With Thanksgiving under our belts (so to speak!), there’s no doubt that the holidays are upon us. Whether we’re feeling excited or are full of dread, I know we can experience both feelings at once this time of year! Continuing our holiday wellness theme from last month, I’d like to share a list of the three issues I commonly see people suffer with during the holiday season and simple ways to avoid them. These suggestions may not be easy, but they are definitely doable with some determination and effort. The key is to make your own health and well-being a priority.
- Here’s the straight-forward, clear way to enjoy holiday gastronomic delights without seeing your waist expand. Allow yourself one meal a week where you can have whatever you would like. Mind you, there is a time limit to this meal – a normal 30-45 minute meal – and you can’t save anything for later. This way you won’t feel deprived but you also won’t allow yourself to continue to indulge
- Drink plenty of water between meals and especially 30 minutes prior to eating so that you are not so hungry.
- Chew each bite twice as long as you normally would and notice (i.e. enjoy) the taste, texture and nuances of the food.
- At the big holiday meals, go ahead and have the food you normally would, but take half the amount you usually pile on your plate. Then savor it!
- If you really want to feel more full and less hungry and likely to indulge, have a teaspoon of coconut oil about 15 – 20 minutes before a meal. It will level your blood sugar and make you feel less hungry.
- The most important thing is to avoid or significantly reduce the sweets and focus more on the proteins, fats and vegetables with each meal. These foods are full of nutrients and also help to maintain your blood sugar so that you don’t have the peaks and valley and the tendency to produce cortisol and store fat.
- Keep up with your exercise routine! This will reduce stress, help you to sleep better and keep your brain focused.
- Keep the situation in perspective. When you start to feel stressed, ask yourself, “How important is this going to be to me in 5 years? Will I even remember what I was so stressed about?”
- Turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime so that you can get adequate sleep. Without proper sleep your hormones will be off and your stress levels will rise. The blue light of electronics interrupts normal circadian rhythms and interferes with sleep cycles.
- Use prayer, meditation, journaling and quiet, relaxing activities to trigger the relaxation response and turn off the stress response. As little as 5 to 10 minutes of relaxation can help. The trick is to schedule it right into your day just like you would any appointment.
Getting sick with a cold or the flu
- Keep your immune system healthy with good nutrition, staying away from sugar and attending to the steps for reducing stress as mentioned above.
- Good daily preventative immune boosters are Echinacea, Garlic and probiotics and for the times when you feel the early warning symptoms of sickness coming on, use products that mount an immediate immune response such as vitamin rich foods, zinc, homeopathic remedies and thymus gland support.
- Stop germ phobia! We now know that the immune system likes to be challenged and needs exposure to the microbes of our environment not only to populate the gut lining and crowd out harmful microbes, but also to meet challenging microbes and grow stronger. Your immune system operates in a similar way as building muscles. It needs exposure to the population of bacteria, viruses and fungi to grow stronger and protect you from the dangerous ones.