The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming... we all hear the chants -- whether it's the Halloween candy in the stores or the stress of coming up with a winning costume, the planning calls and reservations for where family will stay and how, oh how, will they all be fed... and so on. And while there's SO much advice about how to manage the holidays healthier, and even more advice about how to erase the holiday damage in the New Year with a New You, the missing piece is the advice that emphasizes TODAY as the time to focus on your holiday health. Don't attempt to "manage" your health during the holidays, which actually starts you off at a health deficit, and worse, don't wait to "deal" in the New Yea -- that creates an even bigger one.
October is the time to focus on your holiday health. Whether it's breast cancer prevention or wanting to look great and feel confident at holiday gatherings, there are many reasons October should inspire improvements to your routine for better health. I tell my clients to think of the holidays the way my celebrity clients think of awards season -- they prepare for it months (or hyper focus on it one month) before the events start happening. So that means for all of us, October is our month to get it together -- food, fitness, sleep, and planning-wise.
Your Food: Forego the extras this month. Proper portions give your body (and mind) what it needs but doesn't overwhelm it so it won't accrue storage (fat) and should even tap into existing storage for any extra needs (which will arise from stepping it up in the fitness area). Also, pay attention to quality -- become a Qualitarian -- skip the "treats" that were born in a chemistry lab and reward your body with a month of nutrients that it recognizes most easily and as a result will run most efficiently. Consider adding quality supplemental food -- like an organic whole food multi, probiotic, and a wild salmon supplement -- to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to clean up and perform at its best.
Your Fitness: I will leave this one to the experts -- but make sure you don't. Get active -- more active -- this month and you will see the results with toned arms, tighter tushies, and flatter tummies in your holiday attire. The added bonuses? Exercise lifts our mood -- with it getting darker earlier and the prospect of all the required and selected gatherings the specter of the holidays can be a little tough on ye old mental self. So nurture her and you by getting more active.
Your Sleep: Set it and get it, nightly. Set a consistent bedtime even if it means setting the DVR and watching your favorite show first thing in the morning (what a fun thing to look forward to) before any spoilers occur. Get your sleep because your body needs it for everything -- from weight loss to health gain, from glowing skin to holiday cold prevention. Have trouble relaxing enough to sleep? Consider quality magnesium supplementation -- it's nature's "turn down the stress so you can sleep better" solution, why shouldn't it be yours?
Your Planning: The best part of tackling your health today, right now in October, is that the habits you create today are more likely to stick through the holidays than something you start come Thanksgiving. If you plan your weeks to include the right foods, fitness, and sleep today, in six weeks (yes Thanksgiving is in about six weeks) it will be a habit that while requiring some attention to maintain, won't feel like a your first day at a rodeo (bumpy!).
So start now and avoid the biggest holiday health mistake, which is waiting for the holidays (or after) to focus on your health. The bonus? If you take the time starting today -- now -- to address the items above, come January very likely you will look back (at photos and memories) and say "Holidays? I rocked them!" and won't that be a fun way to enter 2014.