Four Simple Lifestyle Changes to Improve Digestion + Lose Weight During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is typically not a time we aim to lose weight or start focusing on healthy lifestyle changes. However, you can maintain your healthy lifestyle and not fall off the wagon if you pay attention and implement a few specific ground rules for yourself. Let's break down some healthy habits that can improve your metabolism, digestion and overall help your mind and body to better process and utilize the nourishment you feed it each day, even during "that time of year."

First, consider more meals that you can make homemade or prepare in advance from your own kitchen. Cooking with whole ingredients, incorporating other family members and knowing exactly what ingredients are going into your meals can make a huge difference in the energy of your food and how your body takes it in. Plan a few extra lunches and meals on the weekend so you are prepared for your busy weekdays in advance.

Next, be more mindful of what is going in your mouth (and out of it for that matter, haha). Pay attention to what you are eating and how you feel about. Sit outside, have conversation with others, or simply step away from your computer, car or desk while taking the time to be grateful for your meal and focus on what you are eating. The taste, smell, texture...are you even enjoying it? Are you rushing, are you stressed? See where the moment takes you rather than being taken away by the day. This will allow you to know when you are full, how the food feels to you (are you bloated, tired, or uncomfortable when eating certain foods?) while you're eating and afterwards. This is especially important if you tend to eat while watching tv or working at your desk. You are probably eating a lot more when you aren't paying attention to what you are eating.

As you plan your meals for the day, think of a bell curve (maybe a lopsided one). Make your breakfast "medium," your lunch the largest meal of the day, and your dinner small, and vegetable based. Here me out on this...if each meal sustains you until the next, you will not need to snack like so many of us think we must do to "keep up our metabolism." Your blood sugar will thank you if you are eating meals that incorporate healthy fats, proteins, lots of vegetables and complex, whole grains. Aiming for 3-4 substantial meals will result in a healthier weight than snacking all day.

Then, close your kitchen after 6pm! (Or whenever you clean up your dinner). Laying on the couch with a bowl of ice cream or other snacky foods is not going to get you closer to your goals. If you have moved your body, hydrated, and ate nourishing, complete meals throughout your day, you won't feel the need to eat later on at night. Make the post-dinner hours all about resting and winding down. Go for a light walk after you eat and skip the habit of nightly snacking.

And finally, get more sleep. Some people will share with me at this point, "Well, I stay up until 12 or 1 at night and I get hungry." Well, don't do that! Our bodies thrive when we are well rested and so do our metabolisms. Gradually, start your bedtime routine a bit earlier each night so that you can consistently achieve 7-8 hours of sleep. Our circadian rhythm naturally wires our bodies to wind down and get prepared for rest after the sun sets and wakes us up with the sun. If you go to bed a few hours after your last meal, you'll have no need to snack or eat more late at night.

There are a lot of daily habits we can incorporate without going to extremes or without deprivation. If you are interested in really identifying your health and wellness goals and are ready to stop "thinking about them, again" then let's set up a time to talk today.