The Surprising Secret to Creating Healthy Habits By Thanksgiving
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. May the spirit of Thanksgiving fill your life with happiness, health, and a mindset full of prosperity.
I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday!!
Thanksgiving has a unique place in my heart because we all get together as a family an offer thanks. Since my oldest son got married to his beautiful wife five years ago, they have been hosting Thanksgiving dinner at their house.
We gather together around a smoked turkey that my son smokes in his backyard and some years he deep fries the turkey. Every one of us brings a dish, and we sit together an eat and have a wonderful time.
I am sure it sounds familiar to many of you because that holidays are about family, gatherings, travel and food, lots of it.
I struggle every holiday with trying to enjoy the festivities and the great food without putting on much weight. Because comes January First, and I am not about the start dieting to lose the pounds I gained during the holidays.
So, I researched a way to enjoy the great food and especially desserts, without pilling on the pounds. Bing eating during the holidays is the worst thing you can do to your body and not to mention your health.
In my younger years, when my children were young, I used to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house, and I used to cook the turkey and all the dishes that go along with it. I had a house full of family and friends every year. I don’t recall struggling with weight gain as much as I do now in my fifties. I know many of you ladies remember how it was when we were younger with lots of energy to cook and enjoy ourselves without running out of stamina. And I am pretty confident that was the reason I didn’t put on as much weight during the holidays.
Nowadays, enjoying the holidays at my grown children homes is a great blessing as well as a great pleasure because I can appreciate the time without running out of fuel and become weary.
This year’s challenge is to learn new habits to help me with my weight loss goals and overall well-being permanently. The question is: what are the safest ways to improve my health, lose weight and feel better over the next few weeks?
I decided to start with three healthy habits. These habits are nothing too dramatic but will make a difference. I’ve noticed some of the behaviors have drifted away from the eat well, exercise and get more rest attitude. However, the month of November can be the opportune time for me to get back on track before Christmas.
I’ve learned throughout the years that no magic wand will help me shed the extra pounds permanently. While I was growing up, I have tried all sort of diets, low fat, low carbs, counting calories, Dr. Atkin’s Diet, Paleo diet, Phen-Phen diet, eggs and grapefruit diet, and cabbage soup diet, to name a few. While all of them worked to a certain extent, I had to get back to my everyday eating and consume regular portions. All the diets mentioned above were by no means geared towards long-term lifestyle.
A habit, by definition is to do something often and regularly without realizing you are doing it.
So, I have decided to make healthier habits part of my routine without worrying too much about perfection. The “all or nothing approach” causes me to struggle with my food choices and time of meals.I am going to focus on three habits this month.
The First Habit is to Get a Full Night Sleep Every Night.
Ideally, the body needs eight hours of sleep each night to generate new cells and increase brain power and memory. I understand it is tough to commit to these many hours of sleep considering the busy schedule and the numerous commitments that have to come before rest. I heard many say sleep is overrated. On the contrary, getting enough sleep should be the first item on the list to a better health and weight loss. It is all about prioritizing sleep over anything else.
According to Matthew Walker, a Neuroscience and Psychology Professor at UCBerkeley and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, he said in his book that Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It calibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Waking up by the alarm clock every morning makes you feel deprived of sleep as do two-thirds of adults in developed nations who fail to get the advised eight hours’ sleep. Sleep matters for our health.
The Second Habit is Considering my Food Consumption – When and How much.
Eating is a pleasure all of us enjoy. Restaurants and coffee shops are where we conduct business, study, meet our loved ones, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Our life revolves around food. And to be frank with you all, I enjoy the food.
Then, what am I supposed to do to enjoy myself while maintaining a healthy weight?
I discovered three years ago a lifestyle that I believe works well for me most of the time. My lead who wasn’t really overweight introduced me to alternate fasting program. He went on the program for a couple of months and lost 20 pounds and felt much better. He was able to keep the weight following the same program for as long as I’ve known him.
The program he followed was eating one day about 500 calories in the span of six to eight hours and then eat whatever you want the next day and continue with this system one day on and one day off. Initially, he cut out sugars and some carbohydrates to help him maintain a healthy blood sugar level. The idea was to fast around 12-14 hours on the low calories day to help the body burn calories and in turn lose weight.
I tried the program when my lead introduced to me and found myself with much fewer cravings and feeling more energetic. I was impressed with the results, granted, the first couple of days were tough to get used to the long fasting hours and the few calories, but I managed to survive.
The Third One is Related to Physical Activity.
I am planning on devoting two-15 minutes segments each day to get up and do something that requires me to move. Not too strenuous, but something that will increase my stamina and endurance. I will begin by walking 15 minutes twice a day. It will be an excellent opportunity to go out and walk around the indoor mall where I can do my Christmas shopping or have lunch with my friends.
I will also do that with my grandchildren when I go visit with them. I will take them out for a walk around the block or to the park, weather permitting of course. I believe you can think of some physical activity that will get you off your chair or out of your cubical to breathe the fresh air and raise your heart rate. I also have an old elliptical machine that I can utilize at home if the weather doesn’t cooperate for outdoor activity.
Exercise is the one thing that has helped me lose weight for my sons’ weddings. I used to exercise daily using a treadmill after work for over an hour. I felt great, and I looked great. I am going to work on setting my mind up to prioritize physical activities because physical activities make me stronger. I will not put off exercise any longer.