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Maintaining our healthy habits is about doing as much as we can automatically. This allows us to prioritize self-care without exerting additional effort, which leaves us more room to handle the chaos that the holidays may bring.
Here are 3 of the habits I have made a fundamental part of my day to day:
I like to exercise in the morning. When I am home, I use my elliptical machine or head to the gym. And when I am on the road, I go for a walk or do a YouTube yoga or aerobic routine. Depending on what else might be going on, such as a family brunch or a breakfast with friends, my workout could be anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. The point is to keep the habit even if there is greater flexibility on the actual execution. In other words it doesn't matter what I do for exercise as long as I do something every day.
I have worked really hard over the years to build healthy eating habits. For me this means lots and lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. The beauty of the post-holiday season is that these foods are found in abundance from butternut squash soup t yams to mashed potatoes. It is easy to maintain this habit at home and slightly more challenging to do so when traveling. To ensure my meals support my healthy eating habits there are a few approaches I take. When I can, I bring a dish to gatherings. I make this one of my favorite dishes as then I don't feel deprived and it is an opportunity to share a delicious and healthy meal with my friends and family. If I don't know what is being served and am unable to bring a dish, I eat before I go. This allows me to share in great company and even taste a few dishes without filling up on them.
Meditation and stress reduction
For me, this is still a habit in development. I am still figuring out whether I prefer to meditate in the mornings, afternoons or evenings; whether I like to be still or engage in movement; and whether I enjoy being alone or in company. One thing I do know is that I want this to become a seamless activity such that not doing it makes my day feel incomplete. As I enter the holiday season, my meditation habit will be to find five minutes in the day to quiet my body, mind, and spirit.
Dr. Alona Pulde is a board-certified practitioner of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and Family Medicine Physician. She specializes in reversing disease using nutrition and lifestyle medicine. She helped create and led the lifestyle-improvement program used in the private medical center she cofounded, Transition To Health, and continues to lead for the Whole Foods Market Medical & Wellness Centers. She was featured in the film Forks Over Knives and co-authored the New York Times Bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan, Forks Over Knives Family, and Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole. Most recently she has co-authored The Whole Foods Diet and helped develop and currently directs www.WholeFoodsDiet.com. Dr. Pulde serves as the Vice President of Medical Operations for Whole Foods Market overseeing the Whole Foods Market Medical and Wellness Centers, the Whole Foods Market Lifestyle Improvement Program, and the Whole Foods Market Total Health Immersion Program along with other health and wellness projects.