By Eve Fogler
We look forward to Holidays as a joyful time to enjoy celebrating family traditions and spend time with friends and loved ones. Though they are festive times, holidays can take a toll on our bodies. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of last minute shopping, cooking, entertaining and partying. Whether you are traveling to celebrate or hosting, there is stress. There is the pressure of coordinating schedules, getting along with relatives, and trying not to overeat. Overeating can be a band-aid for stress, anxiety, or depression. The stress of the holidays can bring emotional issues to the surface. In fact, the Holiday Season is known to be the most stressful time of the year. All that pressure causes surges in cortisol, the stress hormone. What seems cruel is that increases in cortisol cause fat storage, in particular around your middle! Cortisol wreaks havoc with your metabolism and is one of the reasons why you can diet and exercise…and still gain weight. Most of us relax over the holidays by sitting. We sit to watch TV, sit to watch movies, sit to eat holiday meals, and sit in a car or plane and travel to where we sit with friends and family. Have you ever noticed that when you sit for a few hours it becomes increasingly difficult to get up? You may even begin to feel depleted, not rested. Why is that? When you sit for an extended period of time, your heart slows down, decreasing your circulation, and you get less oxygen to your brain. Worse, your metabolism slows down.
So, what can you do?
Well, we all know the key to maintaining weight and avoiding weight gain over the holidays is to: (drumroll please) eat less and move more. I know, it’s MAGIC.
If you get up frequently to move about, you’ll feel a lot better. If you plan ahead how you will fit exercise into your holiday schedule, you’ll have a much greater chance that you’ll actually do it. Go for family walks, call a workout buddy to meet at yoga or walk your dogs together–just move.
Enjoy your Food
When you eat with awareness you’re much more likely to eat what you really want (rather than just what’s around) and to stop when you’ve had enough (rather than when the there’s no food left). Eat with relish and gusto, ’tis the season to be jolly, after all! Take your time, instead of eating while standing up or while doing something else. Enjoy flavors, textures and the experiences.
•Studies show that people who eat breakfast eat less for the rest of the day than those who skip breakfast.
•Be sure to drink enough water. Many times we think we’re hungry but we’re really just thirsty. Stock up on sparkling waters and delicious teas.
Limit the Calories you Drink
You may not realize how many calories you are drinking during the holidays. Liquids don’t nourish or fill you up. These empty calories easily lead to extra pounds of fat on your body. Most cocktails have around 150 calories, but sips here and there can pack a whopping 300 calories, 20 grams of sugar…and more! To reduce calories, choose non-sweet cocktails and “cut” wine or fruit juices with sparkling mineral water. Drink one glass of water for every cocktail or glass of wine. This will save a lot of calories…and possibly rescue you from a nasty hangover as well.
How do you want to remember your holiday? You might not want to look back with regret about wasted time, worry, stress and any overeating. Anna Quindlan wrote a beautiful editorial about how she saw an old picture of herself and her young children and regretted that she didn’t recall being there. Make your gift to yourself to be entirely present during the holidays. Being in the moment makes it that much easier to enjoy your food…and the conversation. Try it, and you’ll notice how much more satisfying your holidays feel.
Eve Fogler is a NY State licensed Health Coach specializing in Eating Psychology and Weight Loss, and Co-President of Well Beyond Cravings, LLC, an online and in-person Weight Loss Coaching Program. Go to WellBeyondCravings.com to find out more.