So many things suffer during the holidays: our relationship with our partner, bed time for the kids, and our digestion - to name just a few. Our digestion works extra hard with all the sudden holiday foods and drinks thrown at it that we usually try to avoid throughout the year. Couple this with an all time high of our stress levels, and our poor digestion is shut down for a good month or longer. We often come out of the holidays feeling tired, sluggish, bloated, and feeling like we need a new extreme diet and a hellish bootcamp to kickstart our lives again. If you have been following me for a while, then you know that these drastic measures are a big NO for me. If you are new here, well then welcome! You are in a space where we cherish self love and care above else. Where we want to spare our sanity and not go crazy with extreme measures we won't be able to stick to what with running a household, raising kids, keeping a happy partner, maybe some pets thrown in there, working to save the world, and so many other things that are on our daily plate.
Nevertheless, let's be honest; sometimes we need a little kickstart - whether that is an extra dose of motivation or a few tools up our sleeves that will make us feel grand again. And this is where these tips come in. I go into a lot of detail about the digestion, why it suffers so greatly during the holidays, and what to do about it in the Surviving the Holidays ebook. Here are my top 4 tips that I used as soon as I landed back from my holidays:
1. Drink more water
Yes I know, this may be a boring tip, because every website you will ever read around digestion will tell you to drink more water. That is because it is so basic and yet so vital. Imagine trying to blend up a smoothie without adding any liquid. It's going to be difficult to get the blades moving, and you will likely have to open up the blender and shove all the hard stuff down again towards the blades. Your digestion works in similar, magical ways. When we digest our food without water, it gets stuck and finds it very difficult to move along. Alas, some food leftovers will sit in pockets of your digestive tract and start to rot. Hello gas and bloating! Drinking more water will help to flush your digestion through. And how much is more water? I hope you're sitting, because you may be shocked. It's not 8 glasses of whatever you think. It is around 4 liters/135 oz of water, not coffee or other drinks. Yes, you can have herbal tea if you are suffering through a cold winter right now or you can flavor your water with some lemon, ginger or herbs if you are not a fan of plain old boring water. But your smoothie, soup, and morning coffee (or caffeinated tea) do not count.
2. Return to a balanced plate
The balanced plate is featured in all my courses, one-on-one coaching, and everywhere I give tips around nutrition. It is a balance of our macronutrients fat, carbs, and protein, plus water from fruits and veggies to make sure our metabolism is functioning properly, our digestion is firing, our hormones are humming, and we are feeling energetic and ready to take on 2019. Cutting out one of our macronutrients is a popular way in any kind of diet you come across to experience quick weight loss. And if you have ever been on a diet, you know that this doesn't work long term because your body suddenly craves every doughnut under the sun after cutting out carbs for a week. That is because our body is smart. It thinks you are starving, at war with your neighboring country, and in a deep year long famine. It needs the carbs, and it needs them in any way it can get them NOW. Instead of cutting out a macronutrient only to have intense cravings and yoyo endlessly with yout weight, eating a balanced plate will ensure that your body is happy and you feel so much better in your body. What is the balanced plate? Fill half of your plate with veggies and fruit, a quarter with protein, a quarter with carbs, and add fat to the meal as you cook it. I go into a lot more detail of all of this in the 4 week Health Kickstarter program if you want to learn more.
3. Eat during the day, stop eating at night
While I am not a fan of intermittent fasting for everyone, I do think we can all benefit from a yin-and-yang approach (or a day-and-night-approach) to eating. Eat in a 12 hour window while the sun is up. When the sun goes down (around that time, I know in the winter that might be quite early), stop eating. Those late night munchies after you've put the kids to bed are like a rock sitting in your digestive system. Your body wants to use the time at night to heal itself from little bruises and injuries you've encountered throughout the day (whether that is you actually bumping into the corner of the table or a rancid fat bombarding your heart artery). If you eat late in the evening before you got to bed, your digestion has to work extra hard instead of being able to rest and recover. Often just finishing eating a little earlier will make us feel so much better the next morning. Which brings us to our next point...
4. Get more sleep
Sleep is crucial for our digestion, even though you may think it is the actual food you eat. At night our body repairs itself, and when we don't get enough sleep (around 8-9 hours) our digestion never gets a holiday, working extra hard, getting tired and sluggish. Just like you need a break from your work and kids once in a while, your digestion also needs a break. The best thing we can do is get pletny of sleep to give our digstion the well deserved break, and wake up fresh and ready to take on the next day without looking 5 months pregnant - unless of course you are currently pregnant, then congratulations! :-)
I hope this helps you feel better in your own body again. And if you need more help or have any questions at all, please send me a love note anytime.
Lots of love,