Feeling GoodTuesday, December 01, 2015
The holidays are coming - or have they already started? Either way, it's the season for excess. Between holiday treats, baking, big dinners, drinks, parties, shopping, and logging overtime at work in preparation for some glorious days off, December is usually a one-two punch of overeating and inactivity. It's really easy to roll into the New Year feeling bloated, exhausted, and hungover.
To help myself stay on track over the next several weeks, it felt like an appropriate time to reflect on the things that make me feel good. Hopefully this will kick-start some good habits and keep me from gorging on raw cookie dough and hot chocolate as I lay around watching a Home Alone double feature (this is still going to happen at least once this month, who are we kidding).
Make one meal each day plant-based. I'm not a vegetarian but I do feel better when I eat a mostly veggie diet. When I need to eat a steak or a piece of chicken, my body does a good job of letting me know, but I can easily eat meat-free most days of the week. One thing I've noticed makes me feel more energetic and healthier is to make one of my meals (usually lunch) plant-based, like choosing salad or soup rather than pasta, sandwiches or something meaty.
Have protein at breakfast. I like to eat eggs, Greek yogurt, or oatmeal with peanut butter in the morning to help me stay full longer. A bowl of cereal keeps me satisfied for, like, one hour.
Drink a ton of water. I have a one-litre water bottle at my desk and I try to drink three a day. I also drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and with dinner. On days when I don't get as much water to drink (typically weekends, when I'm not sitting at my desk with a huge bottle of H2O staring me in the face) I feel a difference.
Take vitamins. Lately I have been taking a multivitamin and omega-3 fish oil with vitamin D added, which is extra important during the winter.
Do something active every day. My go-to activities are running, strength training, and yoga and I try to fit in at least three runs, two strength sessions and one yoga workout each week. I also like to do one cross-training activity (usually spinning) weekly, usually at the expense of yoga! If it's a rest day I still try to get moving - for example, I'll take the dog for a walk so I'm not a complete slouch all day long.
Stand up. I have a standing desk at work and while I've been really bad about using it lately I like standing for a couple hours each day. I need to get back into the habit of doing this regularly! That's my goal for this week.
Get lots of sleep. I have finally accepted that I am an early bird and embrace my lame 10pm bedtime, and during the winter I find it especially hard to stay up late since it gets dark so early. I wake up early (our alarm is set for 6 but I often wake up earlier - around 5 - even on weekends, which makes me sad). I wish I could sleep in but even if I went to bed at 2am I'd be up at the crack of dawn, so now I just try to roll with it and tuck in early. This can be especially hard during the season of holiday parties, so I've perfected my ghosting move.
Choose drinks or dessert, not both. You're not going to abstain from all treats over the holidays, so there's no point in trying. My rule is that if I'm having a drink, I'm not having dessert or sweet stuff. One treat is fine but you don't need all the treats, all the time. When it's time to have a cookie or an hors d'oeuvre or whatever, I only pick my favourites, and stuff that's typically not available at other times of the year. I can eat cupcakes all year long, but shortbreads or gingerbreads are a Christmas thing, so I'll have something seasonal to make it feel more special. Anything involving puff pastry, Brie, and cranberries is fair game. I can make a meal out of those things.