3 Ways to Finish 2018 Healthier and Happier

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There is still time left in 2018, it’s not over yet! This is a beautiful thing!

We have a month left until the new year! The real question is this: What will YOU do with that time?

Unfortunately, from the middle of November to January, I often see people gain anywhere from 1-5 pounds (or more), and despite our best intentions after the holidays, this extra weight is usually here to stay.

The good news? That doesn’t have to happen to you!  

So, don’t let the holiday season prevent you from getting your health in check. I know it’s so easy to just wait until January to start fresh in the New Year, but what about the thought of starting right now? Getting ahead of the game? How about feeling incredible on New Year’s Eve?

There are countless reasons to start getting healthy now, but below are 3 of my faves that I hope will inspire you to make healthy changes BEFORE the New Year!

1. Starting now helps mitigate the unwanted holiday weight gain

Implementing healthy changes or practicing healthy behaviors during the holidays does not have to be a punishment; it’s all how you view it.

You can still indulge in those seasonal treats, like a yummy cup of eggnog, cookie platters and various creamy dips (yasss!)… Just make sure to view them as that yummy indulgence you can enjoy, as opposed to overdoing it. Just because it’s the “holiday season” does not mean that eating junk food all month won’t have negative consequences.

You can create a balance this holiday season. Make a conscious effort to eat healthfully most of the day; filling up on a variety of colorful veggies and lean proteins, while also allowing yourself to indulge on a special snack or your favorite family dish at the next holiday party. Indulging in this manner is not going to wreck your health.

A pretty well accepted approach is to follow the 80/20 rule, and I like it too because it provides balance without deprivation!

The concept is that you eat healthfully 80% of the time, and when you know there’s going to be tempting foods and drinks at your next holiday shindig, let the other 20% go towards the snacks you’re craving. Not just eating to eat, but having the foods you truly enjoy)!

This allows you to have a healthy balance by maintaining a primarily healthy diet, without compromising your sanity.

Plus, once January comes, you won’ t be working so hard to lose that extra holiday indulgence, but instead will be able to focus on continuing to lead a healthy life.

Remember that the 20% is still part of this healthy approach because it is the balance that makes it work! 

2) Be kind to your heart

Just one month of holiday eating can be damaging to that precious muscle! Yes, I know Heart month is technically February, but November is just as good of a time to start taking care of it!

Eating healthy isn’t only about keeping up with outward appearances and preventing the dreaded holiday weight gain. Yes, when you feel good, you look good too - but staying healthy also helps prevent dangerous metabolic changes from occurring.

Research shows that all it takes is 4 weeks of daily noshing on high fat snacks to negatively impact your metabolism.

Moreover, just one month of consuming calorically dense foods - so basically everything found at holiday parties and all those tempting leftovers that call your name when you open the fridge - is enough time to induce damage to your heart.

So, do you really think waiting a month to take care of your health and heart is a good idea? 

3) Healthful changes help reduce holiday related stress and anxiety!

Sign me up! Not only does physical activity provide metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, aid in glycemic control and improve our bone strength, but it is also a stress reliever!

Whether you start adding some weight training or aerobic workouts to your day, you will likely see that your mood will improve, and your anxiety will lessen.

How about implementing walks after dinner or lunch? Around the block if you live in a warmer climate or up and down the stairs at work?

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is not always 100% super joyous the entire time. Let’s be real, there is A LOT going on! That's why physical activity is literally the perfect addition to starting your healthy overhaul.

Why wait until 2019 when you can curb the stress and anxiety with a little exercise? All the while, burning some extra cals for the cheese or cookie platter you know will be at the party later, too! You can’t exercise away an unhealthy diet though, so go back to reason #1 for guidance!

I hope the next 4 weeks of your 2018 are beautiful and filled with joy. Consider making a few small changes that can stick with you through the New Year!

I know when the ball drops and it’s 2019, you will feel even more excited about the year to come!

Healthfully,
Jaime