Staying Healthy During the Holidays
You want to join in all of the Christmas festivities, food, desserts and wine, but you want to stay healthy during the holidays too! After all, you’ll be dressing up and seeing people you may not have seen all year.
It’s true, the holidays are not always conducive to staying fit and healthy. With a little bit of planning and some tried and true mindset tools, you can have your Buche de Noel and eat it too. Here is what I’ve learned through many years of holiday parties and self-care.
In order to reach and maintain a certain level of health and wellness, you must generally do some advance planning and scheduling. Master your mind and calendar right now, before the parties begin, so they don’t master you.
Schedule Exercise Now
Split your workout into two times of the day, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon/early evening. Decide right now on a specific time or times for your morning and late afternoon workouts. Keep in mind, completing both workouts in the morning will give you greater flexibility in the evening should an impromptu invitation appear.
At the very least, do that morning workout.
Beginning the morning of December 1, drop into your digital calendar, all your workouts for the month of December. For convenience, I do aerobics in the morning such as the stationary bike or the rebounder, and body work such as weights, Pilates or yoga in the late afternoon or early evening. Note, if you accept any invitations during the week, and if you can fit it in, do your body work in the morning, after your aerobics.
I love rebounding. Rebounding is basically dance bouncing on a mini trampoline. It elevates your mood, moves lymph fluid, gets blood to your face, burns calories, feels great on your feet and calves and only takes 15 to 20 minutes a day to be effective.
Turn on some great tunes or a book on Audible and have fun with it! I researched them and decided on the Urban Rebounder, available on Amazon for $130. Rebounders come with stability bars so you have something to hold on to if needed.
This plan includes structured workouts Monday through Friday, with a non-structured workout on Saturday and a day of rest on Sunday.
Monday through Friday
A.M. workout – Stationary bike or rebounder 20 minutes, or fast walk one hour.
P.M. workout – Alternate each day between two body work exercises of your choice, such as Yoga or weights.
Any fun based, non-structured activity such as ninety minutes of hiking; pickle ball; tennis or outdoor cycling.
Take a day of rest, you’ve earned it!
It’s so easy to get side tracked and lose impetus to work out but exercise is a must. Look at movement as a joy and mindfully associate it with feeling and looking better for all your holiday get togethers through the new year.
Planning Meals Around the Holidays
Weight gain, water retention, pain and lethargy doesn’t have to be part and parcel to Christmas. In order to manage your fitness levels, however, you must do a little planning. In addition to exercise your basic Holiday health tools are water, intermittent fasting, a daily green juice and a big raw salad at lunch.
Intermittent fasting has been a real game changer in helping me manage my weight, arthritis and general feelings of health and wellness. It works because it gives your digestive system an optimal period of rest; allows your body to cleanse itself, which the body only does during periods when it’s not digesting food; gives your taste buds the opportunity to reset and fully appreciate healthful food; and prohibits energy depletion which occurs during the digesting of a large breakfast. In other words, a big breakfast depletes your energy when you need energy the most. Save your big meal for late afternoon/early evening, after your body work. Lastly, it helps you get in touch with the real sensation that is ‘hunger’.
Water is imperative year- round but if you’re consuming alcohol during the holidays, it becomes even more important. General rule of thumb is 64 ounces but a better guideline is to take your weight in pounds, divide it in half, and drink that number of ounces of water every day. For example, if you are a 150 lb. woman, you need 75 ounces of water a day. Even more when you consume alcohol.
Never drink tap water. I use a Brita filter and change it every month. Spring water is best but reverse osmosis is purportedly an excellent choice too.
Green juicing is a life changing experience because it allows you to consume so much produce in one single setting. I use the Breville Compact Juice Fountain for easy use and clean up. It’s $99 on Amazon.
In order to make your green juicing sustainable, you want to make it taste super good. If it tastes yucky, you won’t want to do the work of juicing. I do this by including apple and lime in my morning juice. It’s hard to share exact quantities because produce comes in all shapes and sizes but here is a general guideline to my own morning green juice.
Makes 2 large glasses of green juice, one to drink and one to freeze for the following day. Green juice does not keep in the freezer. Only green smoothies can be refrigerated without freezing.
I do two juices at a time to save time, and freeze the other. With some practice you can make and clean up in 15 minutes. Otherwise, allow 25 minutes. Using organic produce, each green juice costs about $3.25 per 20-ounce glass. That’s about $23 a week.
Romaine lettuce, about 2 heads
2.5 red apples
1 large lime
1 large cucumber
1/3 bundle cilantro, optional
5 stalks lacinto kale, bitter stems removed!
I actually love to drink/eat my green juice slightly frozen. It’s like the best slushie you’ve ever had!
The big, raw salad is something I came up with in order to consume most of my daily, plant-based foods in raw form. To stay healthy during the holidays, get a big, raw salad daily. Granted, not all the ingredients must be completely raw, but I try to get all of my daily raw produce requirements in my green juice and big, raw salad. I know myself and I won’t eat raw veggies if they aren’t dressed like a salad and tasting really delicious. The big, raw salad at lunch solves that issue. Then at dinner, I really don’t stress. I eat a cooked, plant-based meal of my choice.
Salads I Love
I don’t eat at any restaurant that doesn’t have a big salad, unless I’m specifically going for pasta and/or seafood. I do eat fish occasionally.
When going to a party, I always offer to bring the salad. That way, I know I’ll be able to eat at least one healthy meal while there. I never deprive myself of treats at parties and I can do this because I eat so healthy during the rest of the week.
My Greek salad with romaine, cucumber, chevre, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, onion, tomatoes, yellow or red bell pepper, dried basil, dried thyme, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is a favorite. Bay shrimp is optional. Try and find wild caught.
My strawberry salad on romaine, with yellow bell pepper, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, honey, jalapeno and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Caroline Vassar’s kale Cesar is amazing with lacinto kale, high quality parmesan or Violife vegan parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste and cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil. Caroline is a friend from high school.
To get more goodness on staying healthy during the holidays, check out my free download Five Pillars to Optimal Wellness where I go into more detail on juicing, vegetarian meals, salads, exercise and the detox methods mentioned in today’s blog!
That’s it for today. Here’s that link again, Five Pillars to Optimal Wellness!
Bye for now.