Celebrating the holidays with family may be fun yet challenging in numerous ways. For example, there is so much preparation that goes into hosting a holiday meal that your fitness and healthy habits may be forgotten. Travel time to your destination may make your body feel stiff and sluggish. You may not know how to make healthy holiday meals.
Over the years, I’ve found that one major issue is maintaining your energy level leading up to the holiday and during the holiday so that you don’t end up in an over-eating frenzy and post-meal stupor. Whether you are hosting or just a guest, the solution is easy - based upon your previous experience you can identify recurring issues, then set your intention and make a plan so that the intention becomes self-fulfilling.
Poor self-care habits seem to surface.
Not working out.
Eating less or poorly.
Stretch upon waking and before bedtime.
Perform simple workout upon waking and before bedtime (4-5 rounds, 10 reps each: Squats, Push ups, Crunches).
Plan your eating schedule with the tools at My Plate. If you are a guest, go to the local supermarket to supplement your meals/snacks to fit your eating schedule. It helps to let the host know how important this schedule is to you so that they don’t feel responsible or bad.
The WHY behind it all:
1. Eat breakfast!
It is the most important meal of the day. When you wake up, your body just experienced fasting during the time you were asleep and now needs to be fed to help you get through the morning. Check out these resources for Healthy Eating options.
2. Eat on time!
Eat your meals and snacks before you get hungry. This will help prevent low blood sugar episodes which lead to brain fog and mindless eating and binging. Paoli et. al. indicate that following a regular meal pattern may provide physiological benefits such as reduced inflammation, improved sleep, increased autophagy (think taking out the trash), increased stress resistance, and modulation of the gut microbiota (think less gas and bloating).
3. Incorporate a balance of protein, fruits & vegetables into your meals and snacks!
Fruits and vegetables provide you with a healthy source of not only sugar but fiber, which is responsible for balancing your blood sugar levels along with healthy protein. Maintaining a good balance is key - there are some great resources here. You’ll also find some great recipes here. Some great choices to have on hand:
Dark, leafy vegetables.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, and flaxseeds.
Anti-inflammatory foods rich in compounds like curcumin (found in turmeric)
Foods high in antioxidants like onions, garlic, green tea, and berries.
Nuts and seeds.
4. Hydrate, Hydrate and Hydrate!
Water is your friend. It keeps your body’s cells, tissues and organs happy by supplying a steady stream of nutrients and flushing out toxins. Think of a running stream versus a stagnant pool of water - which would you rather have your body drink from? Set yourself up for success.
Let’s say you wake up at 8am and go to sleep at 8pm. Space out your drinking so that you drink 8 ounces every 2 hours. This means you will drink 6 times in that timeframe which equals 48 ounces.
Fill your water bottle(s) for the day so that you have the visual as to how much you must drink by the end of the day.
5. Move more, sit less!
Too much sitting makes your joints stiff, saps your energy, and affects your overall health. While hydrating creates a running stream, movement allows for the stream to efficiently transport nutrients into joints and toxins out of your joints.
Help the host setup and clean up.
Go out for a brisk walk.
Do a quick AMRAP workout - you don’t need to get sweaty….just set a good pace and get it done.
Too much to figure out? As a certified health and wellness coach, I am trained to help you make a plan for yourself. Reach out and set up a session with me today!
Imrana G. Kazam,
PhD, NBC-HWC, CPT, CES, WLS
Personal Trainer, The GYM @ Milford
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Paoli, A., Tinsley, G., Bianco, A., & Moro, T. (2019). The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on Health in Humans: The Role of Fasting. Nutrients, 11(4), 719.
Roddy E, Zhang W, Doherty M. Aerobic walking or strengthening exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee? A systematic review. Ann Rheum Dis. 2005;64:544–548.
USDA My Plate Tools. https://www.myplate.gov/resources/tools
USDA My Plate Food Group Gallery. https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/food-group-gallery
USDA Nutrition. https://www.nutrition.gov/recipes