I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving! Even if this past year was tough for you, there is always something to be grateful for. Did you know that having an attitude of gratitude is actually good for your mental and physical health? Not only does it help fight off depression and anxiety, it also puts us in a better frame of mind to deal with stress, which in turn boosts our immune system to fight off disease. Of course, we should try to have a spirit of thankfulness all year round, but the holidays are the perfect time to realign our focus.
Most families have pretty diverse and interesting traditions, and one of the most common traditions on Thanksgiving is having a feast of turkey, potatoes, pie, and more. While all that food may be delicious, it can be very easy to overeat and pay for it in the near future with bloating, weight gain, and a host of other annoying physical complaints. But I have good news for you: Even if you overate or ate some things you shouldn’t have yesterday, it is possible to undo the damage and get back to a vibrant, healthy version of you. Depending on where you are in your health and fitness journey, you may even make a noticeable amount of progress before Christmas!
- The basic idea of a healthy diet is to get rid of the bad stuff, and replenish with the good stuff. So basically you should be detoxing your body from any junk you might be exposed to (whether that be through sugary foods, hair and skin products that are loaded with unhealthy chemicals, or just breathing toxic air in the city), and you should be fueling your body with healthy food. A simple way to improve your diet is to make sure that the majority of what you eat consists of lean meats, and lots of raw fruits and veggies. If you end up eating a donut or some other junk food on top of that, don’t beat yourself up to much over it. If most of what you eat is healthy, your body will be equipped to get rid of the bad stuff when you “cheat” once in awhile. That’s a pretty good incentive to start eating healthy before the holidays, right? 😉
- Get up and move whenever you can. Movement flushes out toxins, builds bone density, burns fat, and increases strength and coordination. Here’s an idea: shift your mindset from “I have to get in an hour long workout today!” to, “I’m going to try to move as much as I can today.” For instance, you could choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can. If you live in town, walk to the store sometimes instead of driving. Do some easy, low impact exercises while you watch TV, like squats or holding plank. Basically, try to make exercise more of a lifestyle than just a workout in the gym whenever you get around to it. Now that being said, getting in a full 20-60 minute workout 3-6 days a week is ideal. But fitness is a lot more than just a workout routine.
- Drink more water than you think you need to. This is huge. Staying hydrated and drinking water frequently keeps your entire digestive system in good working order. Your body doesn’t have to work so hard when it has plenty of hydration to help it flush out the “bad stuff.” So do whatever you have to do to remind yourself to drink water as often as you can (within reason). Drinking plenty of water can also really help with weight loss, for several reasons, the biggest of which is portion control. For instance, if you drink an 8 oz. glass of water before lunch and dinner, you will feel full faster, which should prompt you to eat less.
- Transform your thinking. The mind almost always fails before the body does, and 99% of the time, the only thing holding you back from becoming a healthy, fit you is your own mindset. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Make sure you have friends and family who are cheering you on and helping to motivate you. When you don’t feel eating healthy or exercising, do it anyway. Forgive yourself when you mess up and look at it as an opportunity to overcome your failures. And most importantly, never give up. Once you see results consistently, living healthy becomes a habit, and eventually it can even resemble an addiction. It doesn’t have to be miserable forever 🙂