Updated: Dec 28, 2018
The holidays are upon us. Holiday office parties and potluck luncheons are going to begin. It is my favourite time of year but for anyone trying to stay healthy and fit it is often a challenge. People will often feel by January 1st their physical, mental, and financial health has taken a hit. A few extra evenings spent drinking and indulging make putting on a few pounds inevitable. Adding in those short winter days make going to the gym an insurmountable task. Don’t let the last month of the year ruin all your progress you have made throughout the year. I am going to offer up some Holiday Health Hacks throughout the month so you can enjoy the holiday’s guilt free
Obviously, complete avoidance of alcohol, sweets, and other holiday favourites is not an option. Healthy Holiday Hacks are tips you can use to get in the right mindset and avoid as much damage as possible come the New Year. 1. Don’t give up on fitness. I am not saying to start your new year’s resolution early. But if you currently or have been going to the gym don’t fall off. Stick to your routine as much as possible and PLAN AHEAD.
Additionally not only does exercise burn those extra calories but exercising before eating junk will prime your muscles to take on some of the extra sugar you are consuming and less calories will be stored as fat.
2️. Don’t make one bad decision ruin your week. If you miss one workout don’t give up on your week!
3️. Make a good breakfast a priority. Most of the indulgence takes place late at night with lots of carbohydrate-rich foods that have little nutritional value. Studies show that we make our best decisions in the morning. If you can make awesome food choices in your first 1 or 2 meals in the day it mitigates some of the damage that is caused by later indulgences
Try to focus on getting your daily servings of fruits and vegetables in early. Examples include egg omelet with veggies and avocado, protein shake with flax seed and berries. Go for the vegetable soup and salad at lunch!
4. Keep your protein intake high. Holiday meals are traditionally full of sugar combined with fats. That combination is a disaster for blood sugar, cravings, cholesterol, and weight gain. Protein is satiating, important for fat loss, building muscle, and doesn’t cause a steep fluctuation in blood sugar
If you know you will be going out for drinks and food in the evening drink a protein shake during the day or consume high protein foods like chicken, eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt to curb your appetite
5. Set a daily new goal for this month (a very easy goal). Something I have done the past few years is set a very easy fitness goal for the month of December. Last year I made it a priority to complete 20 push-ups, 20 glute bridges, and 20 abdominal roll outs every day in December. I completed these every day, even on Christmas and New Year’s Eve! You can set an even easier goal such as 20 body weight squats.
This year my goal is to do 20 body weight squats, 20 push-ups, and 5-10 minutes of meditation every day this month.
This goal is not meant to get you shredded for the holidays. For me, it is more of a mental benefit because every day I take some time to do something that is good for my body. I get a sense of accomplishment and also find it helps me make better decisions throughout the day when it comes to health.
Try it yourself, set a goal make it small and at the end of the month you will be surprised at how much value it adds to your mental and physical well being!
6. Stay Hydrated! This is a simple but often times neglected health hack. Although drinking water is a no-brainer most people do not realize that they are chronically dehydrated. This has many health consequences.
Especially during the holidays, there are two key times to make sure to top on your hydration
During food and alcohol binges. People will often forget to drink water when they are out for the holiday festivities because they are consuming other liquids such as alcohol and coffee. These can actually dehydrate you more.
Try drinking a glass of water before your big holiday meals and between alcoholic beverages. This will not only keep you hydrated and help you avoid that awful hangover but it will also keep you full and curb your appetite! This will help prevent overeating and drinking
The second time that we are greatly dehydrated is first thing in the morning. Throughout the night we become dehydrated and lose some of the vital minerals that help our body to function properly. This becomes exaggerated when you are hungover
A great tip from Aubrey Marcus CEO of Onnit is to consume a big class of what he calls a morning mineral cocktail. 12 ounces filtered water, 1/4 lemon squeezed, and 3 grams of Himalayan or similar sea salt. He recommends this every morning. It is quite shocking at how great you will feel when you replace your lost water and minerals first thing in the morning
Do not worry about the extra salt intake. Sea salt and Himalayan sea salt have vital vitamins and minerals that help our body function
Try it out! If not for your health try it out to reduce that holiday hangover.
7. If you have noticed a common theme that health has emerged is that health is just as much mental as it is physical
My last piece of health advice is instead of making a list to Santa and before you make your 2019 New Years resolution make a list of the things you are grateful for
We often make lists of the items that we want for Christmas or a list of things we want to improve in the new year. These are not necessarily bad things but sometimes do come with a sense of regret and inadequacy
This year take out a pen and paper and physically write down 5-10 things you are grateful for. This creates an opportunity for POSITIVE and not negative reflection
End the holidays and start your new year with some positivity and gratefulness for all the things you have and how far you have come this past year. It will allow you to take on 2019 with a true sense of yourself.