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Christmas Crunch Time Survival Tips

If you find yourself in a haze after another weekend full of holiday cheer, take comfort knowing you’re definitely not alone. With Christmas only eight days away, the festivities have spun into overdrive. ‘Tis also the time those items on the to-do list grow a little more daunting with each day that passes leading up to the 25th. So, in order to let all you busy elves get back to business, here are a few survival tips to get through the next week while keeping some healthy habits in check:

  1. Drink water: One cannot exist on egg nog (or wine, or bubbly) alone. It’s no secret that boozy libations are high in sugar and calories. Just remember, if you’re reaching for an alternative, stick with water instead of soda or other sugary drinks that can also make you feel sluggish after the initial caffeine or sugar rush wears off. Water is still king when it comes to staying hydrated. In addition to helping us keep our appetite in check, proper hydration also promotes better sleep which is something most of us can use.
  2. Try a Little Culture: I’m talking about the live cultures found in foods like yogurt that can help keep our tummies balanced during a time when we tend to indulge a little more. The majority of our immune system is found in the digestive tract, so it’s an important place to take care of. Think about adding a yogurt to your daily routine this week, or try a food known for beneficial bacteria like miso or kimchi.
  3. Do NOT Skip Breakfast: I was definitely guilty of this bad habit during in my younger years, especially at this time of year filled with so many after-work festivities. Skipping meals may sound like a great way to save calories for the fun night ahead, but all it usually does is open the door for a hangry arrival at a party followed by a fast track to the richest, highest-calorie option on the table. Make sure to have breakfast with some protein. Whether you’re an Isagenix shake lover like me, or just have a hard-boiled egg or a non-fat plain Greek yogurt, getting something in your stomach is important to get the metabolism going. If you don’t want a full lunch, make sure to at least have a few snacks throughout the day – maybe almonds and a green apple or celery sticks and hummus – to stay fueled. And definitely have something at least an hour before the party so you don’t inhale a plate of hors d’oeuvres the minutes you walk in.
  4. Find Creative Ways to Exercise: Is the party taking you away from your normal group exercise class after work? Then maybe try to get up a little earlier and go for a power walk or bang out some Tabatas in your living room. If you drive to work, park farther away from the entrance and take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office. Try and sneak out for 10 minutes at lunchtime for another walk, or if the weather is bad, use the stairs. Remember, 10 minutes of anything is always better than nothing!
  5. Pack Healthy Essentials: Traveling for Christmas? Be sure to pack your sneakers and a couple of sports bras, tees and yoga pants along with the presents. Don’t forget the portable shaker and shake packets for a healthy breakfast or snack option, and don’t be shy about bringing your own raw almonds, KIND bars or other portable snacks so you’re always armed with some healthy options for the time away from home.your normal routine.

As Christmas crunch time winds down, remember this: the key is to do simple things for yourself so you don’t turn into a holiday humbug and stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

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Healthy Holiday Tips for the Mind

iStock_000014747161SmallIt’s hard to believe this Motivation Monday brings us less than two weeks away from Christmas and Hanukkah. As crunch time dwindles away, the items on our to-do list only seem to grow every day. Along with the daily work grind and family responsibilities, many of us wish there were more hours in the day to get all the other holiday “stuff” done: deciding who’s been naughty and nice; decorating; extra cooking; party planning; attending holiday parties and concerts; card writing; and spending extra time with extended family. Add online shopping and searching for recipes to the everyday stimuli of emails, texts, and status updates…and it’s no wonder our hustled-and-bustled minds are in overdrive.

So while I implore you to fit that quick-hit workout into your daily routine, it’s equally important to steal another few precious moments to re-boot. Here a few tips to make it happen:

  • Focus on one thing at a time: If you set aside an hour to write holiday cards or wrap gifts, make sure that’s all you do during those 60 minutes. No texts. No emails. No multiple posts on Instagram. Worried about withdrawal? Use social media to alert your network you’ll be offline and in elf mode for a bit.
  • Step away from the computer: I understand the need to check email once before bedtime to make sure you didn’t miss any late-day developments on the work front. However, try to shut down at least 30 minutes before bedtime to get your brain in mellow mode. The same goes for social media. The Facebook world will continue to spin if you don’t wish it good night.
  • Turn off the TV: Try to establish one night where you set the DVR and turn a show’s normal viewing time into down time with family or friends. Play cards or a board game and forget about the holiday craziness for awhile. It may turn into a night of getting the Christmas chaos under control, but it’ll be time to tackle the holiday to-do list with fewer distractions.
  • Make me-time a must: If you’ve committed to finding 10 minutes (or more) in your schedule to exercise, add a measly five more minutes to stretch. Then add up to five more minutes to your post-workout shower. At this time of year, I always have a lavender-scented body wash or moisturizer in my arsenal to help me decompress in that nighttime shower. (I like Aveeno.) Also, don’t underestimate the power of caffeine-free teas or scented candles. I recently discovered Twinings Nightly Calm® tea and love it.

So as this joyous yet hectic season marches on, if you find yourself wanting to throw your hands up and scream “Bah Humbug,” rest assured you’re not alone. While I applaud any effort to make time to exercise even when you’re jingling all the way, I also want to stress the importance of standing still for a few moments, too. Never underestimate the power of your mind on the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Give the Gift of Health & Fitness

Christmas gift and baubles on defocused lights backgroundSince this Motivation Monday marks 20 days until Christmas and 19 until the start of Hanukkah, I thought it was the perfect time to offer some cool gift ideas for the fitness fanatics in your life. (Whether they’ve been naughty or nice is up to you to decide.)

Since yours truly is trying to keep the hustle and bustle at manageable levels, I hope you won’t mind a list that’s short and sweet:

  1. Bluetooth wireless ear warmers. These wrap around your head without interfering with a ponytail or hat so you can stay in touch and listen to your favorite tunes while breaking a sweat in the chilly outdoors.
  2. Waterproof audio “stuff.” For the swimmers and even the beach lovers in your life, here’s a great way to provide some waterproof motivation for all their underwater activities.
  3. A not-so-typical water bottle. Aside from being BPA-free and easy-to-grip, this 24-ounce water bottle from Thermos also has a rotating meter  to help you track your hydration throughout the day.
  4. Protein-packed, gluten-free baking goods from Flapjacked.com There’s a wide variety of recipes for pancakes, cookies and muffins packed with 20 grams of protein and 200 calories per serving.
  5. For the fitness chicks in your life: I love my Femme Fitale fitness gloves. They help me avoid developing callouses from all those Physique57 barre classes or weight lifting. So many cute colors and patterns to choose from!

Great stocking stuffers:

  1. BFit Labs Electrolyte Sprays. I never leave home without a bottle. Each electrolyte-packed spray of Berry Blast or Very Vanilla contains 0 calories, 0 carbs and 0 food dyes.
  2. Moisture-wicking socks: I am a huge fan of Balega running socks. They’ve help keep my feet blister-free through my first three Avon39 Walks – that’s 108.9 miles and counting!
  3. Dry shampoo for quick touch-ups after a workout.
  4. Combination lock that lets you use words instead of numbers.
  5. Hot packs for hands and feet.

Remember, giving gifts that promote a healthy lifestyle is a great way to show the most important people in your life that you support their journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Give the Gift of Fitness

iStock_000014614375SmallWith Hanukkah and Christmas creeping closer by the minute, this Motivation Monday is all about keeping things as simple as possible!

That means I’m offering reminders from holidays past to help you get through this season without completely falling off the health and fitness wagon.

Click on the following links for refreshers on:

1) Navigating your way through a healthy holiday party circuit

2) An ideal workout option for your time-crunched schedule

Finally, I offer three simple gift ideas for the fitness buffs on your list:

I’d love to hear about the items on your wish list! In the meantime, I send tidings of joy and and wishes for a season filled with plenty of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Make Time for Your Health

istock_000012020247smallWe made it to another Motivation Monday, but this one comes in the midst of full-blown hustle and bustle time.  I’ve already reminded you about the importance of keeping exercise and healthy food prep on your holiday to-do lists. Today, I’m here to remind you about another crucial factor in staying healthy: be sure to keep up with those preventive checkups.

I recently saw my dermatologist for my annual mole check. As a fair-skinned, light-eyed Italian gal with lots of moles from head to toe, this has been an annual and sometimes bi-annual ritual since around the time I turned 30. More often than not, a suspicious mole is scraped and sent to a lab for a biopsy. I’ve always received the all clear, but sometimes only after a second scraping of the  area in question after some abnormal cells were detected. That’s what happened after this last checkup. So while my doctor assured me there’s no reason to panic, he does want to excise a bit more of the area for further testing and just keep an eye on it extra closely at my future checkups. I will see him again at the end of this week. Then I can move on and enjoy my Christmas without this extra “thing” on my mind.

Listen, I know how ridiculously busy life can be. However, if there’s a choice between getting a manicure and getting a mammogram during your only free hour of the week, choose the test. My friends who are moms sometimes tell me how they’re long overdue to get to the gynecologist for a checkup, but they haven’t been able to fit it in with all the “stuff” going on with the kids. I tell these amazing women they need to find the time to take care of themselves so they can continue to be there for their kids.

I realize there are only eight days until Hanukkah and 17 days until Christmas. So between working, shopping, baking, gift wrapping, card writing and party-going, this may not be the ideal time for a trip to the doctor’s office. However, if you know you’re due for a checkup or follow-up with one of your health care providers, why not put a 10-minutes aside to make a simple phone call and schedule an appointment for January. (Many doctors offices today even give the option of scheduling your appointments online.) Consider it one of the easiest ways to kick off the New Year with a renewed gusto to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season to Mind Your Mental Fitness!

Christmas gift and baubles on defocused lights backgroundThis Motivation Monday leaves us with just 15 shopping days until Christmas. The way things were in the stores in my neighborhood on Saturday, you’d think Armageddon was coming! As I made my way through the throngs of people searching for stocking stuffers and indulgent treats, I kept closing my eyes to block out the general feeling of impatience permeating the air in the overheated stores. What better time to touch on the importance of keeping our mental health in check during the hustle and bustle of this joyous but chaotic season.

Last week, I encouraged everyone to put just 10-minutes aside for a workout as a way of keeping the holiday stress level under control. Along with working and managing family responsibilities, many of us are also juggling decorating, extra cooking, party planning, card writing, waiting in lines in crowded stores and spending extra amounts of time with extended family. Add online shopping and recipe surfing to the everyday stimuli of emails, texts, Tweets and status updates and it’s no wonder our minds are in overdrive.

So while I implore you to fit that quick-hit workout into your daily routine, it’s equally important to steal another few precious moments to re-boot. Here a few tips to make it happen:

  • Focus on one thing at a time: If you set aside an hour to write holiday cards or wrap gifts, make sure that’s all you do during those 60 minutes. No texts. No emails. Worried about withdrawal? Use social media to alert your network you’ll be offline and in elf mode for a bit.
  • Step away from the computer: I understand the need to check email once before bedtime to make sure you didn’t miss any late-day developments on the work front. However, try to shut down at least 30 minutes before bedtime to get your brain in mellow mode.
  • Turn off the TV: Try to establish one night where you set the DVR and turn a show’s normal viewing time into decompress time with family or friends. Play cards or a board game and forget about the holiday craziness for awhile. It may turn into a night of getting the Christmas chaos under control, but it’ll be time to tackle the holiday to-do list with fewer distractions.
  • Make me-time a must: If you’re making the commitment to find 10 minutes (or more) in your crazy schedule to exercise, add just five more minutes to stretch. Then add up to five more minutes to your post-workout shower. At this time of year, I always have a lavender-scented body wash or moisturizer in my arsenal to help me decompress in that nighttime shower. Also, don’t underestimate the power of caffeine-free teas or scented candles.

As you work through this holiday season and make an effort to workout, don’t forget the importance of standing still for a few moments, too! Never underestimate the power of your mind on the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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