The holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to quite the load of stress. After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones. All of this, on top of your normal every day life. It can be overwhelming to say the least.
I wanted to share with you some of my personal favorite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.
These secret weapons of mine include…
Put forth great effort to be present. It can be difficult, I understand. It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment – do you do the same? One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room. Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your gathered love ones. When I’m feeling particularly scatter-brained, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses. What do I smell? What do I hear? What do I feel? Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else. It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!
Give up those expectations. A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect. That’d be lovely, of course – but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry. Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up. There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned – spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can. Tis the season!
Find time to move. It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel. Even if it’s just a brisk walk after lunch or dinner – make it a habit to bundle up in your favorite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or with someone you enjoy being around. Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate up.
What are your favorite ways to get some movement in during the cold months? My favorite way is to take a yoga class I never tried before with a friend. It's always more fun with friends and helps me to stay accountable!
So I have decided to do something new this year! I have created a group to keep us stress free and maintain our sanity this holiday season! To keep it fun there will be weekly contests and prizes just for participating! Click Christine's Healthy Holiday (over to the left) or click below, to get all the details!
Have you ever tried a no carb diet and failed? I did. It was miserable! I love my bagels and pasta and now I can’t have any! I did the no carb diet for about 2 to 3 weeks then I couldn’t stand it any more! I needed pasta and I needed it NOW!!! I binged on pasta and bread and more pasta! It was horrible, the little weight I managed to lose I gained back and more! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me I could have my carbs? Life would have been so much easier!.
Now I have carbs every day. I eat any, and all, fruits and veggies as well as whole grain carbohydrates. These 100% whole grains are amazing and the best part is the variety of all of these whole grains. Have you ever seen black rice? Yes black! Its full of antioxidants and a great source of protein! Farro is another favorite of mine. Cooked in chicken stock for added flavor this has a delicious nutty flavor and is somewhat chewy, tastes great hot or served cold on a salad! Whole grains are all a good source of protein and because they are 100% they have not been refined, processed and stripped of their nutritional value. This is why picking the proper carbohydrate is important. Remember, not all carbohydrates are created equal!
We know our bodies need carbohydrates for fuel. Think of a car that runs out of gas. It just stops until it is refueled. Now our bodies feel that same effect when we run low on fuel. For us we may feel tired and lose our ability to focus on the task at hand. Remember any excess carbohydrates we
People ask me how to get rid of belly fat. That's a struggle for many people. Even people with flat abs have belly fat. That's normal. It’s the fat deep under your skin that surrounds your organs which is not so healthy. This is known as viseral fat. When you have too much of this fat that's when it becomes a bit dangerous. The more of this fat that you have your body tries to find different places to store it which might be in the organs and around your heart. This is definitely an issue with increasing obesity. So what can we do to lower belly fat and get healthier? We need to make a decision to make a lifestyle change. We can make small changes in our everyday lives to accomplish this goal. The food we chose to eat, the amount of exercise, sleep and stress management all play a key role.
Our diets should include 25 grams of fiber a day. The typical American is maybe reaching ½ of that number daily. Remember what mom always said, an apple a day! Beans are another great source of fiber. Also try reducing your carbs. Eliminate the processed carbs such as white rice and white bread. Go for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and 100% whole wheat if you like your breads!
Exercise is key! Shoot for 30 minutes a day 5 times a week of moderate exercise. Even a brisk walk counts! The point is to get moving, increase your heart rate and start burning some of that belly
It’s my birthday, and what happens on birthdays? We eat cake! I love cake. It never really mattered the flavor, vanilla, chocolate and as I got older the cakes became more decadent! Hawaiian Paradise and Orange chiffon, the list goes on! I was raised around a family who always had sweets available. Cheese Danish, crumb cake, and muffins just to have at home on a regular basis. This was the norm. I honestly don’t remember to many fruits or yogurt being available. My Dad liked his crumb cakes and corn toasties so Mom was always buying them to make him happy. As a result, I was always “pleasantly plump”.
Throughout my childhood I struggled with my weight, the worst part was when my Dad thought he was being helpful by telling me I “looked” like I was putting on weight! Well then stop driving through Mc Donald’s every Friday to bring home chicken nuggets, fries and soda for dinner! No, I never said that, I loved those little nuggets and fries. I was a teenager after all! My mother died when I was 12 so my Dad really did try but because Mom did all the cooking, sometimes he was at a loss. Food became my go to for comfort. It didn’t matter what it was as long as I could eat. I can’t believe that it has taken me over 25 years to learn that I was a stress eater. On top of that, I always felt out of control which then lead into eating again because it was the only thing I could control. Unfortunately I didn’t use this for good. Birthdays, I ate, graduations, I ate, funerals, I ate. Why couldn’t I just lose my appetite at this last one? I could never understand how people could lose their appetite when someone died, me, I just wanted to eat. It was the one thing in my life I could control but had no self control.
As I got older I tried Jazzercise, dieting and by the way dieting meant don't eat. I was starving myself trying to lose weight until I got sick and tired of being hungry, then I
Last weekend I took a small group of my clients out to our local market to do a little education on reading labels and learning what’s really in the foods we eat. While there I watched as people picked up their items and placed them in the cart. Only a few actually stopped to look at the side panels. I’m not sure why it surprised me so much that people will eat anything and don’t seem to care how it’s made.
As we ventured through the lines on the labels, looking at calories, fat from calories, percentages, what’s too high, what’s ok we also began to look deeper into the actual list of ingredients. One lady picked up a pretty little package of cookies for her son asking if these were ok. So we both looked at the ingredients. We found the second word was sugar and then it seemed that every other word was also sugar but in a different name. In the first two lines we found sugar 5 times all under different names like cane sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin and saccharose. I told her you really have to be a detective to figure out what’s in your food. I told her, food for thought, if you can’t pronounce it or never heard of it, don’t buy it! Did I mention this label had 6 lines of ingredients! How many ingredients are in a simple sugar cookie, I never imagined 6 lines worth! Now of course there will always be that time when you want to buy that something that’s just so yummy, but on the daily or weekly basis it’s just no good for us! I personally would rather make the cookies at home so I can control what goes into them, but I realize we sometimes just want
I had a few people tell me that they aren’t getting enough sleep or they don’t wake up feeling rested and refreshed! Remember the average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep. Even short changing yourself by 30 minutes could have negative results in your sleep.
So lets get into some basic tips that you can start to implement to try and get a better nights sleep! Remember it takes 21 days to create a habit!
First, turn off the TV, computers, and yes, even cell phones at least 1 hour before bed. The blue light stimulates our mind and tricks us into thinking it’s daytime so it takes us longer to get to sleep, and make a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, yes weekends too. Our body will learn our healthy wake sleep time and in no time this will just become easy, yes easy!
If you are sensitive to caffeine stop drinking it after noon. Remember even chocolate has caffeine! Sorry guys! Just be aware of what you are in taking and try to reduce the amount at the very least!
Exercise, let me be clear, I am not telling you not to exercise!!! I am telling you no moderate to heavy exercise 3 to 4 hours before bed. For me the exercise revs me up. I prefer the morning myself! I have found that