As we approach the holidays we may already be experiencing a breakdown in our routine. Whether it’s the irresistible snack food at the office, or the already fast pace of life getting even faster, our routine is under attack. As you may know, I am not a fan of snacking and yet – ˜tis the season of snacking. Remember the 51% Rule I mentioned in The 3-Season Diet? If we stick to a healthier routine 51% of the time, it is the majority. This goes for the annual cycle as well. If we stick to the rules 51% of the year you will be fine. So a couple of weeks of chaos during the holidays is really no big deal.
That being said, there are ways to enjoy a healthy holiday while holding on to your routine and your health benefits as well. One of the first things that goes right out the window this time of year is exercise. Many of us think we have to exercise for 30 to 40 to 60 minutes each day or it’s not worth doing it. This is not true. Ten to fifteen minutes of exercise in the morning can save you during this time of year. A quick brisk walk, a slow jog, getting on that exercise bike for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes of some stretching, is a great way to start the day. If you can do more – great, but almost anyone can muster 15 minutes each morning. Consistency is the key.
Nose Breathing During Exercise:
In my book, Body, Mind and Sport, I recommend nasal breathing during exercise. This forces air down into the lower lobes of the lungs making the respiratory system more efficient. It also activates the calming nerve receptors in the lower lobes training the body to be calm during this morning jaunt. It is like resetting your body each morning to handle the stress of the day from a neurologically calm place. What’s special about this is that the body burns fat when it is calm and sugar when it is stressed. One way to avoid putting those holiday pounds on, is to reset fat metabolism each morning with your 15 minutes of nose breathing exercise.
3 Meals a Day:
One of the hallmarks of my weight loss program is eating your last meal of the day by 6PM. This will not be possible everyday through the holiday season – but remember the 51% rule and do the best you can. I had a woman who came to see me this week who reported losing 10 pounds this last month despite Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. She still had a daily dose of chocolate (her favorite food!) but had it as a dessert after her main meal at lunch, instead of after dinner when the body doesn’t digest sugar as well. She did the best she could to enjoy meals rather than snacks and was able to eat anything she wanted. That was the key – she began to enjoy eating again. When she was nourished at a meal she didn’t really think about food until the next meal time. In between meals – the body starts burning fat and the blood sugar becomes stable and becomes easier and easier to make long trips between meals. The plan is – you can eat whatever you want – just relax, enjoy it fully and don’t rush. Make it a meal, not a pit stop, this holiday season. Eat, drink and be merry wasn’t meant to be done while driving to work or to the mall.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season and love those loved ones – and the not-so-loved ones as well!