I received a couple of requests to write a post on staying healthy during the holidays. While not an expert, I certainly can provide my humble two-cents worth based on my own experience.
First a bit of history for any newcomers: For a number of years, I was heavy, very heavy. You can read about my weight loss story here and here. Before my weight loss, I viewed the holidays as a free-for-all. And I also believed that they lasted from Halloween (yay copious amounts of candy!) until my birthday at the end of January. Let's see, that's 3 months. That's a quarter of the year. Hmm, free-for-all eating for 25% of my year? No wonder I kept gaining and gaining.
Once I got my weight down to a reasonable place, the holidays were no longer a free-for-all. But then it took a concerted effort to not gain more than a couple of pounds over the course of the holidays. I will not lie and say that it's easy now. In fact, maintaining a large (or small) weight loss is downright challenging. Ask anyone who has done it. Here are some tips that I find helpful over the holidays. If you haven't already, I hope that you can incorporate some into your arsenal of healthy-living tricks.
- Try to keep up your exercise schedule:
- Keep your stress to a minimum.
Means of reducing stress is different for everyone: getting a massage, taking 10 minutes to knit or do a sudoku puzzle (am I the only geek who loves these?), taking a hike, making your holiday dinner a pot-luck rather than doing everything on your own. You be the judge. Just try to find something to make things less manic at this crazy time of year.
De-stress with a little yoga
- Try to be reasonable with your food intake.
It really backfires if you try to starve yourself and "save your calories" for later indulgences. Here's a small example: I might cut out my sprinkle of granola on my breakfast smoothie-in-a-bowl. I will have plenty of carbs later in the day and I can survive without it. But don't you DARE try to take away my nut-butter-on-a-spoon because then I'll have to take you down. And it won't be pretty.
You don't have to eat raw fish and tofu (there go all my vegan readers!), but try to keep your meals balanced and nourishing...you might be less tempted by the gingerbread cookies later :-)
- Try to appreciate your fortune and your blessings
If you are reading these words, then you have a certain level of fortune. Sure you may not own a home or a car, but you can read, you have a roof over your head and you own a laptop- this is a privilege not everyone enjoys. I can get very caught up my little world of healthy living. But there are so many people who are less fortunate in about a zillion ways.
I wrote a post straight from the heart that you can read here. Basically, it was about counting your blessings. We all have problems and issues. But if we are lucky, we enjoy a certain amount of love and support from those around us. This includes bloggie friends as well as those I call my "Brick & Morter" friends (those I know in "real life"). And of course family.
- GET BACK ON TRACK ASAP
I learned the hard way after my last vacay, that it does you very little good to survive your trip, only to mistakenly let your guard down when it's over. You need to get back to a healthy balanced lifestyle a.s.a.p. or else weight gain WILL be inevitable. Trust me... I'm living mu'u mu'u-wearing proof. Whatever works best to get you back into the swing of things: keeping a food diary, limiting sugar or alcohol, counting calories, getting back to the gym...different strokes for different folks. Find what works best for you.
I don't know about you, but I can gain weight VERY, VERY easily AND quickly. What I gain in a week usually takes a month or more to shave back off. This is partially because I no longer Kamikaze "diet" my way back down the scale (leading to a horrific cycle of yo-yo weight-cycling).
Q: What's your best strategy for staying healthy and sane over the holidays? I'm constantly learning, so pummel me with your wisdom, people!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my dear Bleeps- and thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leaving such kind, insightful and intelligent comments. I learn from you and I am enriched by your presence and for that I am so grateful!