The months after the holidays are a great time to reexamine personal wellness. From nutrition to exercise to stress management, everything is fair game when formalizing our annual New Year' resolutions. Come January, however, many people hit the gym 110% and set unreasonable "cold turkey" diet goals, only to burn out and be back to old habits by Valentine' Day. Instead, we often are better off with a sensible post-holiday reset that can be sustained and built upon as the year progresses. Unhealthy Holiday Habits
As we mentioned in our Holiday Health Guide
, studies published in the US National Library of Medicine
and Cornell University
suggest that people on average gain up to 1.3 pounds between October and Christmas. The studies also note that for those who do manage to lose holiday weight the following year, the process can take up to five months. Many others, meanwhile, keep the weight on and continue a downward path of gradual yearly weight gain that persists throughout adulthood. Healthy Holiday Recovery
Even if you stayed up late, skipped a couple of workouts, and asked for "seconds" a third‚Ä¶or even fourth time, it' never too soon to start back on a healthy path. But be warned, adopting an Olympic-style training plan right out of the gate may be hard to keep up. Instead, focusing on realistic and meaningful changes to the areas of stress, nutrition, activity, and finally, sleep can be a solid way to hit your goals. Here is an overview: Sensible Eating
A healthier lifestyle starts with proper nutrition. That said, nutrition can be confusing with all the various "detox" plans, fad diets, articles about how to manipulate your metabolism, etc. If you have something that works for you (and your doctor approves), by all means, go with it. If you don't have a tried-and-true plan, it' hard to go wrong simply by eating healthier foods, while reducing the unhealthy treats you've been consuming over the holidays. Strategies can include:
Work in Regular Physical Activity
- Reestablishing a taste for vegetables and naturally sweet fruits by phasing out sugary and fatty foods
- Some experts suggest seeing if you can go three days without sweets. If that works, go for seven. After a week, some say, sweets start to lose their addictive pull.
- Gradually reducing portion sizes to a reasonable level
- To start, keep the portion sizes the same, but replace unhealthy foods with healthier ones. Since the quantity of food stays the same, your body feels satisfied after a meal.
- As you reduce portion size, using smaller plates is a helpful trick for some.
- Eating plenty fresh vegetables and fruit
- Some experts suggest focusing on foods rich in antioxidants, such as kale, spinach, and cranberries.
- Drinking plenty of water
- Trying tea (sans sugar and cream) which some say can boost your metabolism
- Eating breakfast
- Weighing yourself each day.
Now that you're back home and in a routine, it' easier to incorporate exercise into your schedule. Even still, this can be challenging. For some, the gym is a focused and efficient way to stay in shape. Others do better by finding creative ways to make exercise fun and stay motivated. Ideas can include:
- Riding a bike or walking to work
- Going on lunchtime walks
- Joining classes (aerobics, yoga, HIIT, etc.) to keep yourself accountable and on schedule
- Finding a workout buddy to help keep you accountable
- Joining a basketball/racquetball/volleyball/soccer/etc. league
- Taking tennis lessons
- Enjoying cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in a cold climate
- Enjoying kayaking, running, cycling, and hiking in a warm climate
To help keep you motivated, wearables such as REM-Fit' 200 Series Sleep & Activity Tracker
record your movements. They also deliver insights into your day with intuitive tracking of "Active Life Points," plus steps, and estimated distance and calories burned. Managing Stress
In our Holiday Health Guide
, we also mentioned the American Heart Association
suggests a link between holiday stress, travel, and entertaining to an uptick in heart attacks. Now that things are settled down a bit, take some steps to reduce the stress inducers in your life. While certain sources of stress (finances, for example) are rarely easy fixes, there are lots of things you still can do. Suggestions can include:
- Taking a break from travel
- Offloading non-essential commitments you have in your schedule
- Tackling some projects that have been weighing on your mind
- Addressing problems in important relationships that you have
- Separating yourself from people who add drama and conflict to your life
As well also mentioned in our Holiday Health Guide
, sleep is vital to well being, and is something that can take a back seat during the holidays. According to the CDC
, sleep loss affects your ability to regulate blood sugar levels as well as avoid unhealthy foods. As Fortune reported
, meanwhile, insufficient sleep collectively costs the US $411 Billion in lost productivity. The article cited a study
which states that people who sleep fewer than six hours per night have a 13 percent higher mortality risk. Needless to say, if you spent too many nights out late over the holidays, quality sleep should become a priority in the new year. Tips can include:
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol before bedtime
- Finding relaxing and stress-free activities (such as reading) to help you get to sleep
- Organizing your schedule to ensure between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
- Tracking your sleep to identify outside factors (such as diet, temperature, exercise, etc.) which affect the quality of your sleep
- Creating a restful sleep environment that is comfortable, and free from allergens and other sleep inhibitors.
There is a wide variety of products on the market that can enhance your sleep. The following are proven to be effective: ZEEQ Smart Pillow
, This industry-first product not only analyzes your sleep through REM-Fit' proprietary smartphone app, it helps to stop snoring through a gentle vibration that stimulates the need to shift positions. It also streams music, sets an alarm, is smart home compatible to turn off lights and adjust the thermostat, and is breathable so that you can enjoy a cool pillow all night long. It' an all-in-one device that encompasses everything REM-Fit knows about achieving restful sleep. REM-Fit Sleep 500 12-Inch Hybrid Memory Foam and Pocket Coil Cooling Mattress
, Offers REM-Fit' entire arsenal of sleep enhancing technologies to provide the ultimate in support, moisture wicking, heat management, allergen and bacteria resistance, breathability, and more. Paired with a REM-Fit pillow, you can enjoy a previously unheard of level of rest and rejuvenation. Bouncing back from a holiday season filled with less-than-ideal choices is never easy. But if you take reasonable steps to adopt sensible eating habits, work in physical activity, eliminate stress, and leverage REM-Fit sleep technology to optimize your rest, you'll be able to recover in no time.