave you hung over and overweight. Research shows that weight gained during the holidays tends to hang on next year, so it’s worth taking a few moments to put some strategies in place.
Here are my top 10 tips to celebrate without sabotaging your health or vitality. In fact, you might even enhance it! Imagine coming out of the holiday season and starting 2016 feeling better than you do today!
1. Pick and Choose: whether it’s a 6 course meal or hours of party grazing, make sure you include protein and healthy fats each time you eat, to slow down the metabolism of sugars, carbs and alcohol.
2. Desserts: Learn to enjoy more, and eat less. Don’t deprive yourself but don’t gorge. Try this strategy: take a breath, take a bite, put your fork down, and savor. Stop after 3 bites. Most of us don’t even taste most of what we send down the chute after that! Focus on being aware of each mouthful, and you will find that eating less can be more satisfying!
3. Know Your Kryptonite: Everyone has triggers that send us careening out of control, burying our best intentions. Know yours? Be honest with yourself. Don’t pretend it’s okay to have “just a little”. Sidestep it, and move on. [Want to know mine? It’s tortilla chips…]
4. Don’t fast and binge “Saving” calories for later doesn’t work biochemically or metabolically and leaves you cranky, tired and too hungry to think straight when you’re faced with tempting choices. Having a small balanced meal earlier in the day supports your will-power later.
5. What really matters most? Quality time with family and friends? Giving back to community? Evaluating where you are and where you want to be? Make sure your commitments of time and energy are in sync with your values. That’s what the holidays are truly about.
6. Sleep can mitigate a huge amount of the damage you inflict, so don’t get stingy and cut corners here. The brain does major detox work each night IF you give it a chance. Did you know that it compresses to 70% of its daytime size to squeeze out toxins? Yup! For more on Sleep and the Brain, go here
7. Making Dessert? If you’re doing the food prep, use my favorite horizontal shift: subbing xylitol for sugar. Xylitol won’t raise blood sugar, tastes exactly like sugar (unlike stevia or other substitutes), is anti-microbial and can be subbed one to one in virtually any recipe using sugar. Learn more about xylitol here.
8. Hangover Defense For 9 ways to “hinder your hangover” read this.
9. Adaptogens I try to put pretty much everyone in my practice on one or more of these herbal gems, because they help you deal better with stress: they nourish, replenish, rejuvenate and restore at the cellular level. They’re safe, with no contraindications, and the science behind them is impressive. You’ve probably heard of some of them: ashwaganda, rhodiola, astragalus, and ginseng are some of the best known. A good adaptogen will help you with energy in the morning and help you wind down at night – perfect, right?
While I can find exactly the right tonic for you if we have a session, I’m sure you’d do well with Phytisone, a synergistic blend of several adaptogenic herbs plus adrenal-supporting nutrients. And it’s so inexpensive! Just $15 for a 60 capsule bottle. Take one capsule twice daily on an empty stomach, and double up for stressful days. Let me know if you want me to drop a bottle or 2 in the mail for you, or pick up in my waiting room.
10. Plan Ahead Wouldn’t it be a relief to know you’ve got a simple, effective detox in your pocket once the holidays are over? My Zen Vitality Detox course starts January 8th. This is a different kind of detox: about supports you can add in, not just what you take out. It’s over a month of tips, nutritional guidance and daily support from me, plus a group of like-minded folks to cheer you on. Access it on your phone, computer or tablet at your convenience. And only $79 if you register now!
What’s YOUR best healthy holiday strategy? Please share below.