Guilderland, NY – Can you believe the holiday season is just around the corner? I love this time of the year; a time for traditions, family gatherings, celebrations, and all the food that comes with it. So how do we stay healthy during the holidays when there are so many temptations lurking around every corner? Gone are the days of accepting the inevitable 5-10 pound weight gain. Let’s be honest: the holiday season is not exactly the time to lose weight, but it does not have to be a time where you lose track of your health. Here are some tips to help beat the holiday bulge:
Keep Healthy Foods Handy: At this time, more than ever, it is very important to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy snacks. The more convenient they are, the more likely you are to eat them. Spend some time prepping raw veggies like peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli and radishes to dip in some hummus, and keep heart healthy nuts and seeds in the pantry. Be positive- instead of thinking about all the foods you “shouldn’t be” eating, promise yourself to eat at least 3-5 servings of vegetables a day.
Don’t Skip Meals: I am notorious for eating a small breakfast, putting on my stretchy pants, and “fasting” the rest of the day so I can eat as much as I want at the Thanksgiving table. How can you possibly resist all of the holiday delicacies when you are absolutely starving? Not a chance. Eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than “saving yourself” for that special meal. Prevent overeating by eating a small, protein rich snack like Greek yogurt, or a handful of almonds before heading to the party.
Eat Slow: Have you ever thought about how long it takes to plan, shop for, and prepare a holiday feast, only for us to fill our plates, sit down and finish eating in less than15 minutes? Take your time while you are eating. Enjoy and savor the taste of the foods; think about all the time and love dedicated to their preparation. It takes about 20 minutes for stomach to send the message to your brain that you are full. If you eat slowly, you will feel satisfied sooner and eat less, rather than overindulging and feeling bloated (not to mention guilty).
Stay Hydrated: Keep a bottle of water with you at all times, and drink throughout the day. Try to drink 8 ounces of water before each meal. Water will help you feel fuller longer, so you are not tempted to go back for a second (or third) helping, or reach for as many sugary treats.
Stay Active: Busy schedules, cooler temperatures, less daylight; all common excuses that we use to sabotage our health during the holiday season. Instead, make it a goal to stick to your normal exercise routine. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of activity each day. Make it a new tradition to go for a walk after large holiday meal,
De-Stress: The holiday season is chaotic and busy. Commitments at home and at work, financial burdens of gift giving, long lines, traveling, and interpersonal conflict can make this time of year stressful. Try to anticipate potential stressors, and have a plan in place to manage them. Never feel guilty for setting aside time for self care.
It is possible to enjoy the holiday season and the special foods that come with it without sabotaging your health and wellness. Celebration does not have to be synonymous with gluttony, as long as you indulge in moderation. Take your focus away from food, and remember the true purpose of the holiday season. Indulge yourself in the joys of quality time with loved ones. If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to contact us at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415. Please visit our website for more information at www.sportsandspinalwellness.com. We would be happy to be a part of your healthcare team.