Taking Care of YOU This Holiday Season

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It's easy to say "yes" to every holiday party and event, bite off more than you can chew and not have any time to take care of yourself during the holidays.

"I will start on my eating and exercise program after the new year" is what I hear a lot of folks say. Or maybe you want to begin an eating and exercise program but it never seems to be the right time... especially during the holidays!

Time goes quickly. Days turn into months and months turn into years and still the excuse is "I don't have time".

Well, it is true. If you keep telling yourself that you don't have time, than the fact is you won’t have time.

So, why not begin telling yourself that you do have time for YOU this holiday season and for years to come starting now! Start today! Make an appointment with yourself to shop and prepare your foods and block off some time to move each day even if its just going for a walk :).

To help you get started I would like to share with you 6 Foundational Principles of Health that I use for myself and coach others to use. They come from Paul Chek of the CHEK Institute. He recommends the following in this order to help achieve optimal health and wellness:

Thoughts:

Negative thoughts sabotage any attempt you may make at a healthy lifestyle. Take time each day to exercise your brain with positive thoughts and meditation. If you find it hard to meditate there are all kinds of great books that can help. I like Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson who provides easy exercises to overcome negative thought processes and turn them into positive ones!

Breathing:

Stress, both emotional and physical contributes to an inverted breathing pattern. A correct breathing pattern has your belly expanding vertically and than laterally through the ribcage. When we are stressed and feel as though we are being chased by a lion all day, breathing will come more from the ribcage adding more tension to the upper back, neck and shoulders. Learning how to breath correctly and shifting your thoughts from those of worry and anxiety back to positive thoughts can have a very calming effect on mood.

Water:

Your body is composed of about 70% water which is important for mental clarity, good digestion and energy levels. However, most people don’t get enough water in their diet. Instead they rely on sports drinks and caffeinated beverages to get them through the day. The CHEK Institute recommends 1/2 your body weight in ounces each day (if you weigh 100 pounds you would drink 50 ounces of water each day). Drinking water also helps the body to detoxify. As Paul Chek likes to say about ridding the body of unhealthy lifestyle choices: “The solution to pollution is dilution”

Food:

Removing processed and fast foods from your diet and replacing them with home cooked meals using whole foods is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Again, many of you are saying you don’t have time to cook. Let me remind you that convenience makes us unhealthy and you are what you eat! Anyone who knows me knows I love to cook! I like to plan my meals for the week, shop, have a prep party by myself with friends or family and prepare meals for the entire week. Single and have a hard time rationalizing cooking for yourself? Well, that’s just your stinkin thinkin getting in the way again of your health. There is nothing wrong with cooking a meal for yourself sitting down and enjoying it ... you are worth it!

Exercise:

Your body was designed to move not sit all day. Unfortunately, desk jockey syndrome has taken over. In order to unravel the evils of sitting all day it is important to move but to do so in a way that is not going to increase the risk of injury or pain. A proper exercise prescription is person specific and based on history of injury as well as functional movement both painful and painless. A good exercise program should also be fun and enjoyable or you won’t stick with it and it won’t become a permanent lifestyle change.

Sleep:

Getting to bed on time is not a priority for most people but one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make for yourself. We are animals and should follow natures circadian rhythms of the sun rising and setting. In the late Spring and Summer we can get away with about 7 hours of sleep because the days are longer and we get more vitamin D from the sun. However, in the late Fall and Winter months we actually need to get about 9 hours of sleep each night. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. our bodies go through physical repair. This is when we lose weight, gain muscle and heal from an injury. Between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. our bodies go through mental repair. Ever have brain fog at work and realize you woke up sometime after 2 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep? Research on quality and quantity of sleep in connection with good health is hard to ignore. So get to bed on time!

Resources: Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek