MRM Admin
December 1, 2017
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Holiday Health Guide

Navigating nutrition around the holidays can prove to be a tricky task. I mean… how are you supposed to turn down loads of pies, cakes, tarts, and cookies? I can taste them now… the medley of butter, sugar, and spices dancing with flavor while slowly melting over every taste bud and releasing insane amounts of serotonin … mmm delicious! So, how do we combat the urge to shove 80,000 cookies down our throat and maintain our healthy lifestyle? These 12 tips should help you…

  1. Make time for exercise…
    The time of parties, shopping, cooking, and socializing is seriously upon us- but that’s no excuse to neglect our personal health. If you know you’re going to have to make it to a party shortly after work, get to the gym in the morning. Yes, it might be cold, and getting up earlier than you’re used to can be hard, but busting out a quick 30–45 minutes sweat sesh will make you feel worlds better, especially when you reach for that 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) glass of egg nog! Staying consistent with exercise is always a must. You can be little flexible- train at home under 30 minutes doing HIIT circuits, or cut back a couple days a week. If you’re used to working out 5–6 times per week it’s ok to lessen it down to 3–4, just make sure on the days you do work out you’re really pushing yourself. In fact, working out 3–4 days a week is great as a regular training schedule! The body loves rest days- they’re essential, actually- if you stay somewhat active on those rest days (i.e. go for a walk, or practice yoga) and don’t go overboard on the treats!
  2. Activities are your friends…
    Make sure to stay active! This can mean going for a walk, raking leaves, shoveling snow, building a snowman, dancing your heart out to your guilty pleasure jams, going ice skating- anything! Even doing chores around the house is a great way to burn a fair amount of calories- talk about killing two birds with one stone! Although the winter months can be cold, and sometimes harsh, most of the time getting outside isn’t such a terrible thing. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to sit on your couch all day (although every now and then that’s EXACTLY what you need!)… getting outside, even if it’s for a 10-minute walk, helps to alleviate stress, promote a sense of calmness and well-being, and increase productivity! So put on your parka, throw on your goulashes, and go breathe some fresh air while absorbing the beauty of nature around you.
  3. Throw a party that *doesn’t* revolve around food…
    GASP! I know… is that even possible? Yes, it is. Don’t get me wrong, I always have some snacks laid out (I’m not a complete lunatic!) but it will be something like a cheese, hummus, veggies, and crackers… Foods everyone can enjoy and not stress about eating. One of the best parties I went to was a DIY party. Everyone brought their own project they were working on, we bumped some music, and had a grand old time. You could also have some people over for a game night, or to watch a movie. The best part is there were some people I never thought would be interested in such things, guys and girls alike. Remember how much you loved having friends over for things like this when you were younger? You can still have that same amount of fun, if not more, you just have to do it!
  4. Bring a snack or a dish you will eat…
    Going to a party where you’re not certain what kind of food will be there? Or maybe it’s a pot-luck… either way, bringing a dish that you can personally enjoy is always a good move. Don’t be afraid to get creative, either! Bring your vegan Caesar salad with homemade dressing- chances are everyone is going to love it and you don’t even have to mention it’s vegan. This way you’ll have something healthy you can eat if there’s nothing else around. Plus, there are probably others that would love what you’ve made- just make sure to always bring enough to share! If you’re not comfortable bringing your own food, pack a couple snacks. No one can get mad at you for munching on some almonds or trail mix, an apple, a protein shake, or all three!
  5. Eat before you go out…
    This is a great rule of thumb and works for all types of situations. Maybe you’re going to a party where you know there won’t be any foods you can eat, maybe you’re going to hang out with some friends who only have unhealthy options around, maybe you’re going to the movie theater… whatever the situation is, eating a meal before you go out will keep you on track. This way you can eat a meal you want, and it will keep you full and satisfied so even if you are tempted to indulge you can control yourself and only eat one cookie instead of the whole tray.
  6. Stay calm… These aren’t the last cookies in the world…
    Seriously… take a deep breath and calm down. If you’re like me you don’t eat sweets and treats very often, so when you’re presented with an entire table it can be overwhelming and really exciting at the same time. So, take a breath, scan the table and find what you really, really want to eat, and just eat that. If you know you kind of like fudge but you LOVE white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, eat the cookies. Don’t be afraid to have a few treats, either. It’s ok to have a couple truffles, a cookie, and slice of pie… but you don’t need every single dessert that’s placed on the table. Have fun, but don’t waste calories on something you don’t really enjoy!
  7. Up your water intake…
    It really is that simple, and you should probably drink more anyway daily. Increasing your water intake helps to keep you hydrated and satiated. A lot of the time when you think you’re hungry you’re thirsty. Drink a full glass of water 10–20 minutes before you eat anything- not only will you feel fuller but your digestive system will work much better, too. During these foods and drink focused months our salt and sugar intake increases significantly; drinking water is great way to help balance that increase while helping your liver and kidneys naturally detox.
  8. Only eat what you really want to…
    Same kind of idea as #6- really think about what you want to eat. Indulging is totally fine every now and then, but when you do try to not go overboard. Remember, liquid calories count, too! Don’t eat five pieces of bread if what you really want is a glass of apple cider and piece of cake.
  9. Don’t over-do the booze…
    I’m all about getting in to the party spirit, but that doesn’t mean you need to drink up a storm. Alcohol is heavy in calories, empty calories to be exact, and the way the body uses them is a lot different from nutritional calories. Alcohol is poison, so the body immediately tries to start detoxing it from your system. Alcohol also inhibits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food if you’re eating and drinking at the same time… so have a good time, but keep your wits about you.
  10. No stress allowed…
    There are simple ways to ease stress this season. You hear so many people complain “The holidays are SO stressful!” Well… they don’t need to be. There are some simple steps you can take to help alleviate stress build up. You know that saying “Fail to pre, prepare to fail”? That’s exactly right. If you are throwing or attending a party where you need to make or bring food plan it out in advance. Thin about what you need to make about a week in advance, and start making your shopping list. As the days get closer figure out if there is anything you can make in advance, if not the entire dish. If you can, make it the day before so you know it’s all ready when you need it, no questions asked. Make and bring snacks with you wherever you go so you don’t need to worry about finding something healthy to keep you going.
    Stressed about you Christmas gift budget and shopping list? Write down each person you absolutely need to get a gift for, and write down your total budget. Begin deciding how much you can spend on each person then start coming up with gift ideas. Plan a shopping day, or better yet order everything you can online so you don’t even need to go shopping! Lots of stores, online or not, even offer gift wrapping at little to no additional cost. The best way to combat stress is to plan and stick to it, prepare longer than you think you need to in advance and you’ll have very little to stress about. This includes decorating and buying your Christmas tree or other holiday decor!
  11. Load up on veggies…
    Doesn’t matter where you are- home, party, work, where ever- eat all the veggies! Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber. You can eat an entire plate of vegetables and have literally zero guilt about it. The more veggies you stock up on the less hungry you will be, meaning you’ll be a lot better at controlling your sweet tooth impulse and keep your pants fitting juuuuust right.
  12. Relax- it’s the freaking holiday’s!
    Overall… don’t stress. If you are consistent with your exercise and healthy diet indulging every here and there won’t do any damage. Sure, you might feel bloated for a night- but all you should do is drink a ton of water and get right back into your normal lifestyle the next morning. Remember, it’s what you do most that counts. Don’t beat yourself up or ever “punish” yourself for having some fun. Enjoy that cookie guilt free, then nourish and love your body by staying consistent with exercise and whole, healthy meals. One bad meal won’t make you unhealthy, just like one good meal won’t make you healthy- it’s all about consistency and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

… so… where’s the spiked egg nog?!

 

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