Archive for the tag - holidays

5 Awesome Christmas Gifts For Your Body!

tumblr_n5ldy7dAJR1qk9t29o1_500We are in the final stretch of the Christmas season – and many of us are rushing around to make last-minute purchases. But with all the hustle, long lines and endless advertisements, you may have overlooked the most important person on your list: You. More specifically, your body.

It’s easy to find fault with our bodies. But the truth is, our bodies operate tirelessly as the vehicle through which we experience life. Our bodies don’t grumble or complain, and they never get a day off. Regardless of how you feel about your body, I’m sure you’d agree that it is deserving of a holiday gift.

To that end, here are a few inexpensive and awesome ideas for your body.

  1. Body scan. Never heard of a body scan? It’s a guided meditation of sorts that enables you to check in with various parts of your body. If you’re short on time, here’s a great three minute body scan. If you’re able to commit ten minutes, try this longer body scan. Turning your attention inward (instead of outward) is a powerful practice that your body will love!
  2. Self massage. I love getting massages, but sometimes we don’t have the time or money for a professional session. Fear not! Self massages are a great, soothing gift that you can give to yourself. Use a small amount of oil or lotion, and gently massage your body while thanking it for all that it does. You can massage your arms, legs, shoulders, neck, chest, buttocks or even your scalp.
  3. A workout. With more than 600 muscles and as many as 360 joints, your body was meant to move. In fact, it craves movement – even though most of us don’t get enough physical activity. Give your body the gift of movement in the form of a workout. It doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym, buy equipment or even leave your house. In fact, I recommend trying my 12-minute at-home ab workout.

  4. Nourishing meal. When you eat delicious, nourishing food, your body feels great and energized. Carefully select healthy food options and put together a special, balanced meal for your body. It might be salmon and brown rice, a vibrant salad or chicken and vegetables. Your body will thank you for giving it the nutrients that it needs.
  5. Sleep. Yes, I saved the best for last! Sleeping is wonderful. Though most of us don’t give ourselves enough, sleep is when your body repairs and heals. It recharges your batteries so that you can be productive, energized and vibrant. Close your curtains. Put your cell phone in another room. Get rid of any distractions. And give yourself the awesome gift of eight sleeping hours.

If you don’t have time for any of the above gifts, do something small and simple. Right now, you can give your body a good stretch. Or pour yourself a tall glass of water. You can even snack on a carrot.

Whatever you do and wherever you’re at in your health and wellness journey, do something great for your body this holiday season.

P.S. If you want to give yourself the gift of my six pack program, you can download the complete Davey Wavey Six Pack series right now – and get started today!

7 Best Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips.

While salsa might not be a traditional Christmas food for many, the colors are perfect for the season!

When it comes to the holidays, it’s not just about trimming your tree. It’s about trimming unhealthy fats, sugar and salt from your favorite seasonal recipes.

To that end, try a few of my favorite tips!

  1. Cut added sugar in half. If a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, opt for half a cup. Then, add a bit more citrus, vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon and you’ll be fine.
  2. Reduce the butter. You can usually cut the butter in half, and then replace it with applesauce or bananas. I’ve even used avocados as an excellent butter substitute.
  3. Opt for reduced or lower-sodium variations of packaged foods – or, even better, go fresh!
  4. Replace unhealthy dips with salsas and guacamole – they’re already red and green! You could even pair a red tomato-based salsa with a green tomatillo-based salsa. Hummus is another healthy dip alternative. If you do prefer dips, replace sour cream with Greek yogurt.
  5. Cut added salt in half. You won’t even notice a difference – and, if you do, add herbs or seasoning. Your blood pressure will thank you!
  6. Use fresh or frozen fruits and berries instead of frosting, syrup or jam on desserts.
  7. Incorporate lots and lots of veggies. Vegetables add bulk to your meal without all the extra calories. Beyond providing plenty of nutrients, vegetables are high in fiber – thereby making you feel fuller, longer.

If you have any favorite healthy holiday cooking tips, please share them in the comments below!

Eliminate Holiday Stress with Exercise.

The holidays are officially here – and most peoples’ schedules have gone from busy to downright chaotic. It seems like any free minute is filled with shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating or attending family gatherings.

When things get especially hectic, our priorities tend to shift. And unfortunately, exercise is often one of the first commitments to go.

According to Erica Christ, RD, CDE, an exercise physiologist at Greenwich Hospital’s Weight Loss & Diabetes Center:

When a person is excitable from stress, the burst of energy that you get from exercise can help burn the adrenaline off and calm you down. Exercise allows you time to focus, and gives you a sense of mindfulness that makes the other pieces of your life fall into place.

Moreover, it’s been demonstrated that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps to elevate your mood even more effectively than antidepressant medications.

In other words, exercise makes you feel better, reduces stress and calms you down. And if there’s anything we need this holiday season, it’s just that.

So however busy your holiday schedule may become, give yourself (and the people around you!) the gift of sanity by not cutting back on your exercise commitment.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

With the holidays here and with plenty of parties to attend, many adults will find themselves with a drink or two in their hands. Or maybe three, or even more. Because the holidays tend to be rather alcohol-centric, it’s a good time to address the question, “How much alcohol is too much alcohol?”

The government has some very clear guidelines:

  • If you’re male, over 65 and healthy (or a healthy female of any age), no more than 7 drinks per week is recommended. On any given day, alcohol consumption should not exceed 3 drinks.
  • For healthy men up to age 65, a limit of 14 drinks per week is advised. Do not exceed 4 drinks per day.
  • At the discretion of a healthcare provider, lower limits or abstinence are recommended for other populations.

So what constitutes a drink? In the United States, it’s any beverage that contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. That translates to a 12 ounce beer or cooler, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. Keeping in mind that many beverages actually contain several drinks worth of alcohol, things can add up quickly.

Of course, most casual and light drinkers have little to fear. Light to moderate drinking has been associated with some health benefits – and has even been linked to longevity. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is extremely dangerous. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is a factor in about 60% of fatal burn injuries, drownings, and homicides; 50% of severe trauma injuries and sexual assaults; and 40% of fatal motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and fatal falls. Not to mention heavy drinking can lead to health problems like liver disease, heart disease, sleep disorders, depression, stroke, etc. The statistics are quite sobering.

This holiday season, it’s fine to get in the merry spirit of the festivities. But keep track of how much you drink by counting and measuring. Pace and space your drinks, and include plenty of food to help slow alcohol absorption. Explore alternatives (how about a glass of water?) and know your “no.” When you’ve reached your limit, be ready with a polite but firm “no thanks.”

Holiday Fitness Tip: Just Say “No.”

Carlos Freire: Someone to whom I'd definitely say "yes."

I’m a big fan of saying “YES!” to life. But that doesn’t mean saying “yes!” to everything that comes along with it. It’s important to be the best version of yourself – and that doesn’t happen when you’re over-committed and stretched too thin.

With the holidays around the corner, striking a balance and keeping yourself prioritized can be a real challenge. But to that end, saying “no” can be a powerful way to make everything a little easier.

Diane Petrella, a friend of mine who happens to be a spiritual weight release coach (check out the wonderful resource that is Diane’s website), recently touched on the topic in one of her newsletters:

As simplistic as this may sound, putting yourself first this holiday season, and always, ensures that you remain happy, healthy and strong.

I’m not referring to a self-righteous, entitled sense of doing for yourself at the expense of anyone else. I’m referring to valuing the importance of honoring your needs. When you adopt this attitude, you not only have the energy and happiness to fuel yourself, you’re better able to be there for others.

Saying “no” gets easier with practice – and it need not be rude or abrasive. Just politely decline any requests that don’t serve your highest good, and know that your decision is in the best interest of everyone.

The fitness and nutrition implication is a strong one. Diane writes:

When you put yourself first by learning to say “no” and setting loving boundaries on your time and responsibilities, you honor your needs. And when you honor your needs, you’re less apt to feel resentment, frustration and anger which often triggers emotional eating.

As the holiday season quickly approaches – and as our schedules get all the tighter – put the power of “no” to work for you. By doing so, you’ll have the energy and balance to navigate this holiday season with ease and grace.

5 Unhealthiest Foods of the Holidays!

The shocking-but-true nutrition information for a cup of egg nog. ::gulp::

The holidays are about jingling bells, not bellies… but almost all of us gain a few holiday pounds. Eat good food and be merry, but do your best to replace these five worst of the worst foods to minimize the gain:

  1. Egg Nog. Drink two cups of egg nog and you’ve already exceeded your daily recommend saturated fat intake. Yup, it’s that bad for you. Made with eggs, sugar, milk, heavy cream and brown sugar… the result is an artery-clogging concoction with about 350 calories in a single cup. It’s basically liquid heart disease. Cheers!
  2. Pigs in a blanket. Pigs in a blanket are those addicting mini hot dogs wrapped in dough. They make the list not just because they are terrible from a nutrition standpoint, but because it’s nearly impossible to eat just one or two. Each piggy is a bomb of calories, sodium, nitrates and saturated fat; one serving has about 1/3 of your daily recommend value of sodium and saturated fat. But who has just one serving?
  3. Peanut brittle. Sure, peanuts are good for you. Until you cover them in sugar and butter. Get ready to gag: A single cup of peanut brittle has almost 700 calories! Add to that: 43% of your daily value of fat, 37% of your daily value of saturated fat and more carbohydrates than a bagel – it’s no wonder that this delicious treat makes my unhealthiest holiday foods list.
  4. Prime rib. A true holiday favorite, prime rib is rich in protein. But it’s also cut from the fattest part of the cow. A single slice has 750 calories and… 45 grams of fat! And now, a message from your heart: Opt for turkey or a beef tenderloin instead.
  5. Pecan pie. Eat a slice of pecan pie, and you’ve already consumed a quarter of your day’s calories; each slice has anywhere from 500 – 600 calories, 40% of your daily value of fat and 25% of your daily value of saturated fat. And that’s without the whipped cream topping!

Enjoy your holidays – and ensure that you’ll be around for many more by replacing these foods with healthier options like unsalted mixed nuts, shrimp cocktail, fresh steamed veggies, leaner meats and healthier (but still delicious!) dessert options.

And check out my 6 absolute worst foods of all time here!

Davey Wavey Gift Guide: My 5 Favorite Things!

‘Tis the season for giving – and so (to take a page from Oprah) I’ve put together a list of my favorite things! And no, I’m not getting commission or kick-backs for any of these products… though I feel like I should be on the Lululemon payroll by this point. 🙂

Lululemon Smash Pant

I have two. One for lounging around the house – and one for wearing to the gym. It’s cozy, warm (but not too warm) and unbelievably comfortable. It’s expensive, but it will change your life. It’s great for being active and doing yoga, or just watching TV and snuggling with your dog. Plus, Lululemon has a great corporate philosophy (they call it their manifesto) that you’ll love.

Valeo Deluxe Speed Jump Rope

Jumping rope is one of my favorite things. It’s an AMAZING exercise and it requires… well, only a piece of rope. The Valeo Deluxe Speed jump rope is as good as they get. It’s a great way to get in some powerful cardio an endurance training – you can even do it during commercial breaks while watching TV. All for less than 7 bucks.

Good Vibes Gym Bag

Feel those good vibrations with this $19.95 gym bag from Davey Wavey apparel. It’s durable, water resistant, available in a wide range of colors – and hand-printed with a spiral of body-positive quotes. The center of the spiral is my Davey Wavey logo. It’s great for the gym – or as an overnight bag. And, 20% of the profits go to charity. Good vibes, good stuff.

Altus Ankle Weights

I’m in love with ankle weights. They open up a whole new world of possibilities. I’ve found them particularly helpful when training my lower abs – especially during leg lifts. I use this 20 lb set – but they’re available in a full range of weights. They’re one of the best kept fitness secrets!

Underwear Yoga

I had so much fun creating my Underwear Yoga program – and I get a lot of fulfillment knowing how many people it is helping. It includes two 20-minute yoga videos starring the beautiful and talented Nick Kindrick and myself. The program comes with a bunch of great freebies and is instantly available by download online. It’s a great gift for the most important person you have – YOURSELF!

I hope you enjoy my favorite things as much as I do! Happy holidays to you and yours!

7 Tips to Eat Smart During the Holidays!

This sexy santa could jingle my bells...

The holidays are upon us, but they need not be upon your waistline too. Here are my top 7 tips for eating healthy and staying fit during the holidays!

  1. Wait 15 – 20 minutes before getting a second plate. It takes your body 15 – 20 minutes to feel full after eating – so if you go up for seconds immediately after finishing your first plate, your body may already be full. And guess where that extra food will end up? So hold off for a few minutes and then reassess your hunger.
  2. Know your gym’s holiday schedule and plan in advance. It’s very likely that your gym will have a modified schedule for the slew of upcoming holidays. Visit your gym’s website or give them a call. See how their reduced hours will impact your workout schedule, and plan accordingly. If your gym is closed for a holiday, try to get your workout in the day before – or plan some alternative exercise for that day like biking or jogging outside.
  3. Drink lots of water. Dehydration is often misunderstood by the body as hunger – keeping your body well-watered will help reduce your food intake. Water may not be as tasty as eggnog, but your body will certainly appreciate it more. Replacing alcoholic or sugary drinks with water will greatly decrease the number of calories you consume.
  4. Use an appetizer plate. If you munch directly from an appetizer platter or bowl, it’s easy to eat a lot more than you intended. To avoid this scenario, simply use an appetizer plate and select your munchies in advance. Eat what’s on your plate, and then know when to quit.
  5. Eat an apple before big meals! I used this tip yesterday at my grandmother’s 90th birthday party. If you know that there is going to be a lot of high-calorie and unhealthy food available to you, eat an apple before you leave the house. Apples are a good source of fiber – it will help you feel full and make you less likely to overeat the unhealthy stuff.
  6. Use a smaller plate. If you take a big plate, you’re probably going to put more food on it. Using a smaller plate will help you select more sensible portions.
  7. Be grateful and donate leftovers. Express gratitude that you are in the fortunate situation of having too much food to eat during the holidays. Remember that many people spend their holidays hungry. Instead of storing all the leftovers in your fridge, donate them to someone in need.

The holidays are fun, and the food is part of that! Don’t deny yourself the food you love – just be smarter about it. Happy holidays to you and yours.

Do you have any tips? Share ’em in the comments below!