Tips: Healthy Holiday Indulgence

pumpkin pie

1. It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you set your eyes upon a prepared feast. Take a deep breath and ask yourself how much food you’ll need to feel satisfied. Your surroundings, mood, stress  and hunger levels will influence your answer. Be mindful.

2. Restricting one’s self takes a lot of willpower and brainpower, which can pull focus away from enjoying a meal together and spending time with loved ones. Take time for conversation, slow down, relax, savor your food, and listen to your body’s response.

3. The holidays are marketed as ‘special’ and ‘limited time only’, which makes it so we often believe this is our only chance to eat certain foods. This causes thoughts of scarcity and deprivation, which can easily lead to over-indulging, just to ‘get it while it lasts’!  Remember, you can have these special foods again – ask for the recipe, go back for a second helping, have leftovers. This helps with staying mindful while enjoying our food and the holiday celebration.

4. Identify a few things that really make the holidays for you. For some it’s visiting  the zoo lights and hot chocolate, reading by the fire, or time with friends over a pastry and coffee. For us, the holidays come alive while baking cookies with family.  Since this isn’t something we do during the rest of the year, it’s nostalgic and has a wonderful feeling of holiday celebration. Find the special treats that are an integral part of your holiday celebrations and take the time to mindfully savor them.

5. Hosting for the holidays? It’s easy to forget to eat while cleaning the house, bathing the dog, and running errands; however, skipping meals during the day can lead to intensified food cravings and overeating at night. Remember to check in with your body often to assess hunger level and have healthy snacks or meals on hand.

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My 30 Min. Morning Routine

MyAMROUTINE

Good morning, Adrienne here. We’ve had quite a few clients and friends relay both a desire to exercise and a frustration that it just never seems to get done, with their plan to walk or get to the gym being usurped by other duties or unforeseen issues.

I wish I had the willpower of my neighbor/best friend/former President who got up every morning to exercise.”

“The problem is that I don’t have time, with all of the work and running around in the evenings, my best intentions to exercise fall apart. I’m just too tired in the evenings.”

I don’t like to exercise, but I know I should do it.”

What does obstacles with exercise have to do with a morning routine? Glad you asked – everything. Particularly as a solution for all of the obstacles listed above. A hot yoga studio instructor once shared this maxim: “at 6 A.M., the only obstacle standing between me and my workout is ME; by 6 P.M. all sorts of obstacles exist to prevent me from working out.” We’ve taken this to heart and pushed our perfectionist tendency out of the way in order to create a personalized morning routine that works.

How we Started

You may remember our Experiment in Early Rising & Exercise during which I, and a couple of associates, woke up early in order to get our 6am boxing class in. Even with the tremendous benefits of better energy and feeling accomplished with having knocked out our exercise, it wasn’t sustainable for us. Why? Well, the day doesn’t often end to where being in bed and sleeping by 9pm is very feasible. Waking up at 5am and not being able to eat much before a strenuous workout and driving to and from the gym, especially in the cold weather, make it oh-so-unappealing. Sure, we got past it a few times, with the help of short-lived WILLPOWER, but it didn’t last and it wasn’t long before staying in bed longer won out. At the same time, I set up all sorts of good intentions to exercise in the evenings. Riiiight.

Typical story, right? We’re all human. We rationalize and make promises and tell ourselves “the diet/exercise starts on Monday, for real this time.”

What’s the Solution?

Well we learned about all sorts of fancy morning routines from CEOs of companies like Virgin to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins…and some of these were 2-3 hours long(!!) – definitely not reasonable for most of us. So I created my own ‘perfect,’ flexible morning routine. Here’s what I’ve been doing for over the past month in the 30 minutes between waking up and being ready to go:

At 7am – alarm goes off, do morning hygiene routine
7:05am – without allowing myself to think about this for long (and find excuses), I begin with my strength-training routine. On this day it was the following:

  • 25 squats
  • 12 full push-ups
  • 35 sit-up combo -as seen in this video

I did 2 sets of these. It took less than 6 minutes; I no longer have any excuses not to do this.

On this day, my hair was an easy fix and so I washed my face, did a hot towel scrub, and applied my favorite face cream. (4 minutes)

7:15am – let face cream soak in as I meditate for 5 minutes
7:20am – gather water bottle, purse, work bag, and breakfast and/or lunch
7:30am – ready to go

Variations

Though I’m generally now an early riser, I frequently adjust my wake time to 30 minutes before I need to leave the house.  So if I get to ‘sleep in’ until 7:30am or even 8am, I’ll adjust waking time accordingly.

I have my basic skincare routine & hair routine down to a science. Skincare routine is 3 minutes (washing face and applying my favorite face cream); my current haircut works with my hair and so a basic combing may be all that is needed. I seldom wear makeup anymore but this would add another 3-5 minutes.

Hot towel scrub versus a shower; determine which you need on any given day. For me, a shower is a 10-minute affair. To ensure still leaving on time, I’d have breakfast prepared the night before.

Breakfast; if I have time to eat at home, I will. Otherwise I typically make a smoothie or prep muesli the night before to bring with me. For when I have an extra glorious 5-10 minutes and the ingredients on hand, I might have avocado toast….or even moka pot coffee.

Weekdays vs. weekends. This is generally my weekday routine; my weekend one can stretch to about 2 hours, especially with some reading involved and freshly-made breakfast.

Conclusion

Now that I’ve created a customized morning routine, I’m sad I didn’t begin it earlier in life (oh, to have missed out on the frantic running around looking for keys, skipping breakfast and/or lunch, and road aggravation at the drivers in front of me who were ‘blocking my way’ to getting to somewhere on time). Peace, my dear friends and clients, is a gift we can give ourselves with a morning routine.

The key is making your morning routine work for YOU. If you need 45 minutes or an hour to incorporate a leisurely breakfast, straightening your hair, or reading an inspiring text, do it.

Have you started your own morning routine? How does yours run?

Curious and want to capitalize on your mornings? We’ll help you build your own morning routine, whether in a future session or upcoming blog, so stay tuned!

5 Steps for Health in an Unhealthy World

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Most people espouse the ideal of living a ‘clean’ and healthy life and when our workouts fall by the wayside and our dinner comes out of a can, box or fast-food window, we start to wonder “is it me? My lack of willpower?”

Before settling into a bout of self-loathing, consider this: our environment largely influences whether we succeed or fail. The modern advances of technology enable us to be constantly connected and productive, but they do espouse a decrease in home-cooked food and body movement.  The typical American food environment – full of processed, convenient options – provides ample opportunity to join the legions of the sick, overweight/obese, and the depressed.

But there is another way, one that involves being more peaceful, vital, and resilient. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Consider the control you have in establishing your home environment. You have tremendous influence over what to buy and bring into your kitchen. When you expunge the trans-fats, excess sugary foods, and the undesirable color additives (i.e. Yellow #5, Red #40) you can often replace the crackers, candies, breakfast cereals, and chips with healthier options. When the craving for a soda strikes and it’s not available, there are two choices: have another beverage (water!) or make the journey to obtain one. Which leads into…
  2. Make your inertia or laziness work FOR you. A client utilized this idea and experienced weight loss without, as she put it, “hating life.” We created a plan, knowing her tendencies, to include healthier foods and crowd out the others. One guideline was to eat a small bowl of strawberries and, if she wasn’t satisfied, then she could have the desired junk food. Most of the time, she didn’t want to want the latter enough to have to eat fruit first, so the junk food intake declined.
  3.  Create a fitness-friendly environment. A key part of this is knowing yourself and your tendencies. If you like having the treadmill in your bedroom because it’s easier to roll out of bed and get started, move the treadmill there. If, deep down, you know the machine will become a glorified clothes hanger in your bedroom but will get more usage if parked in front of the family room television, that’s where the treadmill needs to go. The same goes for weights and other workout equipment.
  4. Add in more vegetables! They contain vitamins, minerals, and various other components that will give you health and energy. You can also make them flavorful in a green smoothie, collard wraps, or in a turkey chili.
  5. There is no such thing as a perfect diet. Every single person has their own needs; depending on their ancestry, body type, and activity level. What’s medicine for one is poison for another. Instead of deciding for convenience, or what worked for your friend’s weight loss, test your own body to see exactly what you need to be healthy.

It’s true, you’ll have to be a bit of a rebel as you reclaim your birthright of vitality. Your decisions, when at the grocery store or out to eat with friends, may  come up against all popular tendencies. At first, what feels like a huge act of willpower will transition into ease and habit.

Use the practical suggestions above to start your health transformation. Don’t wait until tomorrow; begin now. Reduce overwhelm and  get yourself a nutrition & health guide.