Handling the Holidays

Actually, this post is a little late, as some of you have already been happily enjoying holiday parties. But really, it's never too late. Decide right now, that moving forward you will build a better you!

The following are some strategies to help you successfully navigate your way through the holiday season:
  1. Relax. No, really. Stress causes your body to release cortisol which, among other really technical things, causes your body to store fat. (And now you're stressed out about stressing out!) So, take a bubble bath, practice yoga, read a book, take a walk, make a craft (or Pin some crafts!)-- do something that helps you find your Happy Place.
  2. Pay attention. Tis the season to pay attention to hidden calories. If you aren't careful, you can easily be consuming a dessert's worth of extra calories in non-dessert items. Let me give you a few examples: 
    1. Great Grains Cranberry Almond Crunch. It's marketed as "Great Grains Less-Processed* Nutrition"(I really can't find what the * references). Sounds healthy, right? I tasted some-- it tastes like the crumb topping on an apple crisp. Super YUM! So, I checked the ingredients. Ah-HA! No wonder it tastes like dessert-- among the first ingredients are: sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar and corn syrup again! Elf would totally approve! Don't believe me-- see for yourself. OK, so boxed cereal is out-- let's go with oatmeal-- the healthy kind. 
    2. Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal: again, marketed as "Made with heart healthy whole grain Quaker Oats*, 50% less sugar than regular flavored Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Good source of calcium, iron and 7 other essential vitamins and minerals" (AGAIN with the *) Second ingredient listed for Peaches & Cream? Sugar. But that's ok, the third ingredient is "flavored and colored fruit pieces." I kid you not. See? Well, of course those aren't healthy choices. Let's try 
    3. Kashi Blackberry Hills Original Organic Cereal: I will say, much better. At least the first 2 ingredients aren't sugar. And all of the ingredients are natural. But you still find organic dried cane syrup and organic brown rice syrup listed. It might be organic, but it's still sugar. 
  3. Plan. Look, I'm a planner. I always plan everything. I'm anti-spontaneity. But it's ok if you're not (I guess). If you are going to a holiday party or dinner, just know and plan accordingly. Decide ahead of time-- will this be an all out "cheat" meal? will you choose dessert instead of drinks or drinks instead of dessert? at which of the many holiday parties will you choose to eat clean? You shouldn't restrict yourself at all parties, but you shouldn't go all out, either. These tricks could also help (I hesitated to add these because they are so Glamour magazine):
    1. Wear snug fitting clothes. Uhm, if they're already tight, you're less likely to make them tighter by chowing down.
    2. Have a coffee (or tea) before dinner. Coffee with a splash of soy or coconut milk creamer always fills my belly.
    3. Drink water. Many calories are saved by drinking water with your meal-- plus it's the best thing you can drink!
  4. Don't Not Workout. (Yes, I know that's grammatically incorrect, but I got your attention.) If you continue with your regular workouts (even if you think you don't have time) you'll have less stress, more energy, sleep better, and burn those extra calories. If you have to cut your workout-- don't cut your work out... don't cut a training session, cut the time and increase the intensity. 
  5. Be thankful. Appreciate all the great things you have-- your family, your friends, your pets, all the junk you got for Christmas last year that's sitting in your closet. Thankfulness will make you smile more and fret less. 
Bonus content... more of my favorite things:

And it is... SO Delicious
Please, Santa?!

I'm a teacher, people.
Books are just awesome.


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