The Pillars of Health Through the Holidays
Jessica Fant Waschezen, CPT & Nutrition Coach
The holidays are such a fun and exciting time of the year for so many of us. Although fun, this time of year can also bring on many changes in people’s schedules and routines. These changes tend to disrupt the focus that we have on making progress to our goals. When this happens, it brings on frustration and the feeling to “no longer try”. By talking through the Pillars of Health, my hope is to give you a feeling of confidence going into the holidays, and a realization that the holidays do not have to control how we function on a daily basis.
What are the Pillars of Health? Nutrition, Exercise, Stress Management & Sleep
Calories- Reduction of calories vs. activity expenditure leads to weight loss.
Macros- Carbohydrates = Fuel, Protein = Builds Muscle, Unsaturated Fats= Lower Cholesterol
Meals- Should include green veggies, lean protein and low glycemic index carbohydrates
Snack Smart- Eat often, have portion control, pick nourishing foods instead of empty calories
Hydration- Try to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces/day
Holiday Beverages- Drink in moderation. These can add on more calories than dinner.
Expected benefits- lean muscle gain, body fat loss, improvement in blood pressure, cardiovascular efficiency, and skeletal strength.
Unexpected benefits- higher coping ability of stress, increased productivity and energy, and improved quality of mood.
Physical activity- daily physical activity is one of the best ways to manage stress. Physical activity also releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins, endocannabinoids, and dopamine. Endorphins are known as the “feel -good hormones”.
Accountability- the quickest way to cope with stress is to increase your support and accountability network. In-person interaction with others is best, as isolation tends to increase stress, instead of decreasing it.
Recommended amount- healthy adults should strive for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Benefits of proper sleep- increased productivity, improved concentration and ability to learn, increased metabolism, and improved athletic performance.
So, how can learning about the Pillars of Health, help us through the holidays?
Remember your goals that you have worked hard towards. Knowing that consistent and healthy nutrition is important, plan your meals out in advance, especially when a holiday gathering is taking place that day. When going to a party, bring a healthier snack or dish to share. Keep hydrated…drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. Knowing that daily movement or exercise is essential, try to get your workouts in early, on the days that your schedule may be more hectic. Stress can be coped with, by planning out your day, and making exercise an important time in your daily routine. Lean on your support system and accountability network when you start to feel overwhelmed.
The hustle and bustle of the holidays can lead to long days. Try to be vigilant with getting in the proper amount of sleep that you need, to be able to wake up and conquer the day. And lastly…keep in mind, that holidays are just that…they are days that we celebrate, gather with friends and family, and have fun. Do that. Enjoy those days. But we do not need those days to turn in to continuous weeks and months of falling off course of our goals. Cheers and blessings to you all this holiday season!