How to Enjoy Healthy Holidays Without Being A Total Killjoy

The holidays can present a mixed bag. Most of us look forward to Christmas lights, trimming the tree, and holiday parties with friends and family. But for all of the pros, there are also plenty of seasonal cons: the holidays are hectic, nerve-wracking, and exhausting. Racing from store to store collecting all the trappings is rarely as festive in real life as it looks on paper. Especially for women – who are more likely to be responsible for much of the planning, decorating, cooking, hosting, and gifting that make the season merry and bright. While it’s wonderful to spend time with those you love, getting to your destination can be taxing – particularly if you must travel during hours when you’d typically be sleeping.

And if you’re trying to make healthy choices, the holidays are a minefield. Still, you want your loved ones to enjoy the yuletide cheer unfettered by your unique concerns. I mean, just because you’ve gone gluten-free that doesn’t mean your kids have to miss out on Grandma’s famous Christmas cookies. So, how do you strike the right balance? I’ve got you covered.

Arm yourself with these tips to help you enjoy a healthy holiday without being a total killjoy:

 

Travel like Santa: It’s all about logistics

Unfortunately, most of us don’t own physics-defying sleds pulled by flying reindeer. A girl can dream though, right? Maybe next year if I’m very good, Santa will leave one under my tree. Until then, we can only aspire to travel like Santa. But holiday traffic, long lines at the airport, last-minute shopping, and often unrealistic expectations from others can distress even the most centered among us. You get anxious, even panicky, sending your body into an intense stress response. The hormones released, such as cortisol and adrenaline, heighten your anxiety while suppressing your immune system at a time when you need to protect your health the most. Stressful times require serious countermeasures. Planning is key – plan ahead to protect your physical and mental health.

So, how can you trip up travel stressors?

  • Do your homework – Make sure you know the best route to the airport or your final destination. Find out whether your hotel has a gym so you can de-stress with some exercise during your stay. Follow the weather reports so you’re prepared for the unexpected.
  • Pack your own food – This way you don’t have to rely on the over-processed options lining gas station aisles and airport guest shops. Restaurant food is often packed with extra butter, salt, and preservatives. Make sure your hotel has healthy food options on the menu.
  • Press pause – Things like overbooked flights and last-minute changes of plans can be stressful. If you encounter them, slow down for a few minutes, take some deep breaths, and try to clear your head. Walk it off if possible – around the block or the airport terminal. I find that a brisk walk can help put things in perspective.
  • Laugh a little – The benefits of laughter include lowering blood pressure, improving your immune system performance and reducing stress hormones. Interestingly, these positive effects are similar to having sex – I talk more about that here. Over the holidays, try to remember what truly matters: friends, fellowship, family. Surround yourself with people who make you smile.

Laugh a lot! When you laugh, your body releases endorphins which can make a happy holiday even happier.

Holiday weight gain? Sleep it off.

Only 40% of people are getting the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours) per night – and that’s when everything is going according to plan. Over the holidays, your sleep schedule can really go haywire as most of us spend more time celebrating and less time logging some serious zzzzs. Just one night of bad sleep can make you hungrier and inclined to eat more. Not only can short-term sleep loss lead to increased caloric consumption, but multiple studies have suggested a link between chronic sleep deprivation and increased obesity risk over time. According to the CDC, people that get less than 7 hours of sleep a night are 24% more likely to be obese. And, the American Sleep Association says as much as 5% of the overall proportion of obesity in adults may be attributable to sleep deprivation.

How do you get a good night’s sleep when you’re waiting for the pitter-patter of reindeer feet?

  • Make sleep a priority – Insufficient sleep is linked to a broad array of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Visits to the emergency room spike on Thanksgiving and Christmas days, in some areas, by as much as 12% and many of these patients present with injury or illnesses resulting from too little sleep.
  • Do not drive drowsy – We hear much about drunk driving but a surprising number of auto accidents each year are caused by over-tired drivers. According two the CDC, an estimated 1 in 25 adults report having fallen asleep at the wheel in the last month. Over the holidays, these numbers are surely higher and, oftentimes, complicated by excessive alcohol consumption. So get the sleep you need and – if you don’t – surrender your keys to someone who has.
  • Unwind before bed – Stay away from devices and limit screen time. Save searches for last-minute gifts on Amazon for daylight hours.
  • Soak before you sleep – Try taking a warm bath before bed. There’s nothing I like more than lighting a lavender-scented candle and unwinding with an Epsom salt bath. After your soak, retire to a room that is dark and cool for optimal sleep.
  • Sleep and depression – Not getting enough sleep isn’t just bad for you physically but it can profoundly affect your mental health. The holidays are prime times for sleep disruption: you’re away from home, in an unfamiliar bed, and often not in control of your nightly routine. Sleep disturbance is one of the key symptoms of major depression so strive to maintain your personal bedtime rituals while you’re on the road.

Eat, drink, and be merry…within reason

For many, the holidays are a time where you grant yourself a free pass to indulge – the problems arise when you overindulge. Now, I’m not suggesting that you deprive yourself of your favorite seasonal delicacies. Each year when I am making stuffing, I forgo my typical healthy breakfast and indulge in a slice of pumpkin pie…I challenge anyone to stop me. However, taking a mindful approach to food and drink around the holidays is wise. Focus more on the fellowship and less on the food and you’ll have fewer regrets. You may actually get to know someone new or learn more about a distant cousin. Then when the parties are over, get back to your normal healthy routine as soon as possible.

How does one feast in moderation? One. Bite. At. A. Time.

  • Drink plenty of water – whenever possible, choose water over other beverage options. I always travel with my green tea bags since they’re caffeine-free and potent with antioxidants to oppose some of our inevitable poor holiday choices.
  • Watch your alcohol – it’s natural to want to celebrate during this festive time of year. Unfortunately, some revelers may drink to excess and, for many, this can lead to bad choices and even depression. The “holiday blues” are very real and can have dire consequences. Limit your alcohol intake and take in the good cheer instead.
  • Eat your own healthy food before heading out to holiday parties – if you’re already sated, you’re less likely to be tempted to overdo it. If you overindulge at all, let it be on charity and the love you share with your family and friends.
  • Contribute a healthy dish – bring along your signature fall vegetable casserole or a colorful salad. Every year I bake sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg. Why drown a perfect vegetable in syrup and marshmallows?
  • Pack your supplements in advance – I double my probiotic dosage to boost my immune system, aid digestion, and to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Don’t forget your daily dose of D. During fall and winter months when sunlight is scarce and we spend less time outdoors, Vitamin D is especially crucial. Learn more about this multitasking nutrient here.
  • Live a little – if you love your mom’s cornbread stuffing then, by all means, have a serving. Treat it like the once-a-year special exception that it is.

Baby, it’s cold outside. Take advantage of it! The holidays are the best time of the year for snow angels.

Workout your bod and your mood

When you’re at home, you’ve got your exercise routine down pat – that’s the goal, anyway. But, over the holidays, you’re not always in control of your schedule and subjected to unexpected delays and complications. As our to-do lists grow ever longer, many of us exercise less and less. The last thing you want is more stress and, for many of us, trying to maintain our usual workout program does just that. At the same time, staying active gives you the necessary energy and peace of mind to mitigate both stress and offset some of those extra calories you’re eating. Most important, exercise is an all-natural means to keep depressive symptoms at bay during a time when many struggle the most from mental health concerns.

How do you  stay active and stay in the holiday spirit at the same time?

  • Keep your eyes open – Wherever your travels take you, stay on the lookout for walking, running, or hiking trails nearby.
  • Bring a workout plan with you – Pack resistance bands or, if you have a laptop, bring your favorite yoga DVD so you can spend some downtime on your mat. When I travel, I pack my portable OYO double flex and squeeze in a workout when I find a spare minute. And no, I am not a paid spokesperson; I simply love this piece of equipment. And I’m in good company: the OYO was engineered for astronauts to maintain muscle mass while in space.
  • Wear running shoes whenever possible – You never know when you’ll find a 15-20-minute window for a walk. You want to be ready at all times. After dinner is a perfect time for an excursion and it will give you a chance to catch up with family and friends.
  • Organize team sports – Like football, soccer, or basketball so you can get the whole family moving.
  • Volunteer to help with household chores – Things like raking leaves, carrying suitcases, or entertaining nieces and nephews who are hopped up on sugary treats allow you to burn calories and lend a helping hand at the same time.
  • Put on your dancing shoes – If there’s a dance floor at the company Christmas party, get your butt out there and shake it. Dancing burns up to 8 calories per minute…so get out on the floor and move. You’ll burn calories and steer clear of the buffet at the same time.
  • Get over yourself – So what if you can’t get in your daily 5-mile run while you’re visiting your in-laws? Don’t let it ruin your stay. Simply get back to your routine as soon as you get home.

Serenity now. Serenity now…Strategies for hosting and guesting

Whether you’re the party thrower or the party guest, holiday entertaining requires you to be flexible, resourceful, and above all gracious. Once again, planning is essential for avoiding stress and putting together a special night for your loved ones. But no matter how well you’ve thought it through, be prepared for things not to go as planned. That’s half the fun – just roll with it.

How do you entertain without feeling drained?

  • Have a backup plan – Always have a plan B. No matter what the occasion. Call in advance to see if any of your guests have dietary restrictions or allergies. So many people today are lactose intolerant and gluten-free; so save yourself some undue stress by preparing (or purchasing) an assortment of dishes to accommodate their needs.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate – You don’t have to be a hero. Most people actually like to feel useful. Make sure to spread the responsibilities around whether it’s sending someone to pick up celebratory libations or letting the kids arrange a makeshift centerpiece from the pine cones they found in the yard.
  • It’s ok not to be perfect – If someone arrives with an unexpected guest, simply pull up a folding chair and make room for that exchange student who’s far from home. American holidays are a wonderful cultural experience for all of us to share. If you must surrender your own Christmas china for a paper plate, you’ll represent the embodiment of grace and the spirt of giving.
  • De-stress with aromatherapy – My holiday go-to’s are cinnamon, nutmeg, bergamot, and frankincense. Besides simply smelling amazing, essential oils are calming and have a multitude of health benefits. Essential oils can even provide support for your thyroid. For the millions of Americans with thyroid disorders the holidays can be especially stressful. If you’re concerned that you’re suffering from an undiagnosed thyroid problem, here’s a post that may help you get the help you need.
  • Give yourself a break – If you’re not feeling social, it’s ok to sit out an event. Just make sure you call your host and cancel and maybe send a nice gift. You know your limits. It’s up to you to honor them.

Now, you’re armed with the tools for a stress-free holiday season. Get out there and share your cheer as you ring in the new year!

How I’ve Helped Thousands of Men Feel Like Tarzan Again

If you’re anything like the typical 21st-century American male over 40, I’m guessing you haven’t felt the urge to swing from vine to vine like the “lord of the jungle” recently. When is the last time you dazzled your Jane-equivalent with your stamina and sexual prowess? Been awhile? Know that you’re not alone. Erectile dysfunction affects 18 million men in America. Clinical studies show that performance issues occur in 40% of men at age 40, 50% at 50, and nearly 70% at age 70. Intermittent performance issues are increasingly occurring in younger men, as well, with up to 1 in 4 men under 25 experiencing sexual dysfunction.

What if I told you that I’ve helped thousands of men just like you feel like Tarzan again? All without pills, pumps, or side effects. It’s called the GAINSWave and, if you are among the 52% of men who experience erectile dysfunction, then this treatment may provide a long-term solution. Even for men who consider themselves problem-free, but would still like a boost in the bedroom, the GAINSWave represents a safe and healthy alternative.

Spontaneity Gone?

Satisfying one’s lover is essential to a successful relationship. Part of that satisfaction means being ready when your partner is. For men who miss the spontaneity of younger years, I want you to know that you don’t have to suffer in silence as these symptoms chip away at your desire for intimacy. You no longer have to struggle sexually or fear for the potential failure of your relationship. Furthermore, no matter what your age, I want you to know that you can enjoy a healthy and active sex life again, or for the first time.

Not only can you, but you should. A vibrant sexuality is critical for your wellbeing and for longevity. The benefits of an active sex life are multifold—ranging from better immune function and better sleep quality to a 50% reduction in heart attacks. So, embrace your inner Tarzan for a longer, more fulfilling life.

Many men equate a strong and long-lasting erection with their personal sexual health and wellness. Sometimes, however, external forces get in the way: stress, age, and lifestyle factors can interfere with intimacy. Certain medications may also be responsible for ED (even in younger men). This means many men resort to temporary male enhancements from the drugstore or from healthcare providers. But quick fixes like the “little blue pill” make spontaneity difficult and risk a long list of side effects.

Bio-hacking Your Inner Tarzan

When my male patients first come to see me they are typically defeated, but, still hopeful that I can help. Each one of them asks me the same thing: Why is this happening to me? I explain that, as men age, the blood vessels in the penis collapse due to deterioration or plaque blockage. In the same manner that we develop coronary artery disease from the formation of plaques, the penile artery also forms micro-plaques as a result of decreased blood flow. Adequate blood flow is essential for a strong and lasting erection–the greater the volume, the better.

We now have non-invasive technology for the improvement or possible resolution of much male sexual dysfunction. I approach the treatment of sexual health the same way that I treat all of my patients’ concerns—from the approach of Functional Medicine. This means I first look for the root cause and tailor a treatment to your individual needs. So, initially, together we will address any physiological or emotional impediments to intimacy. Next, I will evaluate your blood work for any vitamin or thyroid deficiencies. Now, thyroid testing is key for a number of reasons. Many men may not be aware that if their thyroid is not functioning properly, they will have low-T, or low testosterone.

If you’re concerned about your testosterone levels, make sure that your physician runs a thorough thyroid function panel that includes your free T3 levels. This number is very important and very misunderstood by most conventional physicians. Your free T3 is your master hormone—it is the key that ignites every cell in your body. So, if you’ve got low testosterone, the first thing I want to look at are your free T3 levels. Once we’ve optimized your thyroid, your testosterone numbers will improve as will your sexual health and pleasure. Plus, you’ll feel and look better in your loincloth.

Me Tarzan. You Jane. Have would you like a tour of my treehouse?

A Better Way to Boost Your Performance with the GAINSWave

I’ve helped literally thousands of men boost their performance using with the GAINSWave.  This noninvasive and pain-free treatment utilizes acoustic sound waves to restore and increase blood flow. The technology has been around for decades, but, only recently has it been used to treat erectile dysfunction and enhance male sexual performance. I’ve been using the  GAINSWave at my Dallas, Texas, clinic for almost 3 years. I’ll admit, at first I was a little dubious. But the results have proved me wrong. My patients are so thrilled with their outcomes that they are referring their friends for the Tarzan treatment.

The device that generates the acoustic waves is applied directly to the penis with the use of a sliding gel. The GAINSWave’s pulsating waves increase blood flow to the penis, which allows for a firmer, more resilient erection. Acoustic sound waves encourage the growth of new blood vessels, as well, while offering additional support to the pelvic floor through an increase in both oxygen and nutrients. This treatment also promotes soft tissue growth with the release of stem cells and growth factor which rejuvenates the tissue of the entire pelvic floor. So the penis stays firmer longer and you experience optimal sensation. Any man who wants to take back his sexuality naturally–and turn his back on prescriptions for good–can benefit from the safe and healthy therapy.

Why wait until you have a problem when you can prevent now?

Many ED sufferers are searching for a treatment when a better approach is early prevention. Most men don’t realize that their testosterone begins falling at the young age of 30. The role of testosterone in achieving erection is to signal to the blood vessels in the penis that it’s time to engorge and engage. In order to perform at your peak sexually, all of the testosterone receptors in the pelvic floor must be saturated.

Men who are passionate cyclists should know that all of that time in the saddle may cause long-term harm. Those precious blood vessels in the penis do not tolerate prolonged or chronic compression. For your overall sexual health and wellness, consider spending less time on the bike and more time in the bedroom.

There are at least 5 components that contribute to maintaining peak sexual performance:

  • Your head has must be in the game
  • Your thyroid must be optimized
  • Your testosterone levels must be optimized
  • Your blood vessels must be in great shape
  • Your exercise routine must be consistent

Does the GAINSWave work for everyone?

I’ve seen amazing benefits from the GAINSWave in my own patients – as many as 90% report marked improvement and enhanced performance. And, for the up to 23% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 who suffer form Peyronie’s disease, this treatment has proven highly successful. Of course, those with a severe degree of heart disease, diabetes, and advanced age may require more treatments and see milder change. Although every man is different, for best results, we typically recommend between 6 and 12 treatments and then a touch-up every year following.

Okay, perhaps you won’t have an occasion to swing from vines any time soon. But, with the GAINSWave, you may be tempted to swing from the bedroom chandeliers.

 

8 Ways Fasting Will Change Your Life

Can what and when you eat determine how long you will live? How about how healthy your life will be? According to Dr. Valter Longo’s book, The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight, the answer is a resounding yes. Longo is the director of the Longevity Institute at USC in Los Angeles, and of the Program on Longevity and Cancer in Milan. He has spent the past 25 years researching aging, nutrition, and disease in cultures across the globe in search of a simple formula for healthy aging through nutrition. The ProLon fasting-mimicking diet, or FMD, represents the culmination of his life’s work.

Fasting has many clinically proven benefits, including promoting regenerative changes – such as stem cell rejuvenation – as well as positively affecting a wide range of markers that contribute to aging. However, fasting has proven to be challenging for most people. The ProLon is a 5-day plant-based diet plan that properly nourishes you as it tricks the body into believing it is in a fasting state. You see, you don’t have to starve yourself for days on end to reap the benefits of fasting. Your body simply has to think you are.

With the ProLon FMD, your body gets all the benefits of the stem cell-based rejuvenation of a 5-day fast and you get to eat what they call “real food.” And, no costly supplements are required. The pre-packaged soup mixes, bars, and energy drinks contain all of the necessary macro and micronutrients to fortify your fast. However, because supplementation is increasingly necessary in our modern world, I dedicated an entire microsite to the medical-grade nutraceuticals that I recommend to my non-fasting patients. If you’re as confused as most of us about which vitamins matter most, you can learn more here.

The Fasting-mimicking Challenge – What to expect on Day One:

A few weeks ago, in an effort to optimize our health span, my team and I put the diet from the smart people at ProLon to the test. Some of us fared better than others but we stuck it out and completed the fast. I’ll be honest, the first day was a little rough for us all – primarily, because we didn’t know what to expect. Day 1 is critical though, as your body transitions into burning fat and the beginning of cellular optimization. Once you make it through the first day though, you begin to notice real change – in the way you feel, look, and even think. As with any diet, the ProLon is best when conducted under a doctor’s supervision.

 

8 Ways Fasting Will Change Your Life:

1. You will lose weight

The ProLon is the fastest way to lose fat – especially dangerous belly fat – while, at the same time, protecting lean body mass. Based on $38 million of funding and decades of research, the FMD is the only diet patented to eliminate dangerous visceral fat. The fat that accumulates around the abdominal organs, our visceral fat, is strongly correlated with scores of serious disease risks, including heart disease, cancer, and dementia. By Day 2 of the FMD, your body is switching to fat burning mode. And it’s not just any fat that’s going down; but, the bad kind around your midsection. Even people of normal weight can harbor harmful amounts of this hidden fat beneath the abdominal wall. Periodic fasting is the only proven diet to attack visceral fat.

2. Your energy will skyrocket

During periodic fasting, many people report feeling energized and on the top of their game – as was the case with me and my team. Because you are burning fat rather than the fuel reserves stored in your muscles, your muscles perform better and your energy levels soar. Remember, even though you may feel great during these five fasting days, you should not exercise. No matter how jazzed you feel. This energy surge is not limited to the fasting days: my team and I are all still performing at higher levels.

3. You will sleep like a baby

Lots of activities feel better on an empty stomach – sex, exercise, and sleep are the big ones. Because the FMD initiates stem cell regeneration, a higher percentage of your cells are performing in an optimal manner while you’re fasting; this translates into better sleep patterns. When your brain and body cells are performing at their best, you achieve more restorative sleep. Who doesn’t want that?

4. Your skin will look amazing

As you progress along the fast, stem cell-based regeneration continues and the body is rejuvenated from within. As you eliminate toxins from your body, you can see the benefits in your skin and even your hair. Why? We store the majority of our toxins in fat cells. Periodic fasting detoxes the skin as it purges the toxins from the underlying supporting fat cells. Anecdotally, my team and I noticed an improvement in the appearance of subcutaneous fat and a reduction of cellulite, as well. We were thrilled by this unexpected boon.

5. You will have better sex

Like sleep, sex is better on an empty stomach. Plus, once you lose that visceral fat around your midsection, you’ll be  more confident in your naked skin. Your core will not only look better, it will also function better. No matter who’s on top, that extra core strength will intensify your performance. And that extra energy that I mentioned? It makes all the difference – in and out of the bedroom.

6. Your risk of disease will drop dramatically

Periodic fasting prevents a myriad of diseases. But, that’s not all. It initiates the improvement of chronic disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, controlling glucose, and decreasing rates of all kinds of cancer. Furthermore, fasting lowers markers of inflammation for overall wellness while preventing age-related muscle and bone loss. Periodic fasting even builds your resistance to Alzheimer’s. In my opinion, there is nothing better you can do to promote disease-free longevity than incorporating periodic fasting into your lifestyle.

7. You will have a clear head

Ever experienced brain fog after eating sugary starch foods? Fasting fixes this, too. While fasting, your mental performance is enhanced and you’ll notice greater focus and clarity. In addition, through the process of fasting, you develop a better understanding of your body and an ability to recognize both when you are truly hungry and when you reach fullness. Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty – the ProLon is incredibly hydrating so you rarely get such mixed messages. Fasting puts you on the road to achieving that elusive mind-body connection – and, this time, you will stay on it.

8. You will live longer

You have probably heard lots about how stem cells can prolong your life. What you may not know, however, is that, as people age, stem cells lose their ability to regenerate. This age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast, according to a recent study by biologists from MIT. Because the ProLon enables a 5-day fast, you get 5 times the benefit. Meanwhile, the FMD activates stem cell-based renewal as well as the clean up of aging and damaged cells. These cellular processes hold amazing anti-aging benefits that extend your lifespan along with your quality of life.

How often should you do the diet?

The benefits last well after the 5 fasting days end. Stem cell-based rejuvenation continues for 2-3 days once you complete the ProLon FMD and return to your regular healthy meal plan. How often you repeat the cycle depends on a few factors, including your body weight, baseline markers and health measurements, and the evaluation and recommendations of your health care provider:

  • High risk individuals: 3-12 times a year depending on condition
  • Low risk or healthy individuals: 2-4 times a year

Here in my office, a smaller group of us just completed our second cycle of the ProLon. This time around, we found the fast more than doable. The energy elevation and mental focus improvements were exponential during cycle 2 and the additional weight loss delighted us all. What we did not anticipate was a marked decrease in anxiety and simultaneous increase in our ability to handle the stressors of our fast-paced workplace.

Would I recommend the ProLon FMD to my patients?

I would and I do. Longevity science is the future – I want them to be there.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Mother’s Day Spa Special

If you want your Mother to have surgical results without the knife

Gift her: Facial rejuvenation with FRACTORA

From: skinFIT Med Spa at Highland Park Place

Why FRACTORA?: The Fractora is the ultimate non-invasive skin renovation without surgery – the next-generation laser facelift. Dr. Maryann Prewitt loves this technology for its unparalleled results with minimal recovery and no downtime. Our skilled aestheticians use the Fractora to dramatically tighten skin, reduce wrinkles, and improve texture for the long-term. Simply come see us at skinFIT MedSpa where we perform noninvasive face and neck lifts for surgical results without the scars.

 

Our Ultimate Mother’s Day Special includes:

FRACTORA Laser Facelift

20 Units of BOTOX

ZO Gentle Cleanser

Biopelle Tensage Intensive Serum 40

ZO Daily Sheer SPF 50

Plus a one-of-a-kind orchid for your one-of-a-kind Mom

from Dr. Prewitt

$1,500 Mother’s Day Special/$2,500 Regular

 

Call us to reserve her treatment at 469-685-1427

*Valid through the month of May

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