Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fitness experts’ crusade to keep you healthy and fit during the holidays. Most of the info in the magazines, blogs and websites are loaded with helpful hints to help you stay fit or eat less. But as a health coach, 40-something mother of 2 whose succeeded in making fitness a lifestyle, I can’t help but think “Really? It’s 2 days before Christmas and you’re telling me to eat a vinegar-laden tofu veggie salad before I go to a party?” Uh, no thanks. I’ll have a slice of the brie reindeer head en croute and chase it with a peppermint chocolate cream cocktail.
It’s the holidays for God’s sake! Back off the fitness Nazi soapbox and let me have a frickin cookie. I say this because the biggest element of making health and fitness a lifestyle is that it fits into your life–including the holidays. The reason so many struggle and fail is because they go to extremes of binge or diet, HIIT or couch surfing. Long term success lies in the middle, not the extreme ends. If you like mashed potatoes or peppermint bark, there has got to be a place for those in your self-care or it won’t last. Would you think “I’m married tonight, but not tomorrow night.” Of course not, because marriage is long term. Start thinking that way about your fitness! There is no on and off.
So this fitness coach isn’t going to suggest you do a juice fast after Thanksgiving or chug 3 cups of water before you go to that holiday party. I say: eat, drink & be merry. And here’s why . . .
One of the most overlooked things about the holidays is that you are busy. If you are a woman in the US, you’re not even busy, you’re slammed! You are running around, shopping, cooking and cleaning 2-3xs as much as usual. Well guess what, there research to show how just your awareness of the exercise you are get from daily activities like these changes your physiology. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/magazine/09mindfulexercise.html?_r=0 Besides, the new hip-thing in fitness is to integrate more activity into your everyday life. Well, HELLO: This time of year you do exactly that!
Also, if you pay attention you may notice that meals tend to be smaller and less consistent because if you’re like most, when you get busy you eat less. When it comes to the everyday breakfast-lunch-dinner thing you’re often so busy running around and prepping for the holidays you actually consume less without even realizing it. Don’t be a psycho about food: have a cookie and don’t sweat it. Keep the middle ground in mind and pack healthy snacks when you’ll be out all day. Your psychosis about “naughty” foods isn’t helping your body metabolize fat.
Lastly, the holidays symbolize some of the most health-giving concepts known to mankind: Gratitude, Love, Giving, Connection, Sharing, etc. This may be something you normally overlook as a health benie but: YOUR STATE OF MIND IS PARAMOUNT TO YOUR STATE OF HEALTH. If you are enjoying, laughing, smiling, and loving the people you’re with, there isn’t a better health Rx than that. Google Norman Cousins’ Anatomy of an Illness or http://ag.org/wim/resources/books/book_reviews/br_0805_Anatomy_Illness.cfm Laughter is phenomenal medicine and a good state of mind is outstanding for your digestion.
Here are my top 6 recommendations for healthy holidays:
1. Just do 10.
If you don’t have an hour, just do 10 minutes. Ten minutes of exercise is better than no minutes of exercise and actually proving to show benefits: http://www.oprah.com/health/Even-10-Minutes-of-Exercise-a-Day-Can-Improve-Health If you feel bloated after New Years, cut your calories by 10 a day. Avoid nutritional psychosis, dieting, extreme resolutions, and go back to normal healthy eating and exercise. Ez-peezy!
If your wallet is fed, make sure you are. Bring your credit cards and a snack–keep fruit, nuts, Kashi Go Lean Crunch or a Lara bar on your person or in your car.
Keep walking shoes in your car. (For shopping or gettin in those 10 min.)
Eat only what you want. Don’t fill yourself up w/ stuff you are not interested in to avoid eating what you really want–because 1/2 the time you’ll snack on the stave-off veggie tray, have a couple drinks, and then eat everything else you really wanted! (Or go home and eat more.) Keep your mind in the middle: enjoy small amounts of anything you want.
Super simple way to help your body process the high-fats of holiday meals. Add 2 Tbsp each of rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder, and paprika. Or check out the article http://www.thedoctorwillseeyounow.com/content/heart/art3421.html
Enjoy every bite, sip, and nibble, have fun, take a cab, and laugh your ass off (literally)! Get into the vibe and spirit of the holidays: adopt a family, play w/ your kids, bring in your neighbors trash cans, or leave candy canes on the fences of elementary schools. Have fun and love every minute, and your whole being, body-mind-soul, will glow with health.
Wishing You Fun-filled Healthy Holidays!
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