Posts Tagged ‘hydration’

I’m Not Going to Stress-Eat the Holidays This Year

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

holiday health

I make a mean chocolate chip pumpkin bread. Totally tooting my own horn, I know, but it’s fine. It’s worth it. Because that bread is amazing. And because I grind the flour myself, and it has pumpkin in it, I convince myself that it’s practically a vitamin.

Vitamins are good for you, right? So it’s okay to eat it for every meal of the day.

It’s a lot easier to convince myself of this misguided truth when I am feeling the stress of the holidays. It seems that the shortened days filled with grayness and bitter cold are never ending, and yet there is no time to do all the things that need to happen between Halloween and Christmas. So while I’m engaging into the fourth hour of a 30-minute craft that we both know won’t turn out, desperately trying to give the perfect neighbor/teacher present, those baked goods scream that they will offer validation and comfort in my distress. So I eat, and I numb, and I eat, and I numb, and then I wonder why I don’t have any energy to get the things done that I need to.

This holiday season, it will be different. We will be different! Because we are going to health-up the crap out of this season. Here is my plan.

  1. Drink all the water. If part of your winter routine means putting on a Costco sized bottle of lotion each day, chances are pretty good that you aren’t drinking enough water. Shoot for half an ounce for every pound of body weight. You may pee every three seconds, but eventually, your body becomes accustomed to the increased water volume, and you return to your normal peeing patterns.
  2. Do an emotional inventory to identify what you feel like when you’re stressed. Sometimes during the holidays, we go into panic autopilot, where we just do things to get them done because we know we have to, and then we end up crashing and burning once our checklist is complete (or even when it isn’t). If you aren’t sure what your stress cues are, ask someone who knows you well what they notice about you when you’re stressed. Figure out what those are, and take a time-out when those cues pop up.
  3. Give yourself the gift of physical activity before the holidays start. Been eyeballing that Zumba class that meets at the rec down the street? Sign yourself up. Perhaps yoga is more your speed, or you’ve been wanting to try weightlifting. Find out what’s available in your area, and do what you can to treat yourself to this. Getting out and seeing other people who are taking care of themselves can be therapeutic in itself, and it will also give you the endorphins to make the stress more manageable. If nothing is available nearby, get a new DVD to work out with.
  4. Give yourself permission to say “no.” If someone asks you to do something and you don’t immediately want to respond with a resounding “yes!”, opt to take a beat to think it over. Practice saying no in the mirror until it feels comfortable. Decide that pleasing yourself is at least as important as pleasing others.
  5. Go ahead. Eat the pumpkin bread. Ask yourself first, though, if you’re eating to feel the joy inherent in delicious pumpkin bread, or if you’re eating to numb the stress and despair that can come with the season. Because when we eat treats to enjoy the treat, we are more likely to enjoy them, and we are satisfied a lot sooner. But if we eat them to stop feeling the difficult feelings, we tend to keep eating, and eating some more, and our poor emotional health starts to impact our physical health.

Enjoy the good things about this holiday season, because you deserve to experience joy. Seek out those things in your every day. And when it starts to feel like it’s getting difficult to find the joy, take a break. Watch some garbage television. Go to a spin class. Put the “me” back into “merry.”

Treat yo’self.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

Five Summer Hydration Tips for Nursing or Pregnant Moms

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Five Tips for SUmmer HydrationStaying hydrated in the summer is tough when you are pregnant or nursing. Dehydration can lead to problems for nursing moms, and dehydration when you are pregnant can lead to crazy Braxton-Hicks and cramping elsewhere in your body.

I nursed two babies through the heat of summer and was pregnant during the summer with all three kids. Here is how I coped.

  1. Get a BIG insulated cup. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Many times hospitals will give you a nearly spill-proof 32-ounce insulated mug with a lid and straw during your stay, and if you are still pregnant, you can get 32 and 64-ounce insulated mugs at many convenience stores and grocery stores. Two of those bad boys and you are hydrated for the day.
  2. Take that sucker with you EVERYWHERE. Don’t count on water being available anywhere you go. Most restaurants will serve you tap water that tastes like it’s right out of a water hose, and quick casual or fast food places may only serve sodas. Plus, being in a hot car will dehydrate you all by itself. So anytime you leave the house, make sure you have your own water.

    Five Summer Hydration Tips

    Camelbak thrown on over my baby carrier for hydration on a hike.

  3. Hydrate overnight. If you’re nursing in the summer, fill your insulated mug and stick it within reach of your favorite nursing spot before you go to bed. My favorite strategy was to fill my 32-ounce Camelbak with ice water before bedtime and then hang it over the rocking chair in my baby’s room. When I got up to nurse her, I could drink all the water I wanted hands-free while I nursed.
  4. Monitor your pee. Yep, I said it. The best way to gauge if you are hydrated is by noting the color of your pee. It should always be clear.
  5. Make water appealing to you. I only like super cold water. Some people like to make infusions with cucumbers, mint, or berries. You might keep lemons on hand to throw in there, or add a little fresh juice to it. Some people only like filtered water. Whatever you have to do, make staying hydrated easy so that it’s not just one more thing for you to keep track of, because you probably have enough already.

Remember that drinking other fluids, like soda or coffee, is not the same as drinking water. Your daily cup of coffee won’t leave you dehydrated especially if you are a regular consumer, but it shouldn’t count toward your 64-ounce goal for the day. Nursing moms may want to examine their caffeine habits if their baby is overly fussy. Caffeine affects babies under 3 months much more than older nurslings.

How do you stay hydrated in the summer?

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.