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HoliDAZED? Let’s Fix It!

Jessica Sol Ismert, RD, LDN

It’s January 1st, and post-holiday you can look two ways:

1) Sleep-deprived, slow, and feeling like you need to sweat out everything you ate (and you ate
everything) in the past 2 months.

2) Strong and energized with an enviable positivity about you.

Nobody picks the first choice, yet it happens to everyone.  What if you actually did choose how you feel? What if feeling good could happen without changing much? I am going to share some tips for maintaining your weight, staying healthy and not losing your mind during this holiday season.

SLEEP. Of course, we would all love to wake up to no alarms and a feeling of “ahhh.” This doesn’t happen because we put 1,000 things before sleep, especially this time of year. Did you know that you can eat healthy, workout every day, but not see good results without good sleep? I encourage you to pick the gift of sleep this holiday season. You’ll be a better person, inside and out. Good sleep (7 ½ - 9 hours per night) creates the best environment for your health. Poor sleep leads to a sluggish metabolism, an increase in ghrelin (you feel HANGRY), a decrease in leptin (you’re NEVER full), an increase in triglycerides and the list goes on. So, you’re tired, eating more, burning less, and it’s just not fun while it’s happening. My suggestion: turn that phone on night mode or, better yet, don’t bring it in your bedroom! More importantly, do something to get you to that zen place before bed. Your body (and friends) will thank you!

STRESS. The holidays are full of stress, some good and some bad. The thing is, our body can’t tell the difference! It has no idea that running a million miles an hour to get your to-do list done is productive. Your body may as well think it’s being attacked by a tiger. So, I encourage you to slow down, reduce your to-do list, and breathe.

Your body will be in a better place and run more efficiently. Do something for yourself. Go on a walk, do a little food prep with holiday tunes in the background, or just sit and relax. Less stress and more mindfulness will help you not eat a Christmas colored Oreo (because it’s there and why not?). Instead, less stress will set you up to think about the incredible dinner date you have planned and give you the peace to hold out until then. Stress can come in so many forms, from relationship stress, to physiological stress. It can affect your mood, hormone levels, and overall attitude to tackle the crazy lives we all lead (which just heightens around now!). So slow down this year, and don’t overbook yourself.  And maybe have a glass (and that means one) of red wine to get some of those antioxidant and stress-free vibes going!

VEG OUT. I don’t mean be a couch potato. I mean eat more veggies!  We all want to, but sometimes it just seems impossible, especially this time of year. Don’t let it be! Be the person that brings veggies to the party. Order veggie side dishes from your favorite restaurant when you don’t have time to cook (my go-to is ordering a side of peas and pancetta or minestrone soup from Bella Napoli). Always keep frozen veggies on hand or ready-to- cook bags in your fridge. Not only is a veggie focused approach good for your weight goals, but also the vast assortment of micronutrients in veggies will help strengthen your immunity (something vitamin supplements just can’t replicate). Here are some ideas:

  • Vitamin C: peppers, dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts
  • Vitamin A: all the red/orange veggies like winter squashes, carrots, peppers, and sweet potatoes