Every year we get older, wiser and a little less keen for the post-holiday rebound. So, of all the things I wish for you these holidays, one is that you exit the holidays feeling less like you’re rebounding from the late nights, heavy meals and excess alcohol and that rather you’re bounding into the New Year, healthy and confident!
There are a number of things that you can achieve on a daily basis to shield yourself from the effects of the holidays. They are:
- Exercise. Schedule in your workouts as you usually would but instead of always opting for high intensity workouts, if you’ve had a few late nights then prioritise gentle exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga. Continuing to exercise, but without putting extra stress on an already tired nervous system will help to keep you in tune with your body as well as help to maintain strength and fitness.
If you don’t enjoy your weekday workouts, then get more playful with your exercise during the holidays. For example, try paddle boarding, hiking, surfing, dancing or rock climbing. There are so many ways to move and strengthen the body, so have fun with it!
- Increase your water intake. Start your day with a squeeze of lemon in warm water. This acts to simulate your own hydrochloric acid production and enhance digestion in the gut, helping you digest all of that (possibly) excess food. Aim to consume 3L of water over the remainder of the day to support your digestion and keep you in touch with your appetite. Dehydration will often present as hunger and if you’re staring down the barrel of a buffet or a second helping, being truly in touch with your appetite will help you to make a rational decision.
- Eat mindfully. Digestion starts in the mouth. Aim to chew each mouthful of food 10-12 times before swallowing. This efficient chewing allows for optimal absorption, minimizes digestion problems such as gas and bloating and helps to trigger natural satiety cues. For those of you already susceptible to gas, bloating, reflux and inconsistent bowel motions, this is an absolute ‘must’ in the context of the treat foods, larger portions and alcohol that often present over the holidays.
- Throw the ‘all or nothing’ principle out the window. Expecting your food and drink choices to be perfect over the holidays is quite honestly a recipe for failure. If you have a late night, too many drinks or too much of the indulgent foods, the ‘all or nothing’ principle would see you blowing it out to two meals, three meals, another two days and even worse, the entire holidays. Instead, remember that you’re only ever one good meal away from being back on track.
- Have non-starchy vegetables with every meal. Full of fibre and antioxidants, having an abundance of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower and tomato will help you to fill up on health promoting nutrients leaving you less likely to indulge in too much of the health depleting options available during the holidays. An abundance of fibre will also help to support regular bowel motions and the associated toxin clearance.
A healthy holiday doesn’t mean denying your tastebuds and feeling deprived. It’s about deciding on your non-negotiables, making smarter choices, making conscious choices and remembering that you’re only one meal away from being back on track! You can be a master of your own health and you don’t have to wait until next year to make it happen.
Wishing you a safe and truly joyful holidays with your friends and family.