It’s already time for Thanksgiving. Say what?! Everyone says, “It goes so fast.” I am here to tell you that it does indeed. So hang on. Embrace the journey. Live in each moment for we never know when the Lord will call us home.
Since May (my last blog entry – yikes!) baby girl has gained two teeth, is crawling and pulling herself up on everything and has tried pears, bananas, applesauce, black olives, pickles, pumpkin, acorn squash, beets, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots and parsnips. And her favorites? Pickles. Yes, my almost-nine-month-old loves pickles. Go figure!
Also since my last blog, I’ve run my first post-preggo race. And dare I say it felt amazing! I came in only 2 minutes slower than my PR and placed as the 10th overall woman and 2nd in my age group. But the race only had 300 people total. Small. Very small. Yet for fear of sounding arrogant and prideful and everything I hate, I will admit I was pretty darn pleased with myself. The best part was seeing my brother, husband, dad, baby girl and good friends at the finish line. Nothing beets great supporters! Ok, well, maybe free donuts and hugs on a rainy day – but really?
Ok, that’s me. What about YOU? How are you holding up in this holiday season? If you live in the PNW, you’ve officially entered the why-do-I-live-in-a-black-rainy-dungeon time of the year. Winter. Yuck. The reason NONE of us moved here, but begrudgingly endure each year. But granted, we don’t have snow and it rarely gets below 40, so let’s count our blessings. But seriously, how are you doing? Staying active? Eating well? During this time of year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can be hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle. I mean really, who can say no to seconds when it comes to stuffing and pumpkin pie? And peppermint schnapps hot chocolate next to molasses cookies and caramel corn? I give up – fill my cup and plate, good sir!!
But how do we find BALANCE?! How can we have our cake and eat it too…and not watch it giggle on our thighs?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Here are a few (hopefully practical) tips from a RD, runner, lover-of-all-things-sweet, nursing mama:
- Give yourself a BREAK! The good Lord created human beings with taste buds. And not just one, but four! We can taste salty, sweet, bitter and sour. To that end, our food is meant to be enjoyed with pleasure and thanksgiving. Food is a gift, a way to celebrate and a way to care for others. So please, especially during the holiday season, give yourself a break! Don’t count each calorie, don’t beat yourself up for eating an extra bowl of ice cream, and don’t feel guilty for a extra serving of ham. But rather enjoy it. Thank the Lord for providing it. And relish in the fact that it tastes good!
- Move when you can. With the darkness and the cold and rain, it can be hard to want to exercise. But remember, even a 30-minute sweat sesh can flood your brain with happy hormones, helping you to feel like you did in the summer time (happy, full of life!). Try new activities like snowshoeing or a home workout video or even running the stairs at a local high school stadium. I have found that working out on a Monday can help set the tone for the rest of the week. Why not give that a try.
- Eat more fat. I know, I know, this is 100% contrary to what Dietitians have said for the last 30 years. But new science is showing us that full-fat foods might be the way to go. Fat helps to keep you full longer and breaks down more slowly in your body, thus keeping your blood sugar more level. Full-fat foods also tend to contain less added sugar compared to their fat-free counterparts. So don’t feel guilty about reaching for the bacon wrapped date or the full-fat vanilla ice cream. Chances are high that the higher fat food will cause you to eat less and actually consume less calories and sugar in the long run.
- Sleep. This can be tough, but make sure you aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. When you become chronically sleep deprived, the hormones which regulate your hunger and fullness get out of whack. Basically, they get flip-flopped. So your body thinks that it’s hungry and not full all the time. And typically, in this state of mind, you crave something high in sugar and simple carbs because your body is saying, “I need to get my blood sugar up, STAT, so I can wake up!” Not a recipe for success. So do as the grizzly bear does and find some time to hibernate this season.
- Drink up. Water, that is. Often times we mistake our thirst for hunger. It can be extra difficult to stay hydrated when it’s not hot out. But how do you know if you’re getting enough fluids? Check yo pee, folks! If it flows light yellow or clear, you’re good to go! If it’s dark yellow or golden, grab your water bottle, tea mug and eat more fruits and veggies which contain a bunch of extra water (and fiber!).
Ok, that’s all for this week. Hope to see you back here real soon. Until then (in the words of my husband), “Let your hair down,” and enjoy some delicious food, fellowship with friends and family and some rejuvenating exercise time to yourself to reflect on your blessings.