Thanksgiving is officially two weeks away. Before the stress of the holidays hit, give yourself an assignment, a task or a goal to do each and every day for the next two weeks. It can be anything as long as it will result in something better for your body. What you do over the next two weeks could very well carry over into the five weeks of eating, drinking, celebrating and slacking on workouts. Here are a few suggestions to help you get going:
1) Cut out refined sugar: I don't mean cut back. I mean cut it out for 14 days. The average American consumes over 3.2 pounds a sugar a week (or 170 pounds a year). Cookies, juice, candy, foo-foo coffee drinks, sugary cereals, jam - everything. Stop for two weeks. Two weeks of no refined sugar will reset your system. Yep, you'll probably indulge a little a Thanksgiving (as you should), but chances are, you won't eat as much.
2) Ten extra minutes: Find the time to do an extra ten minutes of cardiovascular activity. Ten minutes of moderate-paced cardio can burn anywhere from 50 to 150+ calories, depending on your size. If it's a rest day for you, make the commitment to doing something. Go for a walk, set the treadmill on an incline and hike it up, use the stairs at the office instead of the elevator everyday. Even if you don't care about calories, your giving your heart the extra squeeze it needs before the stress of the holidays hit.
3) Ten deep breaths: Relaxation techniques go a loooooooong way for the stressed out person who is putting weight on through their midsection. Ten deep breaths, in and out, should take at the very least two minutes. Consciously giving your body a chance to relax turns on the parasympathetic nervous system, the "rest and digest" side. While you may not lose inches from your waistline, you'll help level out stress, which in turn helps to regulate cortisol and every other stress hormone in your body.
4) Get hot: If you have access to a steam room or sauna, now's your chance to take ten and warm up before heading back out into the cool November weather. If you don't have a steam room or sauna, relax in a bath. Heat therapy regulates blood pressure, relaxes muscles and decreases aches and pains. Some studies even show that as little as 15 minutes of heat therapy (study done in steam rooms) reduces body fat. How? Again, the "rest and digest" part of our nervous system is turned on, which helps to balance the hormones that promote fat storage. TIP: combine point 3 with point 4 and you're golden!
5) Squeeze it: Take the time to focus on two very important muscles can always be stronger: 1) TVA or Transverse Abdominals: located deep inside your abs in between your pelvic bones. Both men and women are notoriously weak in this area, particularly post-partum women. Have muscular low back pain, it could very well be a weak TVA. Concentrate on pulling your belly button to your spine, standing or sitting straight and holding it in. 2) Your tush: if the glutes get weak, everything starts getting out of whack, including other muscles and very important joints, like your knees. Move it or lose it has never been more true.