As is usually the case with many people the holidays approach and the worry begins about the extra 5 pounds that might be gained. You are not alone in that thought. Even I, as a trainer and nutrition specialist, worry about the dreaded weight gain. Here are a few tips that I have found that help me to keep my weight and overall health in check as I navigate through the months of November and December.
#1. Make yourself accountable to someone. I always do a holiday “Maintain” challenge with my workout class. The goal is to be accountable to each other with the exercise and food choices we are making as well as what the scales are showing . If we stay within a pound of where we started we consider that a success and we celebrate with some type of reward. As we go through the holiday months we encourage and lift each other up. It makes for a great incentive to stay on track.
#2 . NEVER SKIP A WORKOUT!!!! Make sure to be deliberate about scheduling your workouts. Put them in your calendar and treat them as VERY important meetings. Not only will you feel better but you will, also, burn more of those extra calories you may take in.
#3. Write down what you are eating. This helps you keep track of what you are putting in your body. It ,also, will help you see when you are about to make a poor choice.
#4. Be deliberate. Don’t deprive yourself but plan. If you know you are going to be having a large meal then account for that during your day. If you know you are going to be drinking alcohol decide ahead of time how many you will have. This will help keep you from over-indulging.
#5. Finally DON’T STRESS! Take time to relax and reflect. Try not to let yourself get stressed. Take short walks. Do a Bible study. Meditate. Take a hot bubble bath. Watch a Hallmark movie!!!! Something to relax you. Make sure if you have lots of activities that you put them in a calendar and don’t wait until the last minute.
Hopefully these five things will help you think less about those 5 pounds and more about the magic and joy of the holiday season. Enjoy your family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!!!! (Some of us already have our decorations going up!!! Ha! Ha!))
Lying in bed one night I found myself trying to go to sleep. As I tried to focus on why I was feeling so anxious I realized I’d been going 100 to nothing all day and hadn’t taken time to relax. My breath was shallow and quick. My heart seemed to be beating a million miles per hour. As I tried to take deep breaths and slow my breathing I found it almost uncomfortable to do. What I didn’t realize is I had been training myself for months to breath that way because of the lifestyle I was living.
Having 4 kids ages 21 to 14 life can be quite busy and challenging at times. Not to mention stressful. While I always take time to exercise and eat right, I don’t take a lot of breaks just to slow down and relax. Even vacations are full of activities and things to do. Many times I return from vacation more tired than I was when I left. LOL!
So why is training our bodies to breathe properly important? The way we breathe affects every part of and system in our bodies. Breathing incorrectly can lead to problems such as dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, digestive issues, neck and shoulder pain just to name a few. If we are under constant stress or if we continue to run our bodies ragged we may find we begin experiencing these things. I know I was. I even went to my physician for a complete physical. When everything seemed to check out just fine I began to pay attention to what was going on when I would begin to feel certain things. Usually it was at the end of a crazy day when I hadn’t taken the time to sit down and relax a little. So I started a few times a day to work on re-training my breathing to be slower and deeper.
It only takes about 5 minutes 3 or 4 times a day to retrain your breathing. Yoga & pilates classes are great ways to work on this as well. The best way at home to work on this is to lie on your back with your hands on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose for about 4 seconds and then hold it for a few seconds. You should feel your stomach rise as you breathe in. Exhale slowly through your mouth again for about 4 seconds. Continue to repeat this for about 5 minutes. While you may not notice changes immediately in your breath, over time you will. I will say it definitely will help you immediately to relax a little and that is a good thing too.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms my first advice is to see your physician for a complete physical. If everything checks out you may have the same issues as I did. Even if you are not experiencing these things, learning to breathe properly in our fast-paced world can make a huge difference in the way you feel and your overall health.