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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Busy Mom Holiday Survival Tips

The holidays are in full force and what mom isn't completely overwhelmed and feeling out of control.  Even someone like me who tends to be well organized and have a handle on my to do list is feeling a little crazy!  There are just not enough hours in the day and its just hard to have will power when we are to busy to even think straight.

What ends up happening?  We put off our meal planning, we skip the grocery store to Christmas shop, we sleep in and miss our workout because we were up late the night before at a Christmas party and we drink to much!  So it's like a double whamy, bad food, bad choices and the consequences are low energy, decreasing self confidence which leads to hopelessness and then more bad choices! 

I've seen this cycle so many times and I'm hoping that today I can empower you to STOP yourself dead in your tracks and finish out the year strong!  Don't wait for the New Year to start.  Start now!  Think about how much progress you can make in 2 weeks?  No kidding, I have challengers that lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks.  Now that might not be you per se but you can at least make some healthier choices to curb the weight gain. 
  1. SLEEP! This is one of the hardest things for a mother to acquire. Not only are we running around not knowing which direction to go first but we are often times dealing with activities, shorter days, sick children and more demands which makes everything a bit tough. Add children and we all know that lack of sleep really takes its toll on our mental and physical being. Schedule your sleep just as you schedule things for your children. Make it a habit to not allow the craziness of the holidays take over and really focus on your own needs as well as everyone else’s.
  2. Proper Nutrition! We all hear this so often but it is so true, especially during the Holidays. When you eat food that is not nutrient dense and full of the vitamins and minerals needed for optimum performance you cannot deal with many other things. What we eat affects mood, sleep, activity levels and our body image. If you eat great and really make an effort to give the body what it needs, you won’t crave things that make you feel worse or make you crash. You won’t see yourself as someone you don’t know anymore. You will feel great even if you feel like you are not where you want your body to be.  Eat well and you will have the energy and mental clarity to hit January ready to go!
  3. Time alone! We all know that with children there are those days where you want to go hide in a closet or change your name. Time alone or a night out with your spouse is crucial for having that much needed downtime to recharge, reflect and take time for you. Sure we need to be there for our children but we are better parents when we take at least one day a week and spend that without any distractions. Even if you go sit in peace at the local coffee shop, go enjoy doing nothing.
  4. Friends! Oh how so many of us can relate to this one. We become mothers and life takes over. Many of us are doing all we can to just be that mother we envisioned when we dreamed about having children and a family.  Very often friends get left behind and having that bond is so important, especially when you feel like you are giving of yourself all day with nothing in return. Even if your friends are “virtual” friends, make time to support each other and share things going on in your life. It really helps keep everything in perspective and allows you to realize that you are not alone in a world that seems very alone, sometimes as a parent.
  5. I think you all know what is next! EXERCISE! Wow is this one tough to achieve when this time of year hits. Not only do you need to make time for all I mentioned above, now you have to find time to get those endorphins going and make time for you. There is no better feeling than feeling like you have control and have a way to release stress. It’s not easy to hit the gym or workout for an hour each day but with shorter days and more time indoors it  is so important to get out and breathe in some fresh air and at least get your heart rate up (with exercise) ;) to really allow your body to release the stress. If you can get to the gym, great but if not at least get out and go for a walk. Something is better than nothing!
 
 Here are some more tips to get you through!

Traveling:  Pack healthy snacks such as home made granola, oatmeal, Shakeology, clean protein bars, water and more to get you through your holiday travels.  If you are in the car pack hummus, veggies, fruit like apples and clementines because they are portable and travel well!  Relying on the rest stops for healthy snacks is like a death sentence.  So make sure you are prepared!

Parties:  Pre-eat before holiday parties!  Have a full on meal if you know that there will not be healthy choices or you can offer to bring a dish.  Bring something that you can eat a lot of!  Like veggies and hummus!  Make social gatherings about hanging out with friends instead of the food.  Grab a small plate of food and find a corner or couch where you can sit and talk.  The key is to stay away from the buffet table so you aren't mindlessly munching.

Alcohol:  Yes, who doesn't indulge in a glass of wine or cocktail at parties!  It's even harder because you have more holiday parties, dinners and events! So your once a week drink has now turned into 4 nights a week.  Drinking can absolutely undo every ounce of progress in the gym.  Hidden calories will cause you to be in the red zone!  So choose drinks like vodka soda with a splash of lime to keep the calories in  check.  Stay away from mixed drinks and wine!  If you are going to have a few drinks then make it a rule that you will have 1 full glass of water for every drink you have.  At least you will stay hydrated!

Sweet Treats:  It's ok to have a holiday treat! It's not ok to eat every holiday treat 5 days a week because it's the holidays and you will work it off in January.  Instead, when you go to a party survey the buffet table.  Decide what is the food that you WANT to splurge on. Then fill up your plate with healthy foods and your 1 treat and you will feel satisfied and not guilty!!!

Lastly enjoy your holiday and if you do get to far off track or need a pick me up join me in my New Year New You Challenge Group Starting on January 7th, 2013.  You can check out the details here

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