10 Easy Ways To Feel Healthier During The Holidays

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Y’all, Thanksgiving straight destroyed any inkling of healthy eating I’d been maintaining beforehand. Luckily, I somehow found the motivation to get small workouts in between all the face-stuffing, but I feel like a run or elliptical workout here and there did little to amend the damage of my carb- and sweets-onslaught. I didn’t hate it, though. Not even a little bit.

My body, on the other hand, isn’t in its happiest state. During this little break between the holiday of turkey and the holiday of more turkey (or, in my case as a vegetarian, so many delicious sides and desserts), I plan on taking a few steps to cleanse my body of the goodies it’s not so used to. While I’m no doctor or nutritionist, I do know what works for my body and what makes me feel good.

If you feel so inclined to join me in a pause from the holiday indulgences to make space for a little bit of health, try one or two of my favorite ways to cleanse my body from all the pie, stuffing, and so, so much bread. Each of these can be easily incorporated into your daily exercise and nutrition routines. Happy cleansing!

Exercise Cleansers:

  1. Sprint intervals: Intervals break up treadmill runs and make them feel less like an eternity, to me. I like to do 3 minutes at 6.5 MPH followed by 2 minutes at 8 MPH, all at 0.5 incline (it’s easier on my joints to not be completely flat). Do this set four times and you’ve completed a tough, calorie-squelching 20-minute run.
  2. Planks: Squeeze your legs and butt, don’t lift it higher than your (flat) back, flex your arms and tummy, and pretend two walls are squishing the top and bottom of your body together. I usually do 3 or 4 one-minute planks, with 30- to 60-second rests in between.
  3. Squats: I took a weight-lifting class in college (I know, I know, but I promise I’m not a tool), and one thing that the instructor told us that I’ve continued to believe is that, if you’re crunched on time, always do a leg workout. Your legs have the biggest muscles in your body, so working them will burn the most calories. Squats are my favorite, and there are so many varieties you can do to mix it up. My go-tos are Sumo squats with a 20-pound kettle bell; I do three sets of 15 to 20.
  4. Long walks: These can be therapeutic as much as they’re simple calorie burners. I like to leash up Piper and head out to explore new pockets of my neighborhood or other neighborhoods around Dallas. A brisk walk for 45 to 60 minutes can burn upwards of 300 to 400 calories, depending on your weight.
  5. Yoga/stretching: A good sun-salutation sequence can get your heart pumping (say what? By doing yoga? Yes!), calm the mind (which everyone needs during the holidays), and make your joints and muscles feel delicious (because who doesn’t want that?).

Food and Drink Cleansers:

  1. Water: If you normally drink three glasses a day, drink six. If you normally drink six, drink 12. I drink a lot of water generally, but I’ve consumed more salt than normal lately, and the only thing to combat puffy eyes and tummies is more H2O.
  2. Raw vegetables: I didn’t see much of fresh anything over Thanksgiving weekend, except freshly baked pecan pie, but it’s actually incredibly simple to incorporate fresh veggies into any meal: throw some halved cherry tomatoes on your plate with toast and eggs, toss a side salad together to go with a lunchtime sandwich, or slice up some pretty radishes or cucumbers as a colorful side for dinner. The additional nutrients and fiber will make you feel more full — meaning less room for junk food — and provide a solid dose of daily vitamins and minerals.
  3. Organic Green Juice: If you’re not a fan of plain raw veggies, disguising them in a juice might be better. Look for juices made with organic fruits and vegetables and no added sugars, and make sure there’s something sweeter, like pear or green apple, to hide the taste of plain liquid vegetables.
  4. Tea: Lately, after dinner I’ve been opting for a non-caffeinated cup of tea rather than a chocolate bar. Other than the obvious lack of calories, sugar, fat, etc., drinking tea also soothes and relaxes me before bedtime, instead of getting all hopped up on sugar.
  5. Ezekiel 4:9 bread: I know it might seem weird to have a bread on a list of cleansers, but if you haven’t tried or heard of it, Ezekiel bread is heavenly. I’m the type that cannot cut carbs out of my diet if my life depended on it, and this bread has been a lifesaver. While it’s still full of carbs (it’s bread, after all), its other nutritional elements make up for it: no flour, six grains and legumes, organic, no preservatives, source of complete protein, and rampant with vitamins.

The pictured herringbone cutting board ($24.99) is from World Market and was a birthday gift from a sweet friend who somehow remembered my crazy-girl infatuation with pretty wooden cutting boards. And the couch ($349) is 9 by Novogratz.

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