Happy New Year! The holidays are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, but chances are you put your workouts on the back burner, snacked on crackers, dips, alcohol, sugary cakes, pies, and cookies. It's the holidays! That's what we do. We pack on pounds because it's a prolonged event.
Typically we begin the holiday season on Halloween and party all the way through New Years day. That's ten weeks of over eating, sugar overload, excessive alcohol consumption and workout sabotage. It's no wonder the average weight gain is five pounds. While that may not sound like much weight gain, the key is to get it off and get your diet under control. If you don't, you’ll find yourself rationalizing over indulgence through Super Bowl, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. That when the slippery slope of continual weight gain starts. Do not let this be you!
The fact is, most of us view the holiday season as an excuse to let go but don't realize that there is a built in holiday every month of the year! Unless you put on the party brakes in January, you will find yourself carrying this year's holiday weight all the way through to the next holiday season picking up a few extra pounds along the way.
In addition to getting enough sleep every night (6 to 8 hours) and exercising at least thirty minutes three to four times per week, the following are a couple of tips to help you get back on track for a healthy lifestyle in the coming year.
Start each day with a healthy breakfast. Gets your metabolism going each morning with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and good carbs. Nuts, berries, and oats are a great combination and can be enjoyed in yogurt, as a smoothie, or as oatmeal. This will give your body the vital nutrients to stoke the metabolism and keep you full for a longer period of time. This will also help ward off cravings for a longer period of time throughout the day. Ever notice how once you eat some sugars or refined carbohydrates, your body goes into feed me mode and we want it the rest of the day? By eating a well balanced breakfast you will prevent this phenomenon from happening.
Get back on track with your fluids. During the holidays as we tend to get more sugars, carbs, and beverages like alcohol and sodas, water tends to go by the waste side. If our bodies are dehydrated, we are not properly purging toxins and causing our metabolism to slow down. Start with a goal of getting 6 glasses of water a day and as the days go on your goal should be about your body weight in oz of water. So a 170 pound person should have a goal of getting 170 oz of water a day. Make it a goal to get as much water as possible as this is the basic first step for any good nutritional lifestyle.
If you do not have any blood sugar problems, short periods of fasting is a great way to purge the body of toxins and also rid the brain of cravings from all the bad habits we formed over the holiday. The best and easiest form of fasting is a 24 hour fast. This type of fasting is where you stop eating after dinner on the first night and do not eat again until the following night. So, if you finish dinner at 7PM on Monday, you do not eat again until 7PM on Tuesday. Water, coffee, and tea are ok during the fasting periods, but not cream; milk, juices, or sugars are allowed. When you resume eating after 24 hours, keep it simple with a portion of protein, veggies, and a sweet potato or brown rice. If you over indulge after the fast, you will mitigate all of the benefit. It is not recommended to fast more than 24 hours at a time to start with. If you find this is useful and works well for you, feel free to do it one or two times a week through January, but do not do it 2 days in a row.
Lastly, take a month to cleanse! A good way to break the party habits, rid your body of toxins and get back on track to a healthy lifestyle is to skip alcohol, sugars, and processed foods for an extended period of time, I recommend a month. This will help get rid of the cravings, while also putting your body in a state where it can balance and purify the vital organs. As you go through this process, be sure to replace bad habits with good ones, so that when the month is over you can continue with your healthy ways throughout the year. Easy examples of this are replacing all liquids like sodas, teas, and alcohol, with water. Another example would be to replace processed foods with more fruits and veggies, be it fresh or frozen. By simply following a nutritional protocol of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins for a month, one can get plenty of detoxification benefits.
For those that would like to do a more thorough cleanse and reap more rewards, I personally recommend and use the Standard Process Purification Program. This program is a 21 day diet that also utilizes specific whole food supplements to intensify and speed up the detoxification process. If you are interested in learning more about this program you can contact the office as we have a meeting this January 8 at 6 PM. This will be the tenth annual ACC Detoxification program, in which patients go through the process with me day by day. It is actually my favorite time of year as I always look forward to feeling my best by the end of the program.
I hope you utilize some or all of these strategies in the next couple of weeks and I wish you luck getting back on track after the holiday.
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