“DRESS” for Holiday Success!
I’m definitely not a fashionista but I know a thing or two about nutrition, fitness and healthy living. That’s not to say I’m perfect, but I’ve had the privilege of walking along side hundreds of people on their health journey, so I have some knowledge of best practices. One common theme among all of us is that the holidays can throw even the most well-intentioned person off track.
With that in mind, my version of “DRESS” for holiday success has nothing to do with glitter and high heels. Instead I prefer to focus on diet, routine, exercise, stress and sleep.The holiday season is filled with joy but when you combine Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, holiday parties, gift-buying, travelingand house guests, that joy can quickly turn into stress, fatigue, overeating, poor sleep, illness, etc.
To help make this the most wonderful time of the year, here are my tips toDRESS for holiday success –
I’m a nutritionist so I have a lot to say about diet. My number one tip is to enjoy a healthy breakfast with vegetables, fiber, protein and good fats.Starting the day with a balanced meal will keep you satiated so you’re more likely to make better choices the rest of the day. It’s an easy “win” and it provides momentum moving forward.
One example is scrambled eggs and sautéed spinach with avocado, organic sausage (optional depending on your protein needs) and a cup of berries or other seasonal fruit. A smoothie packed with leafy greens, berries, healthy fat and a high-quality protein powder is another great option.
If you think hitting Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte will cut it, think again. That 400-calorie sugar bomb (12 teaspoons of sugar!) may temporarily satisfy you but the crash is inevitable, leaving you craving more sugar and carbs.
Consider enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail just 2-3 times per week during the holidays. Or maybe stick to drinking only on the weekends through the holidays. Indulging seven nights a week for two months can have serious consequences. Alcoholic drinks can be loaded with calories, and because we drink rather than eat them, we often fail to recognize them as food. Additionally, alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases the likelihood that we’ll go back to the buffet for seconds (or thirds!).
One of the most insidious impacts of alcohol is on sleep. Even if you fall asleep more quickly with alcohol, it will negatively affect the entire night of sleep. This contribute to next-day tiredness, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Even if it doesn’t present as a hangover, alcohol-related sleep loss negatively affects dietary choices, mood and performance.
Nobody will notice or care if you’re not drinking at a social gathering. Order a club soda with lime if that puts you at ease.
Eat the foods you truly like and enjoy and skip the ones you don’t.Many of us eat foods during the holiday season just because they’re around, even if we don’t particularly like them. Store-bought cookies that taste like cardboard? Come on. They don’t even taste good. When you have a treat make sure it’s something you truly like. And when you eat it, savor and enjoy it guilt-free. When you allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods without any guilt, you’ll be less likely to binge eat.
It’s okay to modify your routine during the holidays. Just don’t throw all of your healthy habits out the window for two months and promise to be “perfect” come January. (We’ve got you covered with our 14-day sugar detox starting January 14th https://restoreforyou.com/client-programs/14-day-online-group-detox-general-info/).
Make a commitment to engage in the healthiest behaviors possible given the constraints of the season.
As I mentioned above, you can start each day with a healthy breakfast. Or maybe you enjoy a salad for lunch every day if breakfast isn’t your thing.
Consider a minimalist routine when it comes to exercise. I love the 7-minute workout https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-scientific-7-minute-workout/. You can definitely sneak this in while everyone else is still sleeping.
The trick is to keep moving. A body in motion stays in motion. Bundle up for evening walks in your town and enjoy the holiday lights and decorations. Encourage family members and friends to join you!
Speaking of stress, many people feel a sense of panic when they think about the holidays. Parties, tempting foods, less sleep, fewer workouts, more alcohol, etc. Try torelax and have realistic expectations. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be “perfect”.
Stress might actually be more harmful than holiday parties;studies suggest that up to 90 percent of illnesses are linked to stress. Unfortunately, during times of stress we often forgo behaviors that help us handle stress such as healthy eating, exercise and getting to bed on time.
Aim for eating vegetables at least once per day during the holidays and avoid binging on sugar (think back to enjoying what you like and avoiding what you don’t!). Physical activity is a great stress reliever! Even 10 minutes of daily walking has health benefits. If you attend a party with music, be sure to hit the dance floor! Remember to aim for 8 hours of sleep most nights.
When you find yourself in a stressful situation remember to breathe. In as few as 5 deep breaths you can switch your body from the stress response to the relaxation response. This will help to normalize heart rate and blood pressure, improve digestion and normalize blood sugar levels, which all become dysregulated when we are under stress.
Focus on finding the joy in the season, cultivating a positive attitude and fostering important relationships.
Despite what you may have heard, most adults need 8 hours of sleep per night, especially during the holiday season. Adequate sleep can help control cravings, improve mood, boost immune function and heighten memory.
Sleep is when you recover. If you’re burning the candle at both ends this time of year you need to make sleep a priority. Lack of sleep leaves you more open to illness, sugar cravings, weight gain, lack of motivation, and mood swings. Sleep is a true wonder drug – it’s free and without harmful side effects!
Focus on low-hanging fruit so you don’t add more stress to your life right now. Promote melatonin productionby installing an app like FLUX on your devices to block blue light when the sun goes down, reading paper books in the evening, shutting off devices at least one hour before bedtimeand keepingyour bedroom dark and cool.
Optimize evening nutrition. Beyond caffeine and alcohol, watch meal timing, meal size and carbohydrate intake. Limit or avoid caffeine after lunch,limit or avoid alcohol, don’t eat too much or too late in the evening, and include healthy carbohydrates with dinner to promote relaxation
Establish an evening routine. We know this works for babies and children so why do we neglect it for ourselves? A warm cup of tea, reading, meditation… anything but social media! A warm bath or shower near bedtime has been shown to improve sleep quality.
DRESS for success this holiday season to be your best self! Following these guidelines should enhance your experience, not dominate it. This is the most wonderful time of the year so relax, set realistic expectations and find the joy!