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Plan now to have a healthy holiday

Healthy holidayAs we sip the last of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey soup, we’re already seeing sprinkles of red and green in the stores and faint sounds of jingle bells. Thoughts are turning to shopping lists, decorations, gift giving and party planning.

What typically falls off the radar at this time of year, is healthy eating, daily activity and self-care.

Mid-November is one of the most important times to get these healthy living essentials back on the priority list. If you let things slide too much further you will sabotage and erase all of your good efforts up until this point. It’s definitely not too late.

Now is the time to pull back and refocus. You still have about five weeks to recommit to your health and wellness goals. You certainly don’t want two weeks of indulgence and gratification to turn into two months do you?

If that happens, by the New Year you’ll be feeling sick, drained, depressed and battling that holiday weight gain. What would be even worse, is if you let things slip now, you could end up sick, tired and in bed during the holidays! And how much fun would that be?

There’s an actual phenomenon called Leisure sickness. What happens is that some stressed, busy, and overworked people get sick when they finally take time off, go on holiday or take a break.

The theory is that during your daily demanding life your body is constantly producing stress hormones like adrenalin. This may help to fight off infections and viruses but as soon as you stop working and try to relax our body gives into the build up of stress, your immunity goes down and you catch any bug that’s around. Your body says, “Okay no more pressure, I’m going to get sick now.”

I believe this is exactly what happens to so many people over the holidays. You hear the stories time and time again. Whole families spending the festive season snuggled up to their box of kleenex, pains meds and cough syrup.

Don’t let this happen to your and your family this year. Plan now to stay healthy over the holidays so you can truly enjoy and savour the time off you’ve worked so hard all year for.

Here are eight tips for boosting your health so you can stay energized, clear headed, and healthy and well through the holiday season.

Eat whole foods – A foundation of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, lean quality protein and some healthy fats will give your body all the nutrients it needs. Plus this stockpile of nutrients will give you the reserves to make a quick comeback after those festive parties.

Ditch the sugar and processed foods – Sugar suppresses the immune system, is acidic to the body, messes with your hormones and impacts your adrenals, among many other negative effects. These are all the things you need in top working condition to stay well through the holidays.

Stay active – When life gets busy the number one thing you likely skip is your daily exercise. But you know exercise reduces your risks for many diseases, increases your energy, strengthens your bones and muscles, and improves your mental health and mood. Now is when you need it the most. Find a way to fit it in.

Keep a food & exercise journal – Behavioural change experts tell us that tracking is a key success factor in achieving our goals. If you are writing down what you are eating and how often you are exercising, chances are you will do better.

Get a buddy – Find a co-worker to walk with at lunch. Connect with your gym partner and recommit to a plan for the next six weeks. Find someone who is willing to step things up with you. Having an accountability partner and someone to stay on track with is key.

Be prepared – Take time on Sunday afternoon to plan your food for the week. Simmer up a pot of hearty soup. Cut up veggies for snacks and salads. Bake a batch of grain-free muffins. Having good healthy food available at all times will help you avoid the drive-thrus, vending machines and coffee shops.

Meditate & breathe – Taking a few minutes to focus on your breathing, clear your mind, set an intention for the day, and ground yourself is a great way to fill up your reserve and manage the stresses of this hectic time of year.

Drink lots of water – Staying hydrated with clean natural water increases energy, relieves fatigue, flushes toxins, promotes weight loss and boosts your immune systems. Get it in ya!

If you need some help kicking your whole foods lifestyle into gear, now is the perfect time for my 30 day whole foods kick start. Drop me an email today and we’ll schedule your first session to make sure you have a plan for staying healthy, well and maintaining your weight over the holidays.

* This post was originally published in the Herald Community on November 18, 2014

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