Cleanse

Enjoy Holiday Feasting without Letting Yourself Go

Tonight you might be scarfing down swedish meatballs and several helpings of Auntie Mae’s special brownies, but come January 1st you’re getting a membership and losing 10 pounds. Afterall “Tomorrow is another day.”

So yes, at every party you’re going to help yourself to another glass of eggnog with an extra helping of sugar cookies. Already you’ve committed to a gym membership, a carb-free diet and a guaranteed horrible time working out to strip the extra holiday weight from your body. Isn’t that how every American starts their new year?

Maybe most of us succumb to gaining weight every Christmas more than we have to.  ‘Tis the season. But before facing the holidays feeling totally powerless to maintain some kind of restraint, or healthy mindset rather, when faced with a never-ending Christmas smorgasbord, here are a few suggestions to approaching Christmas and New Years celebrations without completely losing yourself.... (or gaining another self, rather.)

1.Eat when you’re hungry -

I know - groundbreaking. While it sounds like a obvious idea, those who actually eat 3 meals a day or more (snacks don’t hurt) are probably the minority. By eating before you’re famished you’re more likely to savor, choose wisely and actually enjoy your meals.

Some of us girls like to micro-manage the way we eat and for most guys it’s just convenient to skip a meal if you know there’s going to be free food in 3 hours. Overall there’s this idea that by skimping on breakfast or keeping lunch to a minimum of a bowl of salad, we’re somehow leaving room for a third helping of pecan pie later tonight. Trouble there is, you can’t really outsmart your gut. So try listening to it. Eat when you’re hungry, which is probably more often than not. Stop when you’re satisfied. Simple.

2. Don’t save the gym for Jan. 1st.

An effective workout doesn’t have to be a P90x sweat session with Tony Horton everyday (thank God!)You don’t need a trainer or gym membership to stay active through the next week. In 20 minutes you can get a decent workout at home on days when you’re crunched for time, though 30 - 60 is always ideal. Recently I’ve enjoyed short cardio circuit sessions by James Duigan. Wait til you get to the “burpee” on the link below and 20 minutes will be more than enough.

Here are some ideas for simple & quick workouts -

3. Forget about deprivation & diets

I can’t count the number of holidays I’ve faced thinking, “Ok, after vacation I’ll nix this and that and feel better.” I’ve done the whole no sugar, dairy, processed foods cleanse thing a handful of times and while there are endless benefits to this, the aftermath of supressing every urge for chocolate or cookies can get you in more of a mess than where you first began. You don’t have to be a certified nutritionist to grasp the idea of  healthy eating. Just keep it simple. Plenty of greens, lean proteins, fruits, whole grains, nuts and learn to moderate sweets and processed foods. Enjoy a variety. Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be.

Why is it that Americans revel in the extremes of holiday weight gain? The reason most of us continually fail or backtrack during these weeks is more connected with our train of thought than anything else. You can enjoy the holidays, those special brownies and a healthy lifestyle. Give yourself a Merry Christmas and don't give yourself up so easily this year.

Clean and Lean

Image from Womenshealthmag.com

Image from Womenshealthmag.com

So I’m not one to tweet every “tweetable” thought  or instagram every morsel of food that goes into my mouth. It can be a little overwhelming, for me and everyone else, when your life is exposed via social network, but I have enjoy writing (be it ever inconsistent and sparse as I it.) So here’s what’s going on with me currently health-wise. A few weeks ago Hillary, a friend (and former boss,) asked me to help her get healthier and wanted to go on some type of cleanse to kind of purge her system of sugar and processed foods. Prior to hearing from her I had been reading up on random health books and bought a new cookbook called  “Clean and Lean” by James Duigan, a well-know Australian trainer. His plan and approach, never mind the fact that he’s worked with the likes of Elle MacPherson and Hugh Grant, struck me as sensible and doable.

A few months ago my sister went on the plan for some wedding-prepping. She lost 7 lbs the first 2 weeks, and loved it so much she's kept up with the approach and lost 12lbs altogether, which helped her look crazy-hot for her wedding day. I suggested Hillary try the same plan and decided to join her, since I was feeling the need for a little tweaking myself. One too many movies nights of popcorn and chocolate can do that to me.

So Hillary and I have been kinda tackling this plan together.

Duigan's approach is so simple and satisfying, there's no reason anyone couldn't maintain this approach for life.

Here's the gist of it: For 14 days you...

CUT OUT  (what Duigan calls) CRAP : Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol & Process foods, basically anything that comes out of a box. But Duigan says you can go ahead and have up to 2 coffee a day (sans the syrups & whipped creams.) So of course when I heard that, I was all over th plan.

EAT & EAT OFTEN - The approach for the first 14 days is just to get your body on track, eating less but more often.  The focus is a lot of greens, veggies, fruits, nuts, avocados, lean proteins like chicken, fish, yogurt and whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa & brown rice.

While I know the whole “Gluten-free diet” can be a whole other gimmick to get you to buy a lot of processed “gluten-free” nonsense, a whole foods approach cuts out processed food entirely. So technically this is a Gluten Free diet.

It may sound hard at first, but I honestly haven’t craved chocolate or junk in a week. Though I’ve done the whole yoga, pilates, health-foodie-blogging thing, it doesn't mean I’m not human and crave crap on occasion. I do look forward to my next splurge. But committing to a week or two of this helps you balance things out to make sure you're feeding yourself right, so that occasional treats are just that - occasional. Once you get through these 2 weeks you can allow a “cheat-meal” once a week. (Not gonna lie, mine may look more like a cheat-day,) but we'll see how things go.

CHEATING – I hate this term because it sounds like a free-for-all approach. But once you start eating whole, unprocessed foods all the time, really your body won’t be craving a day full of junk ( if you’re being honest with yourself.) Over time you may be able to understand when your body really is craving chocolate or can share a dessert with someone once or twice a week. The "Cheat meal" is a good approach to let yourself eat what you want and keeps things from getting boring or too restrictive. Essentially, following any kind of cleanse, you want to be able to maintain and live with more of a 80/20 approach.

This was just a taste of what a "cleanse" could look like. Let me know if you guys have any questions. More to come…