If you’ve been working hard on your health this year, then it’s normal to be a little worried about maintaining your good habits as the holidays approach. Although holiday gatherings can be a blast, they are unfortunately closely associated with unhealthy eating and drinking. The winter months can make it difficult to stay on top of your health, so here are some ways to keep on track through the end of the year.
Curb the Carbs
Winter holidays especially seem to attract sweet, tasty desserts chock full of carbohydrates. Although your body needs carbs, it’s extremely important to eat as few refined carbs as possible. It’s okay to indulge in a little bit of your favorite seasonal desserts but be sure to keep track of your intake and also opt for healthier carbs like fruit or root vegetables when they’re available. Especially during meals, fill up on protein, fiber, and healthy fats before you reach for the pie and cookies. Try portioning out your plate where half the plate consists of veggies while the two remaining quarters consist of protein and gluten-free grains.
Your digestive tract is home to an elaborate system of bacteria and organisms that work hard to ensure your body has the energy it needs from the food you eat. When your diet changes drastically, your gut may need some help. Probiotics can aid in digestion and even help sustain your good mood by regulating your gut health (which is intrinsically tied to things like the production of feel-good hormones!) Probiotics can be bought at pharmacies and you can begin taking them before your holiday engagements to support your digestive system in the days to come.
Include Intermittent Fasting
One way to help watch your weight and insulin levels is by introducing periods of fasting into your daily or weekly schedule (most experts recommend periods of sixteen hours or more). Intermittent fasting comes with a number of benefits including reducing calorie intake and ensuring your body burns existing fat as energy by lowering insulin levels. If you haven’t already started doing this, introduce it gradually before you fast before big meals during the holidays so you’re not overwhelmed. And make sure to break your fast with healthy fiber and fats rather than carbs! A big dose of sugar after fasting can spike your blood sugar and contribute to bloating.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Dish)
If you’ve got your pick of the litter when it comes to bringing a dish to pass, then make sure it’s healthy and nutritious! Offer to bring a green veggie or other healthy option to ensure you have something to fill up on instead of other less-healthy options. If you’re tasked with bringing a dessert, consider a dish based on healthy fruits and natural sugars rather than refined ones. Volunteering to bring a dish can be a great way to have control over what goes into it and ensure there’s at least one healthy option!
When the weather gets colder, it’s tempting to stay inside rather than going for a walk or run to burn off the holiday calories. If you’d rather not bundle up, look for great indoor activities to put on your schedule like yoga, bodyweight training, or time on your exercise machine. And remember— you can’t outrun a poor diet, so keep an eye on your eating habits if you’re hoping to maintain your weight!
It can be tempting to chow down during your favorite holiday feasts, but you’ll need to pace yourself if you want to avoid overeating. If you eat too much too fast, it can be easy to leave your calorie limit behind and become uncomfortably full. To slow down, try sipping at your drink between bites or even just put your fork down and engage in some conversation before resuming. This allows your body to receive the signals from your stomach that you’re full in time for you to stop.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a common accompaniment to winter for many people. It’s often the result of less sunlight and, in turn, Vitamin D. If you’re sensitive to SAD, try taking Vitamin D supplements during the winter months as well as Magnesium. Additionally, invest in a special sun lamp and spend some time in front of it each day to make sure you’re feeling your best for the holidays. And don’t skimp on exercise— this can have a hugely positive effect on your mood too!
Schedule a Consultation
The holidays don’t have to reverse your progress if you’ve been making great strides in your healthy routine this year. At Axis Stem Cell Institute, we can help optimize your healthy habits so you can be your best self. To learn more, contact our Kirkland office by calling, texting, or filling out our online form.