3 Steps To Follow Over The Holidays - Make 2020 Your Healthiest Year Ever!

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Most people feel it is a rule that we all need to gain weight over the holidays in order to enjoy ourselves. We overindulge in too many foods and too much drink.  We are too busy to stay active and exercise.  When we look around us everyone else is doing the same thing. We feel comfortable in our poor decisions as it is socially acceptable. Most of us enter into January feeling tired, depressed and a few pounds heavier. This year you can choose to be different!  

There are 3 easy steps or rules that when followed can make a significant difference on how we enter the New Year. We can make 2020 the best year ever for our health starting January 1st! The only question is, are you willing to make a few small changes to make a huge improvement in your life? Take some time to read through the 3 simple strategies written below to make this happen.

3 Steps To Follow Over The Holidays To Make 2020 Your Healthiest Year Ever!
1 - Eat Your Way to Healthy
Sometimes it is easier to not limit yourself but to add something in. I find this often the case with diet. Instead of thinking of all the things you can't eat, let's focus on making sure we continue eating enough good food! We don't want to let the Christmas Cookies push the broccoli off our plates! As a rule of thumb and goal for my patients I suggest trying to eat 50% of the volume of food to be cooked vegetables. This is true any time of year, including the holidays. There are several ways to achieve this.  

A - make sure you take advantage of the meals that are easiest to control. These are usually breakfast and lunch. Avocado toast for breakfast or a vegetable heavy omelette for breakfast with leftovers from a healthy dinner the night before would check both of these boxes.

B - Dinners are the common area where we go off the rails. The good news is that most dinners we are able to control as long as we do some meal planning. The dinners that we cannot control just do your best. We don't need to be 100% perfect with our diet to be healthy. If you’re going to a dinner party, try to eat a bowl of veggies before heading out. We often keep a large pot of vegetable soup in the fridge. Takes just a few minutes to heat up before heading out to a dinner of not so healthy foods. You will show up 1/2 full so will be less likely to overeat on appy platters or binge on dinner.  

Besides vegetables try to stay hydrated. It's easy for us to skip the water in lieu of Eggnog Lattes, speciality coffees and other festive beverages. Try to drink a minimum of 2 litres per day.  


2 - Keep Moving!

Life is busy and trying to find time to exercise during the holidays is definitely a challenge. With a little forethought and planning, it is possible. We don't need to go to a gym or a class for an hour to get exercise. Even a 20 minute walk adds significant benefit to our lives (both physically and mentally). We need to walk fast enough that our heart rate increases but not so much that we need to have a shower when we are done. A 20 minute time commitment is much easier to achieve versus going to the gym or a class. You can also do exercise classes on-line such as on youtube without having to leave your home. Try to schedule in 20 minutes per day to support your wellbeing this holiday!

3 - Give Thanks!

The holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year.  Family drama, work commitments, minimal time for ourselves and a dizzying array of demands it's no wonder it's an emotional time of year. There's 1, small exercise that can help you get through the stress and depression which may accompany you during this time of year, gratitude!

The feeling of gratitude or thankfulness is a wonderfully strong emotion. It is difficult to feel thankful and stressed or depressed at the same time. In order to help support your mental and emotional wellbeing try spending 5 minutes each evening making a list of all the things, you are grateful for. Keep a notebook by your bed and write out the top 5 things that have happened throughout the day. They don't need to be big events as it's often the small things which can mean the most to us. This will help shift your thoughts to be looking at all the good which is going on around us. What we focus on often becomes our belief. If we focus on the good, we feel good! When we focus on all the stress and bad things in our lives our thoughts will not be pleasant nor how we are feeling.  

That's it! 3 simple ways to enter into 2020 feeling your best ever. Many of you think it is too simplistic but simple is not necessarily easy to bring to your daily lives. Repetition, consistency and dedication are key in these areas to have success. Eat lots of vegetables, move your body for at least 20 minutes and give thanks every evening before bed. 3 simple strategies that I know everyone can do but few will actually commit too!

Best of health to you and your family over the holidays