If the post-holiday season is making you feel tired and stressed out, you are not alone. Holidays can be both joyful and exhausting. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year tends to take us by storm, thus creating a change in our daily routine, leaving us feeling tired and out of shape.
Most of this fatigue is caused by the holiday festivities that offer lots of opportunities for indulgence. A daily exposure to caloric temptations can cause one to veer off into a pattern of unhealthy eating. It’s no wonder that one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and exercise. Fortunately, with the New Year comes a new beginning and the chance to take control of your health on a daily basis.
Here are a few healthy tips on staying fit: Start by recharging, rebooting, and detoxing your mind, body, and spirit. Begin with a positive attitude. Positive thinking will prepare you to commit to whatever you aspire to achieve.
Next: Set up goals. Prepare a list of reasonable, and more important, attainable short-term goals. Keep it simple. Setting the bar too high can lead to failure and disappointment.
Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-limited. Give yourself a deadline to evaluate results. Don’t strive for perfection or be too hard on yourself; tomorrow is a new day, you can always start over. And most of all: Don’t Diet! Research has shown that up to two-thirds of the people who went on diets regained the weight that they lost. Dieting is all about limiting certain foods, limitation can cause you to crave the foods you “can not” have. Instead of dieting try the 85/15 rule. This rule is much more flexible than a diet, you eat nourishing foods 85 percent of the time and eat whatever you want for the remaining 15 percent. If the majority of your food choices consist of high quality, nutrient-dense meals, your overall health is bound to improve. Also, consider a cleansing and detoxifying program to improve long term nutritional habits.
Here are ten tools to help achieve this goal:
- Eliminate refined sugar and gluten from your diet. A high sugar diet can cause heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain. Gluten can be difficult to digest; creating bloating and lethargy.
- Go green by adding green leafy vegetables to every meal. Aim for at least one cup of raw greens each day, including smoothies. Greens help your body detoxify and provide a great source of fiber while not adding calories to your diet. Focus on darker green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and chard, they have more vitamins and minerals than iceberg or romaine lettuce.
- Increase your vegetable intake. Besides green leafy vegetables, add a variety of colorful vegetables to your meal plan. Since each vegetable has its own makeup of vitamins and minerals, it is important to choose variety of vegetables for your menu so you get all of the nutrients that your body needs. Be creative, sauté, steam, roast or add them to egg dishes and soups.
- Hydrate by drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day, with or without sliced lemons or limes. Drinking water flushes out wastes and bacteria that can cause disease. If you want to lose weight try drinking water a half an hour before meals to help you feel full and consume less food.
- Exercise will give you a nice mood-boost. Try exercising on an indoor exercise bike if you have one, or dance to music. Walking is a gentle, low-impact cardio exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health, it’s also safe and simple. Sweating will flush the body of harmful substances like alcohol, bad cholesterol, and salt. Another option is to try a sauna, steam or detox bath to get your body sweating.
- Engaging in mediation can be one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to manage stress. Meditation helps improves brain function, memory, decreases depression, anxiety and insomnia. Journaling is another technique used to cut down on stress. Writing down thoughts, and listing positive goals can be very up-lifting.
- Get a good night’s sleep. While we sleep, our body detoxes, heals and recharges, allowing us to face the new day refreshed. Research has shown that people who sleep less tend to be heavier. This is one area you can’t cheat on, lack of sleep will catch up with you in time.
- Toxins are not just in food, they are also in your environment. Check your home for toxic cleaning products and replace them with environmentally safe ones. Replace toxin-filled beauty products with those free of harmful substances such as paraben, formaldehyde and synthetic fragrances.
- Toxic relationships can also be unhealthy, causing stress, lack of sleep and throwing the body off balance. Take a long hard look at any problem people in your life and kiss those toxic relationships goodbye.
- Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a gift and take a day trip to the spa, enjoy a sauna or massage, great ways to relax and detox.
Start with one or two of the above tools and integrate them into your daily life. Add one a week until they become a daily practice. And lastly – have a healthy and happy New Year!
*The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment. Please do not undertake any diet or exercise regimen without consulting your trusted healthcare provider.
Cheers to a healthy New Year!
Nutritional Curator at The Lodge at Woodloch