Wellness Articles

Holiday Health Hacks

3 ways to stay on track during the holidays...and what to do if you don't!


1. Drink Water


Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water, every day.  Drink a glass of water before your pumpkin spice latte.  Drink a glass of water before your mulled wine.  Drink a glass of water before you get out of bed.  Drink a glass of water before the holiday traffic clears up.  Drink a glass of water before you steal grandma's white elephant gift. 

Drinking only water and limiting soda, caffeine and alcohol is your best bet to look and feel your best this season.  

If you do have caffeine, limit the amount of sugar and additives (I'm looking at you grande gingerbread latte with whip) by sticking to less basic starbucks orders and more plain coffees and teas.  The same goes for alcohol - if you plan on drinking, stick to clear liquors like vodka, gin and tequila, and keep the mixing as simple as possible.  

If you plan to indulge, make sure you down an extra glass of water to stay hydrated, and keep a blend of grapefruit, peppermint, lemon, and rosemary essential oils on hand for hangovers, and clove and basil essential oils for caffeine jitters or sugar crashes. 


2. Limit Sugar

I know, 'tis the season for holiday treats, right?  I won't try to tell you that cookie, as well as everything your aunt makes only once a year, doesn't look delicious.  So I'm not really here to tell you not to eat them, but rather to remind you how you feel when you do.... which usually isn't full of holiday cheer, but rather just full.  

Full, sluggish, tired, brain fog, bloated, and just generally unwell are the main complaints I get from clients that eat a lot of processed sugar.  If you'd like to avoid feeling that way and be at your best around your friends and family, just say no!  Avoiding processed sugar is your best bet for looking and feeling your best this holiday season.

If you are in charge of bringing dessert, play around with primal or paleo versions of your favorite foods, and try your hand at cooking with natural sugars like raw honey, coconut sugar and unrefined maple syrup, which are all much gentler on your body than white refined sugar.

If you just have to have some of mom's famous fudge, and there is no room to fudge the traditional recipe, keep your portions small and pair your sugar with a fat to help prevent a spike or crash in your blood sugar.  Have some nuts with your fudge, a glass of raw whole milk with your cookies, or even just sneak off to the kitchen for a spoonful of coconut oil after dessert gets passed around.

If your indulgence gets a little out of hand, take a dropper full of some digestive bitters, use digestzen essential oil on the abdomen to ease the uncomfortable feeling of being full, and use some clove oil to help you through the inevitable blood sugar crash.


3. Stay Active

Run after your kids at the mall, park at the back of the grocery store parking lot (because you want to walk and not because it's the only spot left), take the stairs, do some lunges in the kitchen while waiting for water to boil, do the yard work yourself, take a quick jog down the street at dusk to watch the holiday lights come on, wake up early to do some pre-dawn yoga by the light of your christmas tree, jump on that trampoline your kids haven't used for 3 years, sign up for a free week of pilates, or be an early adopter and beat the January rush by going to the gym in December.

Of course you can't simply outrun your poor eating habits, but maintaining the activity part of your health routine will make it much easier to maintain the rest of your healthy lifestyle during this time of the year.  Whatever routine you have going, be it 5 days a week HIIT classes or 3 days a week walking your dog, fight to maintain that routine even when your schedule gets chaotic.  Being active enough to sweat for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week is your minimum best bet for looking and feeling your best this holiday season.

If you cannot maintain your workout routine because of scheduling conflicts, get creative and workout at home - there are plenty of body weight workouts you can finish in your living room in the time it normally takes you to get to the gym and back.  Set your computer on your coffee table and get to work on some youtube fitness channels, or even just grab the deck of cards between your nephews' go fish game - assign each suite a movement (squats, lunges, sit ups, burpees, etc), and do the number of reps of each movement depending on what card you pick, go through the whole deck or just be done in 20 minutes.  

And if there are actually zero minutes in your day to dedicate to yourself to workout or stretch or get outside in the crisp winter air, and you don't have an infrared sauna in your backyard to get a quick sweat in, I recommend a good dry brush before you shower.  Dry brushing is simply using a dry brush, loofa or bristle, and brushing your entire body in circular movements starting at the hands and feet and moving towards the heart.  The goal here is lymphatic movement, which you don't get if you aren't exercising. No, it doesn't burn calories, but it does support detox and immune function, which is arguably more important this time of the year.  Cypress and grapefruit essential oils are also great tools for stimulating detox and lymphatic drainage.


The moral of this story is: drink water, pair sugar with fat, and get moving for a healthy, happy holiday season!