The #1 Way to Stay Healthy and Fit
Happy Holidays! I hope that during this holiday celebration you enjoy spending time with family and friends and have some time off of your normal routine to make time for yourself as you bring in the new year. Keeping a healthy mind, body and spirit is not easy this time of year. The kids are out of school, you have family in town, you are traveling, and there are parties to attend.
This is not the time to start counting calories or start running your body to the ground. Here is the best thing you can do for yourself this holiday week. Keep this goal in mind and I promise you will be doing wonders for your health as you bring in 2012 with a bang.
Your Goal: Activate your Relaxation Response (i.e. don't stress):
Stress and anxiety can contribute to weight gain in many different ways. When you are stressed your body responds by increasing the level of cortisol into your bloodstream. It is our fight-or flight response system. It helps get us out of dangerous situations like running after your kid before he gets hit by a car in the mall parking lot or moving your foot just in time before someone's shopping cart tries to take it off. Cortisol is an important hormone that is secreted in response to stressful situations, however prolonged stress puts your health at risk. It's important that the body's relaxation response activates after the stressful situation so your body's functions return to their normal state.
Your goal this week is to find ways to activate your relaxation response so that your body's stress response is not chronically on high alert. Here's Why:
Chronic Stress and Cortisol Contribute to Weight Gain:
Metabolism: When cortisol levels are high your metabolism slows down. This means that even if you are within your ideal calorie count for the day you will have a very difficult time losing weight if you are stressed.
Stores Fat: High levels of stress are linked to stored fat in the abdominal. Which is of course the last place you want excess fat!!!
Blood Sugar: Chronic stress can change your blood sugar levels leading to various health problems such as heart attacks and diabetes. It can also cause extreme mood swings.
How to Activate your Relaxation Response:
When you are relaxed you will automatically make better decisions about what foods to eat and it will open up space in your life so that you can live a more active lifestyle. Cravings and binges are attributed to skipping meals and an extremely limited calorie intake. Don't try to be "good" around this holiday season by eating less; just eat something sensible and filling and find ways to activate your relaxation response!
Here are ways 5 ways to reduce stress:
1. Be nice to yourself: Let yourself off the hook this week and shut off that negative chatter. You beat yourself up enough this year by not doing this or feeling guilty about that. Let it all go this week so that you can be present with your family and friends.
2. Breathe deep breathes often: It's easy and simple! Throughout the day pause and take a few deep breathes. On your inhale expand your abdominal, rib cage, and chest and on your exhaleblow a nice long stream of air out through your mouth.
3. Keep to your fitness routine: Don't let the chaos of the holidays make you lose your momentum. Stay as close as you possible to your normal routine. When all else fails stretch, walk and enjoy the outdoors.
4. Disconnect: Turn OFF your cell phones and computers for 1- 3 hours every day this week. It's so freeing give it a try.
5. Pamper Yourself: Do at least 1 thing this week to pamper yourself. Get a message, take a bath, get a pedicure, spend some time in a hot tub or steam room. Give yourself a gift this year to spoil and pamper yourself.
Sending you the warmest of wishes with a holiday filled with love, family, laughter, and friends.
Want More... check out The Joy of Quiet by Pico Iyer | New York Times