Happy Healthy YOU

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Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU

(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)

While I do love to splurge over the holiday season, I try not to push the envelope too far. That place where it is no longer within the containment of our own means, where we fall off the edge into the valley of suffering... it is a place I try to be mindful to avoid.

So what is the difference between splurging and the over-excess of living beyond your means?

As I examine the various areas of the holiday season I have simplified where most of us fall into overindulgence categories.

The obvious green machine has to be stated. A large number of people have a credit card Christmas hangover come January. They haven’t saved for the holidays and the ease of swiping a credit card have concluded with a large debt. The problem being that unless you have the money coming to pay that large charge, you will be paying minimum payments well into the next year, resentfully leaving you feeling like you are always behind.

What if we bought gifts from the heart, with meaning, ingenuity and thoughtfulness that were given with the dexterity to avoid debt? Never mind keeping up with the Joneses. Give with gratitude to those you love in a way that keeps you and your financial status happy and healthy.

Time is not on our side during this month. The social calendar builds and fills and books fast. Work, friends, family, extended family and more, host gatherings. This can be really fun and wonderful unless you are going and sitting in the corner resenting that you are at another loud function socializing when you really want (and need) rest and quiet time.

Prioritize your holiday social calendar to the events and gatherings that are more meaningful and important to you. If you can’t get out of a function that you don’t really want to go to, then only stay for appearance visit. And if you need some downtown to recharge, be sure to plan that in too. You’re no good to your family and friends if you are too stressed to have fun or too tired to engage.

My husband’s family jokes of doing “gravy shots” as this time of year to send them into their food comas. Thankfully they don’t, but this time of year brings a gluttony that stands next to none. Some studies show that the average person gains five pounds of excess weight this time of year, some even more.

So when we are heading out to a gathering that we just know will display an impressive table buffet of buttery squares, sugaring biscuits and rich high calorie appetizers, what can we do?

1. Pre-Eat: To avoid being the holiday table troll constantly grazing trying to fill the gap, don’t go hungry. Eat before you go. Something healthy, filling and nutrient dense like oatmeal with berries, sweet potatoes or fruit protein smoothie.

2. H2O: Often hunger is mistaken for thirst. Being well hydrated will assist to curb the phantom appetite. Or have a bowl of vegetable soup before you go out to eat – foods with a high water content help to stave off hunger too.

3. Good Fat: Try to eat something with a decent fat content before going out, like avocado, salmon, and cheese. Fats increase satiety and also slow down gastric emptying, so they keep you less vulnerable.

4. Vegetables: Most parties have a veggie tray, so allow yourself to try those sinfully tasting treats but fill at least half your plate with vegetables. They are delicious crunchy and provide high nutrients as you indulge a little.

5. Healthy Diet: The days in between the parties and gatherings should be filled with day to day healthy eating that fuels the body.

Consumption of alcohol can be another source of over-indulgent regret. From the high calorie, high fat eggnog drinks to the sugary festive ones, those that drink often drink more. This can affect our liver health as well as our activity level the next morning.

Try drinking water in between alcoholic beverages. This will assist to keep you well hydrated (as alcohol can be dehydrating) as well it will give your kidneys a bit of much needed support, as they are tasked with constantly flushing the increase in waste and toxins accumulated from festive fete.

Other holistic remedies for the indulgence of holiday spirits include making sure your Vitamin B levels are kept topped up. If the alcohol cup runneth over, then it is very likely that you will be depleting your B vitamin levels rapidly. This can leave you feeling washed out, tired and sluggish in no time. Foods like brown rice, oats, and green vegetables are all rich sources. You can, of course, opt to take a Vitamin B supplement.

The Christmas period can be a scrooge to our digestive health. The alcohol, the chocolate, the rich food in over-indulgence coupled with the lack of exercise will leave your gastro-intestinal tract feeling only deserving of a lump of coal. Some say that increasing the probiotic supplements that contain the good bacteria that lives in our digestive tract can help to align us effectively. Probiotics such as a good high strength acidophilus complex are great allies when tackling issues like bloating and constipation, especially from over indulgence. As well, powerful herbs, such as Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle), support the liver and promote balance and equilibrium in the body during times of excess.

Whether it's money, time, food or drink we must consider that maybe more isn’t better? When more becomes living outside of our means and the overindulgence leaves us financial, physically or emotionally diminished, we may want to consider living more mindfully, making choices that leave our holidays happier and healthier in all areas.

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