Friday, December 10

Surviving the Holidays – Part 2

Avoiding holiday weight gain means more than just watching what you eat.   There are a lot of other factors that can affect how your body holds on to fat cells during the holiday season.
Stress – The holiday season can be crazy stressful.  Even if it’s a season you enjoy, we’re traveling, seeing family, or just out of our normal routine.  When you are stressed out, your body responds to that stress physically and emotionally.  Our brains often stimulate us to ease these kinds of stress through food.  Make sure to take time for yourself or set aside time specifically for relaxing.  When we’re visiting family, my husband—a chronic introvert—wakes up in the morning but doesn’t immediately join everyone.  He takes about 30 to 60 minutes to read or play a game on his DS (making him much more enjoyable later on!).
Sleep – Some people get to sleep in a lot during the holidays.  These are usually the people who are not in charge of cooking.  And if you have children, I doubt you’re sleeping a minute past 7am on Christmas day.  We’ve discussed previously what a lack of sleep does to your chemical balance.  On top of the chemical reactions, it’s quite hard to make good food decisions when you’re battling fatigue as well.  Spending time with family is important, but make sure to keep your health a top priority.
Activity – Keeping active during the holidays can seem challenging, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be!  Visit with your siblings during a walk around the block.  Or challenge family to some Wii or Kinect games.  Grab some boys and go play football.  I know I’m planning a girls’ day out with my mother, sister and someday-sister-in-law that will begin with a step class and end with some shopping!
Drink Water – This suggestion might surprise you, but this is an important one for me.  Even after over a year of being active and improving my health, I still have the hardest time getting my body to interpret my thirst.  I still misread my thirst as hunger and end up eating when I don’t need to.  Not only will drinking plenty of water help keep you hydrated, but it’s a great way to help fend off cravings!
Do you have any other tips that have worked for you?

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