An MD’s Guide to Resetting Your Body After the Holidays
We are all familiar with New Year’s Resolutions. Studies show that about half of all New Year’s resolutions are failures. Yes, that may seem uninspiring, but there are reasons why this occurs — and you can prevent it. Mainly, this transpires because people set unrealistic goals. While it’s exciting to create lofty goals to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, or make more money, we often try to jump over a river instead of wading in it and taking baby steps. Instead, to help my patients really achieve their goals, I have come up with the FAR technique. This is the opposite of NEAR, which means Never Establish Absurd Resolutions. (You’ve got to have humor in life.) So, let’s talk more about FAR (Flexibility, Accountability, Reliability).
- Flexibility. Don’t be so rigid in your goals. After all, we are only human. Allow yourself some room to indulge, but also understand that getting back on track is crucial to achieving your objective.
- Accountability. Take ownership of your results, whether they’re good or bad. You must claim success and failure equally: no one ever succeeded in life before being let down.
- Reliability. Embrace the fact that once you make a commitment to yourself, you have an obligation to make positive changes in your life.
My advice as a physician is to not go into it blindly, expecting things to miraculously fall into place after the holidays. Instead, make a plan regarding how you’ll attack your health resolutions. Here’s a simple, easy way to set up a plan for yourself: break your resolution down into smaller goals. Then plan on working on one per month — a prolonged routine is necessary to turn habits into discipline.
Looking for a resolution that’ll make you feel way better? Consider one of these, and I guarantee that you’ll feel rejuvenated and revitalized after the holiday mayhem.
1. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
What do I mean by this? The most uncomplicated version is that you’ll feel better if you just eat. more. plants. Scientific studies have shown that following a more plant-based diet not only helps to cleanse the body, but it also promotes weight loss, brain clarity, increase in energy, and optimal gut health. And as you may know, your gut health is key to solid mental and physical health.
2. Stay hydrated
Limit consumption of coffee, soda, energy drinks, and sugary drinks like processed juices. Start your day off with warm lemon water followed by a fresh juice, then a plant-based smoothie. All these create an alkaline environment which promotes healing and recovery. This is, in fact, my daily routine, and I can tell you that it is also the key to anti-aging.
3. Get some type of daily activity
You do not need to join a gym or run a marathon, but studies have shown that just 15 minutes of an activity that can raise your heart rate is beneficial to both your mental and physical health, not to mention a great way to lose weight.
4. Establish consistent sleep-wake times
Having erratic sleep schedules will disturb our innate circadian rhythm and place undue stress on the body, which leads to inflammation, which in turn sets off a cascade of health issues such as hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, depression, and more.
5. Learn how to effectively manage daily stress
Don’t let it build up to the point where it comes to a head. Diffuse stress daily by taking at least 30 minutes of your day to do something you enjoy. Reconnect with old hobbies. Listen to music. Find an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s gardening, reading, or dancing that can help nurture your healing processes.
These are sturdy pillars to overall wellness and the best ways to reset your mind-body-spirit after the holidays. The sooner you choose a goal to work on, the sooner you can start visualizing it — which will help you achieve it. Happy holidays and cheers to 2022.
Deepa Verma, MD, AIHM, is a double board certified MD specializing in integrative and anti-aging medicine, and the founder of Synergistiq Wellness. You can follow her on Instagram @drdeepavermamd and @synergistiqwellness.
Good food brings people together. So do good emails.