The holidays are officially here! Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is an obstacle course of parties, stress, sugar, alcohol, family, poor food decisions, and near-constant travel. This perfect storm wreaks havoc on our hormones and causes us to end up with more severe PMS, lowered fertility, and worsened moods, not to mention more consistent breakouts and weight gain.
In this blog post, I’m discussing my favorite, tried and true holiday hacks to keep your hormones humming along happily through January. From getting plenty of sleep to eating plenty of protein, each of these lifestyle hacks are easy to implement into your daily life and will set you up for a perfectly healthy 2018.
So let’s jump right into it! Here are the tips that you need to know.
While you might be having a lot of fun at a late-night holiday party, remember that lack of sleep is a prime cause for weight gain, hormonal chaos and mood changes. Sleep is when our bodies and brains are rejuvenating, resting and repairing themselves. Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night in order to allow our bodies to completely recharge, and that’s with very few exceptions.
In fact, those adults that think they should be getting less hours of sleep a night are actually just used to operating on chronic sleep deprivation. So they’re essentially just used to being tired on a regular basis!
But what’s almost as important as getting the right amount of sleep is remembering that your choices throughout the day actually impact your quality of sleep, as well. Drinking alcohol before bed, for example, actually limits your amount of deep sleep (otherwise known as REM sleep) that you get during the night. Eating sugar right before bed disrupts blood sugar and can trigger a cortisol spike in the middle of the night when your blood sugar is dropping after the sugar big spike. With this in mind, I specifically recommend watching what you drink and eat close to your bedtime so that you get deep, restorative sleep and feel fully rested for the next day.
With all of the craziness of the holidays, sometimes it can be very difficult to eat nutritious, whole foods that keep us feeling satisfied and on a healthy track. While passed hors d’oeuvres and slices of cake can be tempting and delicious, there is one food-specific rule that I try to stick to throughout the holiday season to ward off unnecessary cravings and weight gain. I make sure that to choose high quality, clean protein and a healthy fat at every meal.
This stable combination balances your blood sugar, which contributes to consistent energy levels, steady focus, stable moods, and limits your cravings.
Remember that your hormones are entirely controlled by how you eat, and you can heal hormonal chaos naturally by eating the right foods. To make sure that you’re on the right track, I highly recommend checking out my Heal Hormonal Chaos ebook where I give you specific food recommendation (and much more) for the six most common hormone conditions plaguing women today.
Especially in cold winter months, it can be incredibly difficult to get enough vitamin D on a regular basis. This is because, unfortunately, you can’t get the recommended amount of vitamin D through your food choices alone. We also need to manufacture this essential vitamin on our skin by exposing your bare skin to sunlight. Which can be a bit difficult in the cold winter months if you live in a place with large, seasonal weather changes and limited sun exposure. And the fact that we aren’t able to manufacture vitamin D in our skin cells during certain months of the year because the sun has to be in specific angles to the Earth for vitamin D production to be possible. Because this nutrient is so important to your hormone and overall health that I definitely recommend adding a supplement to your daily regime. This is the one I recommend : Vitamin D Supreme.
Vitamin D plays a substantial role in the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood. These are two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones. Additionally, vitamin D helps to fight disease, reduce depression, and boost weight loss. But the list goes on! This complex vitamin also supports a healthy immune system, brain, and nervous system, as well as supports lung function and cardiovascular health.
Needless to say, vitamin D will help you to thrive through the holidays, feeling ready to roll!
Depending on where you live, the winter season can feel incredibly dry. The dry air sucks moisture out of our skin and internal systems, leaving everything dry. .
The benefits of drinking plenty of water can’t be overstated. Water increases our energy and reduces fatigue, promotes weight loss, flushes out toxins, and boosts the immune system. Our bodies are over 70% water so it makes sense why it’s important not to skimp here.
Consistently, our body is losing water through breathing, sweating, and digestive processes, but alcohol exaggerates the rate in which we lose water. While the effects of alcohol do vary by person, within everyone, alcohol decreases the body’s production of our antidiuretic hormone. This hormone is used by our bodies to reabsorb water. So while the body is processing the alcohol we drink, we are not absorbing and retaining water as efficiently as normal.
If you are drinking alcohol, I highly suggest to drink at least 1 glass of water alongside each alcoholic beverage to prevent dehydration. I recommend having a glass of water before you start drinking alcohol and continue to alternate alcoholic beverages with water throughout the evening. Drinking a glass of water before you go to bed is also a good idea, but it’s not a replacement for good hydration habits throughout the day and while drinking alcohol.,
Yes, you might be expecting a lot of food at the party and so you think it’s best to starve yourself all day so you can indulge in all the treats, but you’ll naturally eat EVEN more if you go into the party hungry in the first place. Most party hors d’oeuvres are packed with unhealthy fats, too many refined carbohydrates, and are just generally slim on nutritional content.
Rather than depriving yourself of food all day, eat a small, nutritious snack prior to leaving for your holiday soiree to prevent yourself from binging on the cheese and cookies once you get there. It’s a simple trick that will make sure that you stay nourished and not totally derailed through all the festivities.
Even if the weather’s getting cold in your neck-of-the-woods, aim to get outside in the fresh air everyday. This will do wonders for your general alertness, mood, happiness and immune system.
While enjoying the outdoors is refreshing for your mental psyche, thanks primarily to the boost in serotonin that you get from being outside, fresh air also improves your digestive system, improves your blood pressure and heart rate, strengthens your immune system, cleans your lungs, and gives you more energy and a sharper mind. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a boost of vitamin D as well!
I’m a big proponent of getting outside to take a winter hike whenever possible, or at least getting out for a short morning walk to allow your body some time to calm, restore, and ready itself for the day ahead. However you decide to get outside, fresh air and nature is certain to be a benefit!
While the holidays are typically wonderful for social time, which can be great for building our sense of community and helping us feel surrounded in love, too much social time can be overwhelming and exhausting to the nervous system. Solitude can allow our brains some much-needed time to reboot and recharge, while also improving our concentration and increasing our productivity.
Even if it’s difficult to to find some solo time during the constant stream of activity happening over the holidays, take a minute to step away and allow yourself a few minutes of alone time to gather your energy back in. I like to focus on taking a short walk in the mornings, or I make time to meditate for ten minutes mid-day so that I can recuperate and my system can regenerate. I find that even this small amount of time allows my thoughts to settle and helps me to be fully present with my friends and family when the activities fully ramp up across the season.
What are your favorite tips to keep your hormones in tact over the holidays?
What other questions do you have about staying healthy over the holiday season?
Do you have any other tips that work for you during the holiday season to keep you sane and healthy?
Spread some holiday hormone lovin’! Sharing is caring, and I bet you have some friends who would love to read this too :).
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