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DECEMBER 2011                                                                                                                                                             360.568.2686

 
Botox & Filler Clinic Wednesday, December 7th

Handling The Holidays: Top 8 Mood to Food Suggestions

It starts with Halloween candy and it doesn’t stop until January - it ‘s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, at least it is in some ways.

Many of us struggle this time of year to meet all of the expectations that the holiday season brings: decorating, cooking, events at school, bake sales, football games and holiday parties. It’s further compounded by shorter days, grayer weather and a bevy of temptations we typically don’t encounter at any other time of the year. Halloween candy (even if it is just the snack size). Thanksgiving feasts of yams, sweets and pie! Christmas cookies (like the kind you and your Mom made together, of course) and chocolates. Well-meaning gifts of more food and more candy from co-workers or other associates. Truthfully, it’s amazing that we get to the New Year at all!

How do we handle all this? How do we make it to the New Year sane and (hopefully) with the same figure we went into the season with? How do we keep our energy up, our mood happy and our weight down?

As we know, the body and mind are connected. By helping one, you help the other. The fact is, if our bodies feel good, we make better choices. And if we make better choices, our bodies feel good. It’s this cyclical relationship that we are going to capitalize on to make our holidays merry & bright!

Dress Warmly

This may seem intuitive, but it’s more important than just keeping the cold out. If we are warm, especially when we’re outside, this tells our body that we are safe & secure in the world. Remember that we have a strong survival instinct, and if our body feels cold, it will encourage us to fix it! If we’re cold, we will be more compelled to eat - the act of digesting helps warm us. And we will be more compelled to eat high calorie foods - they’re easier to digest and have more “bang for the buck”. And the fact that there are more of these high calorie foods at this time of the year = more temptations. So, dress warmly!

Get Enough Sleep

Again, seems intuitive, but often times holiday events are in the evening. This keeps us up later. When we’re tired, the body again tells us to fix it. This means we either feel compelled to eat something “to keep us going” or we need to go to bed. Do your best to go to bed at a reasonable time throughout the season so that you can better handle the nights when it’s just not possible.

Exercise

You knew it was coming. Try, try, try to move your body on a regular basis. If you already have a routine established, don’t blow it off in lieu of other commitments. Stay committed to yourself and you’ll weather the season more gracefully. If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, this is an excellent time to start. Even a small amount of exercise will increase your endorphins (happy chemicals) making you feel good about yourself and your body. This will result in less stress, less irritability with those around you, and better coping overall. Not only that, but every calorie burned helps make up for the additional ones consumed during the holidays.

Water

Many of you already know the formula: 1/3 of your body weight in ounces a day. For example if you weigh 180 lbs / 3 = 60 oz water a day. Holiday treats and rich, concentrated meals with greater amounts of salt are more common so water intake is especially important! Avoid the puffy ankles and swollen fingers that are common during the holidays. Get your water in every day!

Vitamin D

In the Northwest it is challenging to get enough vitamin D, even in the summer months. During winter, it’s even tougher. This is a good time of the year to take 1,000-2,000 IU daily. Vitamin D is showing itself to be cancer protective, a mood lifter and necessary for proper bone mineralization.

Light Therapy

Similar to vitamin D, many of us don’t get enough sunshine to have a positive mental effect. Sunshine supports our circadian rhythm - without enough of it, we often have difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking, and poor energy and mood through the day. The short, gray days of the Northwest make getting enough natural sunshine pretty much impossible. There are ways that we can mimic it though!

SunRizr - an ingenious device that you plug your nightstand light into. It makes any lamp “dimmable”. It automatically begins to brighten your light a little before your waking time - mimicking the rising sun. It does the same thing in reverse in the evening.

Full Spectrum light bulbs - put one into that nightstand light and let the full spectrum light shine on your face and eyes in the morning.

Full Spectrum therapy lights - these are devices like the LightBook. A bright, full spectrum light that you sit in front of for 10-20 minutes a day.

Make the Sugar Count

With so many temptations it’s easy to have “just a bite” of everything. Do your best to avoid this and eat the things that really have meaning or that are of the highest quality. Remember that your body is always looking for the easiest fuel, and sugar is it! The more we eat of it, the more we want it! So keep the treats to the ones that mean the most - if it isn’t Christmas without your mother’s cookies, then save your sugar/calorie/carbs for that. If you have a holiday party to go to, eat conservatively that week so that you can indulge that day.

Keeping our blood sugar balanced keeps our energy up and our mood high. It lets us sleep better at night and wake more rested in the morning. And avoiding unnecessary sugar in our diet is the easiest way to come out of the season the same weight that we went into it!

Help Others

Nothing improves how we feel about ourselves like giving a little time and effort to our community. Even when we are over-stretched and over-committed, making the time to help others always is a positive experience. Pick one way to contribute to your community. Maybe it is to be more active in your church outreach or community programs. Maybe it is to help at a local soup kitchen or food bank. Food4Life is always looking for volunteers. Perhaps spend some time walking the dogs at a local shelter, like Homeward Bound in Woodinville. If horses are a passion, see if donating your time at an equine therapy facility like Little Bit is needed. There are many ways to make the world better, and our health and mental well-being benefit as well.

SNC Wishes you a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!

 

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