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Five Healthy Tips for Surviving The Holidays

Updated on September 19, 2015

The Holidays Are Apon Us

Staying healthy during the holiday season can be challenging. Have you ever caught yourself eating too much during the holidays? In this festive season that starts with Thanksgiving and ends with New Years, we tend to overindulge a little. And let's face it, most of us have over done it a few times. I know I have! Too much of everything. From too much food to too much booze all the way to lack of exercise under the guise of "too busy with the holidays." Wrap that all up (pun intended) with a bunch of candy and sweets and you got trouble my friend. Right here in River City. This year we have the opportunity to control our indulgence or at least let's take a look at some ways to minimize the damage...

Stuffed again!

Ohhhh god....
Ohhhh god....

If you must drink...

Drink red wine. You figure if the French can eat and smoke like they do and not have as many heart attacks as we Americans, then they must be on to something. Red Wine has (since it comes from grapes) a few powerful antioxidants in it, namely resveratrol. Calorically speaking booze is just a big shot of empty calories. Especially beer and the hard stuff like whiskey, scotch and vodka.

Resveratrol is currently being closely studied due to it's potential health benefits. Some of which could be anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood sugar control, and it seems to be good for the ticker as well. Some research is looking at resveratrol as an estrogen blocker which can be good for the fellas out there... wink, wink.

Most of the research coming back is positive while some is a little inconclusive, but if you're going to drink it looks like red wine will be your best choice.

Now for you manly men out there, if you're worried about losing a degree of masculinity by having to drink with your pinkie finger out and then switching from Jack on the Rocks or a bottle of Bud to red wine, try sipping your red wine from a short collins glass or tumbler. If you do it right everyone will think your a member of La Cosa Nostra and no other men will mess with you and the ladies will wonder about you.

Beauty is in the...


H.I.I.T. the gym

H.I.I.T. stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It has multiple benefits. First, it can really boost your metabolic rate. Second, it's good for your heart.

The basics of High Intensity Interval Training (or H.I.I.T. for short) is simple. Choose an exercise like running or biking. After a warm up, you'll sprint for a specific amount of time or distance and then rest for another. For a full explanation check out my hub called 101 Kettlebell Workouts: Intervals and Tabata.

The beauty and main benefit of H.I.I.T training is that it's usually a very quick workout. You can only go full out for so long. In fact, when you follow the Tabata training protocol, you're in, out and done in 12 minutes.

If you're really stressed for time, look at No Equipment Required for the best 2 and half minutes of your life!

This type of training, done every other day will help keep your metabolism in check throughout the holidays while also keeping up with that alleged busy schedule. Plus you can do this anywhere. No need to go to the gym as No Equipment Required will show you.


Earn your stuffing

Listen, you may find a lot of articles out there telling you to take it easy, not to overeat, not to have any pie after the meal or make sure you only have the white meat and a little stuffing, no mashed potatoes, go easy on the gravy, etc.

You know what I say? SCREW THAT! Look, this time of year comes only once a year. This is the time where we give thanks to God for His many blessings and also recognize the miracle of life. We observe the birth of Christ, celebrate the oil that didn't run out for 8 nights, and give thanks and honor to family, community and culture. We also bring in the new year. It's a festive time so by God, please, be festive.

However, if I may impart a little guilt pulled from my Irish Catholic blood line:  Make sure you've earned your stuffing!

Are you keeping up with your exercise? Is the rest of your diet in check?

The way I feel about it is if you're training hard and consistently and the rest of your diet is clean and healthy then eating a big Thanksgiving-Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanza type meal is something you deserve.

Heck most solid and realistic diet plans allow for a cheat day or meal. Bill Phillips' Body For Life is a good example. Eat super healthy and clean Monday through Saturday and cut loose on Sunday. For the Holidays, just time your cheats accordingly.

It is also metabolically advantageous and consistent with our ancient hunter/gatherer DNA to feast occasionally.

Here's a good one! What if I told you a little secret that could make every cheat meal you ever eat actually good for you?

If you can time your training to finish with in 90 minutes to 2 hours before you start to pig out, a lot of the calories will go to repairing your body from the onslaught you just gave it. Hard work and exercise will prime your body and create a caloric deficit that will require you to refuel. Hmmm? Not a bad idea huh? On this Thanksgiving I went to the park for my annual Kettlebell Snatchfest and let me tell you, turkey dinner never tasted so good!


Take Digestive Enzymes

OK, so there you are lying on the couch. You're flat on your back, your neck is strained from trying to see the television over your bloated turkey laden belly. The euphoria has worn off. Sleep is coming. So is the gas...

Your body is starting the process of processing all this food you so mercilessly shoved down your greedy glutinous gullet.

Why not give it a little help and take a few digestive enzymes.

Enzymes help break down food and other materials in the body so they can be absorbed better.

Yes your body does make its own digestive enzymes but you can also get digestive enzymes from food to create a synergistic effect and reduce stress on your system.  Avocados, Bananas, Pineapple and Papaya  to name a few each have enzymes that help the body digest food.  Sprouts are also an excellent source of digestive enzymes. 

Certain enzymes also have an anti-inflammatory effect as well.

So considering that you're stuffed right now, taking down a papaya is probably a bad idea so just pop a few enzyme tablets and fall asleep on the couch watching a movie...


Drink Water

Lots of water! Your body is mostly water. Stay hydrated. Period. Especially if you're drinking the booze and eating too much. Your body needs to flush it's system since you've started treating it like a toilet. But no worries. Your liver will bounce back. Literally. You know when they do the autopsy they throw your liver on the ground and if it bounces back they know it's cirrhosis!

But seriously folks, one of the best things you can do for yourself not only during the holidays but all year long is drink lots and lots of water.  Just because it's cold and snowy doesn't mean it isn't dry out.  Nice fluffy snow requires low humidity.  And here in SoCal the Santa Anna winds and cold air from the north dry out this once desert plane.  Bottom line here, stay hydrated.

So There You Have It

Five simple and easy things to keep in mind this holiday season. It's funny how the warning around the Fourth of July is always to have a "safe and sane" holiday but frankly I think that has more meaning this time of year...

A Festivus for the rest of us!


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