Hangovers suck, and I'm not just talking about alcohol hangovers... food comas, emotional withdrawals, and holiday after-effects can sabotage our efforts at starting a new year fresh. Instead of waiting to make New Year's Resolutions to combat the damage you may do to your mind, body and spirit this holiday season, how about taking some preventive steps NOW?! With 18 days left until 2014, here are 5 easy tips to stay strong & healthy this year.
1. Beware of Liquid Calories, especially alcohol
Although many of you are looking forward to next year when you can celebrate your baby's appearance into this world with a glass of bubbly... the rest of us will more than likely indulge this year. It's important to remember that holidays beverages, both alcoholic & non-alcoholic are loaded with sugar & unnecessary calories. Alcohol contains almost as many calories per gram as fat, let alone mixing it with creamy or sweet mixtures. It also lowers our inhibitions making it easier to stand close to the desert area of the buffet. To combat the tortuous hangover, take B vitamins & Calcium supplements or eat a banana prior to the party (if adding new supplements, check with your health care provider first). Stay hydrated with plenty of water or sparkling water, NO soda at all. A good rule of thumb, aka professional partiers, is one glass of water per cocktail to prevent headaches & you won't drink as much.
2. Beat the Bulge
If you've been eating healthy all year, don't think of the holiday season as a time to treat yourself with junk. Celebrate your accomplishments by sticking with what has worked thus far. Eat 4-6 healthy meals per day rather than save up all day for the holiday party after work. Socialize on the dance floor or by the fire, instead of in the kitchen or at the appetizer station. Show your kids that this time of year can be just as healthy as the summer by eating oatmeal cookies instead of sugar cookies. Keep up with your fitness routine so you can look smokin' when the ball drops! Make a healthy holiday pact with a friend or family member. Join the aB™ Fit Club - Your Best December Ever Challenge! It's not too late.
3. Digestive Regulation
During this busy time of year it is easy to rush meals or eat on-the-go as we travel. Now is not the time to be the winner of the "food race". It takes at least 20 minutes for our brains to signal that we are actually full. A slow eater will actually consume less calories than someone that shoves food through their face fast. Hang out near the vegetable tray at parties and think before you dip. Cheese plates & heavy spreads can cause major bloating. Drink two glasses of water and eat a piece of fruit before you arrive. Limit what you put on your plate. Just because everything looks & smells so yummy doesn't mean your body can handle all the food combining, it's not regularly used to. Don't feel bad about saying no to Great Granny's fruit cake. Your belly will thank you tomorrow.
4. Be in the Present
Instead of focusing on all of the tasks that you have to accomplish before the New Year, think of each day as an opportunity to enjoy this season. OK the decorations were up WAY too early this year, don't let the stores jade your feeling of joy in this moment. You still have plenty of time to find Christmas presents for those special someones, there will still be the perfect hot number for you to wear to NYE celebrations (even the coziest pjs, if you're lucky enough to stay home). Valentine's, Ground Hog's Day & St. Patrick's are months away, contrary to what retailers believe you to think. Enjoy the days your kids have off from school, or you from work, forget thinking about how you just want to be back on your daily schedule. Focus on the PRESENT, not the presents.
5. Keep Calm & Merry On
Does you family act a little nuts this time of year, more than usual? Are your co-workers going crazy decorating the office at the last minute? Take a moment and give a little giggle, instead of becoming enraged. Getting stressed & agitated at situations & others only makes it harder to keep the pounds off, messes with our digestive system (see #3) and ruins our day. Make a movie in your mind of the ridiculous things that others worry about. Imagine that irate dad at the toy store shopping last minute, as a funny Clark Griswald whom maybe just wants the best for his family but was working too much to do things on time. Even if your in-laws want to complain about the time you set aside to spend with them this season, smile, that they take the time to kvetch about You. If money is tight, remember your kids will remember a snowball fight with the family more than the newest game on an iPad Mini. Keep Calm, Merry On... & wear a funny sweater even if it's 85 degrees outside!