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ABCD- Take care of your health by following the ABCD’s. Every night before dinner – yes I do mean every night – whether you are going out or staying in:
A – Apple. Eat an apple. It doesn’t matter if you slice it, dice it or eat it whole. Remember the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? There’s a lot of truth to that, so start eating your daily apple!
B – Beverage. After eating your apple, drink a no-calorie beverage. As in, tea or water. You can flavor your water any way you’d like or you can drink it plain. Still or sparkling, just drink an 8 oz. beverage.
C – Clock. Watch the clock. Wait 15 minutes after eating your apple before you eat dinner. It takes 15 min. for the feeling of being full to register in the brain. Give yourself the chance to feel how full you already are, before you even start eating.
D – Dinner! Time to eat your dinner.
E – Exercise!
Exercise DAILY, no matter what. I don’t care how busy or sick or tired you are, you DO have 10 min. and that’s truly all it takes. (Six 10 minute Exercise videos-10 Minute Miracles will be posted on my YouTube Channel between Thanksgiving and Christmas and I post a full hour yoga every Monday and a full hour boot camp every Wednesday! @noexcues! https://www.youtube.com/loracheadlelifechoreographer)
F – Fiber
High fat Holiday food WILL happen. There’s no way to deny that. Plan ahead! Buy a bottle of Fiber Gummies, (some have prebiotics AND fiber, BONUS!) stash a few in a zip-loc and keep it in your purse. When you are at the party and they are passing around finger foods or desserts, eat a gummy and drink a full glass of water.
Please note, this is not an excuse to over-indulge! Some people are sensitive to fiber, so be sure to be careful and note how you feel when you have fiber. DO NOT abuse this, this is something to be used on an infrequent basis, it is NOT a daily excuse to pig out.
G – Groceries
Yes, you are extra busy, but skipping out on groceries is a big mistake. Why not make grocery shopping into a Zen-inducing experience? If you think of grocery shopping as a chore, it will be. If you think of it as an adventure, that’s exactly what it will become!
First, make sure you have time to enjoy your shopping adventure. Remember, this is self-care! Start by having a healthy snack or meal. You never, ever want to shop hungry!
Then, begin by shopping the produce section. Buy 5 things that are familiar to you and one thing that is not. You have a smart phone. Right there, in the produce section, Google a recipe. That way you can be prepared with all the ingredients you need to cook your new veggie or fruit.
Next, explore your staples. Pick two or three of the items that you buy often and see if there is a healthier alternative out there. If you always buy a pack of chips, great. Read the label on your regular brand as well as on a couple of other brands. Does one brand have less fat? More Fiber? More protein? Pick the healthiest alternative. Same with healthy foods. Not all yogurt is created equal! Read the labels, compare, learn and have some fun in the process.
Lastly, as you shop, think of ways you’d like to treat yourself. Many of us use food as a treat, and that creates some really terrible habits! As you explore the grocery, be on the lookout for non-food treats. Peruse the book and magazine section. Look at the bath and beauty section. Lavender Epsom salts are a low-cost treat for your bath. Are there any flowers or plants that catch your eye? Balloons, cards, pretty napkins, cute stickie-notes or pens make a nice treat too. Your job, every time you shop, is to find, and treat yourself, to something deliciously wonderful that is NOT something to eat!
H – Happy Thoughts s
This is so simple, yet so difficult. Choose happy thoughts. Yes, even if your in-laws are driving you crazy. Even if you despise work functions and holiday cheer. Choose to be happy. The holidays will get here whether you like it or not. Parties will be thrown, money will be spent, and people will pressure you to do or to be different than you are. You can fight the season, guaranteeing your misery, or you can flow with the season and at least be peaceful.
Choosing happy thoughts means making the best of what is. Your in laws are who they are and being irritated and disgusted won’t change them. Choose to think happy or at least neutral thoughts about them. You will spend more than you want to spend. Choose to focus on how happy the receivers of your gifts will feel. Focus on the positive; the thrill of giving, the joy of having a first-world budget in the first place. Whatever you hate, whatever irritates you, choose happy or neutral thoughts and feel the stress roll off of your back.
You are in control of your mind, it does not control you. Choose your thoughts wisely.
I – Increase your heart rate
Not only does increasing your heart rate burn more calories, allow you to take deeper breaths and think more clearly, but also keeps you warm! Whenever you are cold, don’t grab for a blanket or sweater. Do something physical instead! Focus on large muscles, like your legs and core, and in no time flat, you will be toasty warm.
Sun salutations, walking up several flights of stairs, even a few jumping jacks or squats will do it! Bonus points for burpies! My YouTube Channel, listed above under E will have videos of easy ways to increase your heart rate! Check it out!
J – Joint Circle
As simple as it is, joint circles are one of the easiest things we can to do to increase our comfort and prevent accidents and injuries. Each joint has bursa sacs nearby, that secrete fluid that is designed to lubricate the joint. Just like the Tin Man, lubricated joints feel better and move better. Before getting out of bed in the morning, take a few seconds to circle your joints! Ankle circles, wrist circles, knee, hip shoulder, elbow and even gently move your neck by looking left, right, up and down.
K – Know Your Limits
Yes, this applies to alcohol, but it also applies to everything else too. Sending out Christmas cards is not required. If you can’t handle one more thing, then don’t. It’s better to calmly back out in advance, than to attend an event, act grouchy, and end up embarrassed by your behavior. Making amends is always more difficult than preventing the situation in the first place.
L – Love Yourself
Following the over indulgent holiday season comes… New Year’s Resolutions! Oh boy! A built in excuse to beat ourselves up over how terrible and out of control we’ve been the past couple of months. This is NOT healthy OR effective.
If you were taking care of children or animals or anyone else that you loved, how would you treat them? This is exactly how you should treat yourself – with love! If you have been eating terribly, don’t punish yourself, declare that it’s all over now or punish yourself by going on some ridiculous diet. Nurture yourself! Read, take a bath, use sparkly lotion, buy flowers or a candle for your house, watch a movie, call a friend, journal, take a walk, sit in a coffee shop and people watch. Consider taking a day off and doing something you want to do, not something you need to do.
Silly as it sounds, in the summer I nurture myself with smoothies, and in the winter I nurture myself with soup! Both are easy ways to stay warm, healthy and nourished. Of course you can follow recipes if you’d like to, but I simply use broth, and then any and all left over veggies I have in my fridge. I even use canned or frozen veggies if that’s all that I’ve got. Add some pasta, rice or chopped up meats, stick in the crock pot and voila! Dinner is served.
M – Meditation
Umm-humm. Do this. I cannot say it enough. Meditate. Let’s get clear right now. Meditation changes everything, period. Also, meditation is not about having an empty mind! I teach meditation, and without fail, people come in and say, “I tried meditation, but I can’t empty my mind. I can’t stop thinking!” EXACTLY! If you stop thinking it means you are dead! Meditation is not about having an empty mind! It’s about managing your mind. Reach out if you need help or schedule a session with me and several of your friends or family members. What an awesome way to connect, ground and get centered for the holidays. We can meet in person or via Skype. It all works!
Feeling too busy for even that? Check out my guided meditation downloads. These are truly stunning, because they have custom music and were recorded on super-amazing equipment! http://loracheadle.com/shop
N + O= No
Yes. This. Just say no. Unless you are excited about something, you should probably not do it. Parties, decorations, foods, who should be invited or what you should say or wear or do. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. And remember, you do not need to explain why you are saying no!
P – Posture
This is so huge I can’t even emphasize it enough. We have terrible posture and it creates a myriad of physical, emotional and mental problems. Seriously. Our entire modern-day society reinforces bad posture and we are all paying the price.
Let’s start from the beginning. We are skeletons. Our bones are strung together by ligaments, tendons and muscles, which are soft tissues. The goal is to keep our bones stacked, as perfectly as possible in order to minimize stress, tension and pulling on our soft tissues. When we stick our head forward, we put an enormous amount of strain on our neck, shoulder and back muscles, ligaments and tendons. Then the rest of the body is forced to compensate for the misalignment of the head. Sway back is exacerbated, which messes up our hips. Which messes up our knees. Which messes up our feet. Our entire body is one giant kinetic chain, and everything impacts something else.
Here is an exercise to do several times a day that will help correct postural misalignments:
Think of yourself as a skeleton, without ligaments, tendons, muscles or bones. Like a giant Jenga game, how would you have to stack your bones in order to keep them from toppling over? Left to right, front to back, stack your bones from the bottom to the top, making whatever adjustments necessary to keep your bones in place.
No time to do that? Put your knees over your ankles, your hips over your knees, your shoulders over your hips and your ears over your shoulders. Crown of the head flat against the ceiling and jaw parallel to the floor. Ta-da!
Q – Quiet time
Seriously. Remember kindergarten? Quiet time helps us to relax, center and get grounded in ourselves and our day. TV is not quiet time. Listening to the radio is not quiet time. Talking on the phone or to friends is not quiet time. Quiet time IS quiet time!
Our brains have a limited capacity to process information. It has nothing to do with intelligence or strength, when our brains are full, they are full and they either need to dump out that which is not deemed important, or they simply quit processing any further incoming material.
Have you ever completely forgotten to do something? Have you ever sat there and listened to someone tell you something, and had no idea what they said to you five minutes later? Your brain was full.
The Holidays provide a lot of extra stimulation. In terms of visuals, decorations and lights are stimulating on the brain and processing those extra sites takes brain power. Auditorily, listening to Christmas music everywhere and extra laughter and discussion, being at more events, having family stay with you, everything adds up to more. More sites, more sounds, more smells, more parties, more luncheons more things to keep track of. And it leads to overload.
The only way to combat overload is to provide yourself with sensory deprivation. Which is silence. Ideally, you should spend at least three to five minutes a day in a totally quiet, softly lit space, just being.
TV, music, talking, reading, all the things we normally do to unwind merely add more stimulation to your already over-stimulated mind. Just. Stop.
R – Recipes
Have a couple of go-to recipes on hand for the next couple of months. By memorizing a few recipes, and always keeping those ingredients on hand, you will always be prepared for a meal. You will be much less likely to make bad choices or to default to eating out. Even if you eat them weekly, it’s only for the season!
I’m attaching my favorite Holiday Crockpot Clean Eating Plan to this email!
S – Snacks.
Prepare snacks on the weekend and carry them with you wherever you go. I ALWAYS have healthy granola-type bars stashed away in my glove box, purse and gym bag. Having snacks on hand means you can keep your energy up and your blood sugar stable. It also saves money because you don’t need to buy food on the go, and the snacks you pack are much healthier than any on-the-go options that are available from snack machines or fast-food restaurants.
T – Tupperware.
It sounds silly, but invest I a few pieces of Tupperware, or any other Tupperware-type of containers. Always keep a Tupperware in your car and/or your bag. Keep an empty Tupperware by your keys or your wallet, and whenever you leave the house, grab your Tupperware.
Why? Because every time you go out to eat, I want you to take half of your meal, and put it in your Tupperware. No matter what! Snap it up, and put it away. Voila! You have just created two healthy-sized potions and you have saved the planet by not using Styrofoam!
U – Undergarments.
Yes, I hope you giggled! I know we need to love ourselves exactly as we are, however, there’s no better motivation than seeing ourselves as we wish we were. Wearing Spanx, and other such undergarments, can give us the visual reminder of what we can and will look like when we drop weight and firm up. Additionally, they compress the stomach, reminding us not to overindulge!
That said, they do compress the stomach, intestines, liver, etc. which inhibits digestion and be very dangerous over time. I do not recommend tight lacing, waist shapers or wearing any type of corset or other compression garments overnight or for an extended period of time ever. Can the make the waist look smaller? Yes, but only because they weaken the core muscles! Trust me. Long term back pain and organ damage is not worth it! Do it the healthy way, with diet and exercise!
V – Vitamins.
Whether or not you routinely take vitamins, now is the time to invest in a good multi vitamin. Vitamins ensure that any nutritional deficiencies are being met and keep your energy, strength and immunities up.
Sugar, fat and alcohol deplete your system. Vitamins are not a cure-all, but they will at least help keep you going until you get back on track.
W – Water.
I am not kidding. Drink your water! Water wakes you up, keeps you full, helps you think faster and makes your skin and hair look better. It also keeps you from bloating. Over the holidays you will probably eat foods that you are not used to eating. Which means, that you may have a tendency to bloat. Drinking water helps with digestion, but it also keeps the bloating away, helping you to look your best in your Holiday dress!
Not sure how much to drink? Take your body weight, divide it by two. Drink that many ounces of water a day.
TIP: To make sure you are getting it right, find a water bottle or picture and measure. Once you know how much you need, it will be much easier to stay on track.
A Nalgene bottle is 32 oz. I weight 130 lbs. which means I need to drink 64 oz. of water, or two Nalgene bottles per day. Every morning I fill up my bottle and I take it with me wherever I go. I make sure that I’ve drunk one bottle by lunch time. Then I refill, and make sure I’m done with that bottle by the end of the day.
X – Xanax, or relieving Holiday anxiety without drugs.
Alternative 1. Rhodiola rosea is one of the best alternatives to Xanax. It’s a powerful adaptogen that helps the brain adapt to stress. Meaning that this supplement can lower (or heighten) the bodies level of cortisol depending on what you need.
Alternative 2. N-A-C (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) is a powerful antioxidant amino acid and precursor to glutathione that can help sufferers of anxiety and ADHD. N-A-C lowers oxidative stress, detoxifies the liver and reduces anxiety symptoms.
Alternative 3. Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that helps the brain adapt to chronic stress, and overcome anxiety symptoms. It has also been shown to produce hormone-balancing and anti-depressant benefits.
Natural Alternative 4. L-Theanine is found in green tea, and can instantly make you feel much more at ease. It helps with motivation, getting and staying focused, and with racing thoughts or monkey mind.
Alternative 5. PharmaGABA-250 is the only natural source of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) available, and, medical professionals agree that supplementing with GABA once or twice a day is an excellent way to naturally relax the brain.
Alternative 6. Magnesium is amazing for sleep, cardiovascular health, athletic performance, and of course – anxiety. It makes your brain feel a little bit soft, calm and comfortable. It’s a truly amazing natural mineral that just about anyone can benefit from. It’s also worth noting that magnesium deficiency is a major problem across the United States. So, you may want to take magnesium just for the sake of your general health.
Alternative 7. 5-HTP acts as a precursor to serotonin, and, serotonin is one of the most important brain chemicals, as it plays a major role in your mood and happiness level. Some studies have shown that having a serotonin deficiency may lead to problems related to anxiety and depression.
Alternative 8. Probiotics are useful to cleanse the gut and anxiety symptoms. The gut is linked to your mood and the emotions.
As with any supplement, always check with your doctor!
Y – Yoga!
Yoga means “yoke” and it’s designed to yoke together the mind and the body. Linking the breath with the movement provides for a moving meditation that will tone the body, quiet the mind and reduce stress.
Z – Zzzzzzzz!
Do your darnedest to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. When you are rested, you make better decisions, you have more natural energy and you are less likely to over-indulge in caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
Trouble sleeping? Melatonin works wonders, as does a hot bath with lavender salts or oils.
Like this guide? Join the Facebook Group, “FLAUNT! Flock” for more ways to SPARKLE this Holiday Season!