Your Healthy Holiday Guide
By Dr. Austin Sanford
With Thanksgiving around the corner we are in full blown holiday mode, and it seems like every year Christmas lights are going up earlier and earlier. Which means the holidays, which are technically only a couple of days, are drug out for a couple of months. What do the holidays bring? Well besides joy, they also bring stress, overeating, the flu, missed workouts, colds, pressure, and decreased sunlight. That’s a deadly combination for adding extra pounds and a weakened immune system. According to most studies the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds every holiday season. (From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) How much do you think of that is burned off with our failed New Year’s Resolutions? Probably not all of it, and before you know it you have 10 pounds of extra belly fat.
In 2000, the New England Journal of Medicine followed a diverse group of about 200 adults, half of them men. The researchers found that from early October to late February the subjects gained an average of 1.05 pounds; 75 percent of that from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. Those who were the most active gained the least, and those who were already overweight gained the most. And a whopping 10 percent gained over 5 pounds! So what’s the point? The point is before we know it we are putting on pounds that don’t come off, and as we gain more weight it becomes easier to add on even more. Sooner or later it becomes almost impossible to take off the fat we have put on throughout the years and our body ends up in a sick and unhealthy state. Wouldn’t it be awesome to lose weight this holiday season instead of gain weight? Wouldn’t it be great to get to New Year’s and not have to make a resolution related to health? Maybe the same one you have made a few years in a row? So what do we do? Here is a short guide to losing weight and staying healthy this holiday season. The same one I give my patients.
Develop an Exercise Routine
We all know that if we exercise we can lose weight right? But eating right and exercising can sometimes be easier said than done. This holiday season your time is going to be spread thin, whether it is traveling, putting in extra hours at the office, or trying to get stuff done before the end of the year. So maximizing your time is going to be crucial. You want to develop a workout routine that is short, to the point, but effective. That type of exercise is going to be called interval, burst, or surge type training. You will get the most out of the short time you put in. These workout routines can be done in as little as 10 minutes, but with the high intensity intervals followed by breaks to bring your heart rate down your hormones will begin to balance and burn fat for you. Wouldn’t it be great to turn your body in to a fat burning machine this holiday season? That is exactly what you are doing with this type of exercise. You are confusing your body, unlike long duration cardio type exercise, and your body is forced to lower stress hormones like cortisol and raise good sex hormones like growth hormone and testosterone. I design workouts for my patients at my practice, Adjust, in Dallas that can be done in your living room. 10 minutes in your living room, now that is an exercise routine everyone has time for!
Don’t Drag it Out!
Like I said earlier the holidays are only a couple of days, so the worst thing you can do is partake in the sugar cookies and treats laying around the office the entire month of December. If you are going to deviate away from your typical eating, do it and be done with it. But don’t drag it out! And who says the holidays have to be unhealthy? There are a lot of healthy alternative recipes out there to replace your holiday favorites. For example did you know you can steam cauliflower, mash it up, and even fool people that they’re not eating mashed potatoes? The same thing can be done with stuffing, by using cauliflower as a healthy substitute. Try googling “Healthy” or “Paleo” followed by the name of your favorite recipe. For example, Paleo Stuffing recipe.
Avoid as much sugar as possible, not only will sugar put on the pounds quicker than anything else, it is also the root cause of inflammation. Sugar and other starchy carbohydrates will weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick this holiday season. What else is metabolized as sugar in your body? Carbohydrates and alcohol.
Now for all of the sweet tooth’s out there, if you have to have your favorite dessert, plan for it. Meaning instead of snacking on cookies and fudge all day long, decide on your favorite dessert and eat it. But here is the key, push your dessert out from your meal at least one hour. Combining sugar with or immediately after your meal will result in more of that food being stored to fat, because you are spiking your insulin levels during your meal. Wait for your food to digest, before you spike your insulin levels.
Try doing a cleanse or detox. In my office my patients are doing a 14 day cleanse in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is my favorite time of year to do one. Not only will you lose weight (up to 10lbs), you will be detoxifying your body from any toxins stored up. Doing a cleanse will ensure that this is your healthiest holiday yet. For ordering information on our 14 day cleanse, contact us through our website AdjustDallas.com.
Remember it’s the Happiest Time of the Year!
The holidays always bring added stress and pressure. From end of the year deadlines to maxing out credit cards, so here are some things to avoid and implement to try to cut down on the stress levels.
Ignoring your body’s warning signs
Putting Intimacy aside
A workout routine
Hands on therapies such as Chiropractic or Massage Therapy
Nothing Ruins the Holidays Quicker than Being Sick
We are head first in to the Cold and Flu season. But I hate to break it to you, there’s no such thing. Last time I checked, there were only four seasons. What we have is a combination of us having shortened days with decreased sun exposure, and not getting the Vitamin D our immune system needs. Add that with the sugar through the holidays, and all the stress through the end of the year. This combination of lack of sun, increased sugar intake, and stress hormones weakens our immune system and makes us more susceptible to getting “sick”. So what can we do to avoid getting sick? Glad you asked, you can start by getting on a Vitamin D supplement, more specifically Vitamin D3. Most people do not get the sun they need during Winter months, supplementing with Vitamin D3 will help. I also recommend taking a fish oil to reduce inflammation caused by stress. A high quality multi vitamin is always an essential as well. Now when I feel a sickness is coming on, I personally get adjusted by my chiropractor and load up on zinc and Vitamin C. If it is something pertaining to my sinuses or ears, I will also add in drops of colloidal silver in my nose, ears, or throat to kill infection.
This Holiday season do things that build up your body, not break it down, so when January 1st comes around there will be no need for resolutions because you have already developed a healthy routine.
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