So, we’re officially in the throws of holiday season and you know what that means…
More: Sweets, alcohol and stress
Less: Exercise, sleep and healthy meals.
For a while, this is manageable. Our bodies are pretty durable and it may take a while for the negative consequences to show themselves. But, if you’re anything like most people, after the New Year festitivies have worn off and all the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, you’re left feeling lethargic, stuffy, out of your routine and a bit sick of sugar but also unable to stop eating it. Sound familiar?
If so, keep reading. Today I’m sharing my top five tips for beating the holiday health blues as well as how to do a bone broth fast, which is my number one when it comes to avoiding that icky bloated, heavy feeling that comes with too many indulgences.
If the holidays were literally one day, we wouldn’t have a problem. The issues lies in all the fun leading up to and surrounding them. Wait- that sounds pretty grim. Let me rephrase. The issue is NOT in the fun itself but in the amount of opportunities it presents for us to “derail” from our nutrient-dense diets and stress-reducing practices. Again, letting go and balancing out with more relaxed time is not a bad thing, in fact it’s equally necessary for good health, but most of us get more than we bargained for when it comes to all the holiday parties, commitments and activities that pile up.
So, how do you “get back on track” after the actually event itself then? Over the years, I’m come up with a few strategies that help me recalibrate after the excitement which also allow me to head into the new year with lots of energy, excitement and good health.
My Top Tips:
1. Do a mini bone broth fast. Fasting is one the best ways for us to give our digestive system a rest and to reset the hormones that play a role in blood sugar regulation and hunger signals. If you have a particularly hard time with bloating or with cutting out the sugar and alcohol, a bone broth fast will be your best friend. When we constantly bombard our digestive system with extra food and sweets, it can get “backed up” so to speak. Giving it a day of rest, while still supplying your body with easy-to-digest proteins and nutrients gives you all the benefits of a fast without the cravings and hunger pains usually associated with it. I personally find that fasting for the day and then finishing off with a light, healthy dinner works best, but if you feel fine fasting for a full 24 hours, go for it! I’ve put instructions for how to do the fast below.
2. Force yourself to move. When you’ve been indulging in sweets, skipping workouts and staying up a little too late, getting in some exercise can seem like the last thing you’d rather do, but it’s also one of the most powerful ways to stimulate motivation and energy levels. I’m not saying you have to go smash a CrossFit workout – although if that feels good to you, by all means. Just work to get some type of movement into your day and I promise it will shift your mindset and energy for the better. You could start with a simple walk, some yoga, some stretching, a good run, lifting some weights, taking a dance or fitness class, taking your dogs out to play. Any and all of that will be good to get blood flow moving and your lymphatic system clearing out all the gunk. The key here is: Even if you don’t feel like it, DO IT. (unless you’re sick, then stay home J )
3. Aim for extra veggies. I’m not saying count calories or get super strict about your food intake. That usually sends most of us into a rebound effect anyway where we rebel and eat ALL the nasty food we can get our hands on. All I’m suggesting is that you focus on increasing your vegetable intake to 2 or 3 servings a day and see what happens. I’m willing to bet that diet, exercise and mindset practices sort of fall into place as you commit to this one small goal daily. Vegetables are full of anti-oxidants and offer us the micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that support our immune system, energy levels and general metabolism, so eat up!
4. Schedule in some self-care that excites you. The key is that you feel good about whatever you’re scheduling in. If going for a run makes you feel exhausted just thinking about it, that’s probably not the best option. However, if dry brushing and taking a bubble bath sounds delightful, then it could be just what you need to start your motivation train. Eating well, exercising and taking care of one’s needs are forms of self-love and self-respect. When we feel loved and taken care for, we are much more likely to continue the habits we know make us feel good. It’s cyclical in nature, so taking the time to schedule out some self-care can be the starter to that fire. Some of my favorites include: Getting a fresh haircut, doing my nails, taking a bath, going to do something I love like skiing or hiking, reading a great book all day long, splurging on a new supplement (yes, I’m dorky like that) or going shopping for a new outfit. All of these make me feel joyful and loved and motivated to keep the feeling alive by continuing healthy habits.
5. Lastly, one of my favorite ways to keep motivation high is to set daily reminders on my phone to go off at various times throughout the day. I don’t recommend setting too many as science shows that constant notifications can actually be stressful, but setting 1 or 2 throughout your day is helpful. Whatever it is that you’re trying to work on that day, write yourself a little note and set it to remind you once in the morning and once at night to help you keep motivated and aware. For example, if I’m concerned with slowing down and being mindful during my day, I might write something like, “Take a deep breath, notice your surroundings, all is well.” And then, when this reminder goes off, I’ll take a moment to check in and do whatever it is my reminder is telling me to do. Creating new habits can be challenging when we don’t remember them until the day is over – this is why I love reminders so much, because let’s be honest, most of us are attached to our phones! We might as well make them useful in a positive way.
So, that’s it guys. Today is short and sweet, but hopefully you can take one or two of these tips and weave them into your routine. As always, let me know your thoughts in the commentsand feel free to share your own tips and tricks for staying well through the holiday season!
Bone Broth Fasting:
1. Make or purchase your bone broth. Depending on your blood sugar regulation, you will want 3-6 meals worth. I personally go through about 3-4 mugs during my day, but when I first started these, I was closer to 6 because my blood sugar was a little wonky.
2. Substitute your breakfast, lunch and any snacks during the day for a mug of bone broth. If you feel extra hungry or unable to fast completely, I recommend adding 1-2 eggs into your broth like an egg-drop soup.
3. You may have another mug for dinner, or if you’re feeling ready to break your fast, shoot for a light, healthy dinner such as an easy protein like chicken or fish, some veggies and a healthy fat like butter, coconut oil or ghee.
4. The next day, you may eat as usual.
I try to do one mini fast per week during stressful or crazy months as they keep my digestive fire stoked, my energy levels up and my immunity high!