Follow these tips from our editors to help you stay stress-free this season
The South Beach Diet
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holiday season brings plenty of joy, but it can also be a bit crazy-making. A
hectic holiday schedule packed with parties, family gatherings, and
last-minute shopping can easily become a recipe for stress that can also
interfere with your health and your weight loss. It's important to take
measures to keep stress to a minimum whenever possible — especially
during the holidays. Sticking with your healthy South Beach Diet eating and exercise
plan is a great start, but here are some other strategic tips to minimize stress
and maintain your holiday cheer this season.
Don't skip meals or snacks.
No matter how busy you get this holiday season, never skip
your healthy meals or snacks. Eating regularly stabilizes your blood sugar and
keeps you energized. In addition, fortifying yourself with healthy South Beach
Diet–friendly meals and protein- and fiber-rich midmorning and midafternoon
snacks will keep you from mindlessly eating as you rush about. Be sure to keep
a healthy snack, such as a South Beach Diet meal or snack bar, stashed in your
bag to nibble on in case you hit a slump during your holiday shopping trips.
When you exercise, your brain releases multiple
mood-enhancing chemicals that can help relieve the effects of stress. Aim for
at least 20 minutes of aerobic or core-strengthening exercise most days of the
week. If you don't have time to go to the gym, fit fitness in whenever you can.
Get up a half hour earlier and do an at-home exercise routine or devote part of
your lunch break to taking a power walk. Why not get a few co-workers to join
Get enough sleep.
When you're well rested, it is easier to stay in control of
your emotions and cope with stressful situations. Dr. Arthur Agatston, author
South Beach Diet Wake-Up Call, recommends that adults
get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night. He also emphasizes the importance
of quality sleep, so make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable and
conducive to a full night's rest. Eliminate any distractions, turn off the TV,
shut down your computer and smartphone, and if necessary, set a bedtime alarm
to alert you when it's time to turn in.
Practice relaxation or meditation.
Spend a dedicated amount of time
each day doing some stretching, yoga poses, deep breathing exercises, or simply
taking some time out to listen to soothing music, read a book, or take a
relaxing bath. This should help you wind down and collect your thoughts while
promoting an overall sense of well-being. A little time to yourself may be all
you need to recharge your batteries and tackle any remaining holiday
Manage your to-do list.
Chances are you can't make every
party, enjoy every holiday activity, or visit with every relative this holiday
season, so decide what your priorities will be and graciously decline everything
else. If something unexpected comes up, make time for it by eliminating another
engagement in your agenda. Avoid last-minute scrambling by streamlining your
holiday shopping. Plan ahead, create a budget, make a shopping list, and
research your purchases in advance. Shop online when possible. Prep and bake
whatever you can for holiday meals in advance. Line up some helpers for
gift-wrapping, meal contributions, party prep, and clean-up.
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