Maintaining your diet or healthy lifestyle around the holidays is always tough. Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas parties, Christmas day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day all offer an endless barrage of feeding frenzies, drinking and being merry. It’s easy to throw healthy decision-making out the window and worry about weight loss/diet at the beginning of the new year. The result is an entire month of unhealthy choices that can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and a worsening of conditions like high blood pressure. Throw in fluctuating and freezing temperatures plus holiday stress, and the chances of catching a cold or the flu multiply. Here are some much needed tips to help keep you on track during the holiday season. You may not be able to do them all, but just sticking to a few guidelines will help keep daunting New Year’s health resolutions down to attainable levels and keep you and your doctor smiling.
Portion control is one of the simplest paths you can take to keep calories in check during holiday celebrations. This way you can still eat what you want, and your mother won’t be offended because you didn’t have any of her apple pie. If you practice portion control on a regular basis, you understand that you need way less than you think you do. Use small plates whenever possible and don’t serve yourself more than a spoonful of anything at time. Remember that there are appetizers, snacks, dinner, and dessert courses to go through. Eat slowly and wait 15-20 minutes after consuming a small plateful. You will start to notice how full you actually are and eat less. For those with pre-existing diagnoses, diet medications are available to help manage appetite.
Drink in Moderation
Binge drinking is off the charts during the holiday season. Alcohol control is even more difficult when you have to attend several celebrations with friends and different sides of the family. Sometimes people feel offended if you don’t have a drink when it’s offered. Binge drinking raises blood pressure, causes weight gain, and weakens the immune system. So what to do? To try and keep drinking in check, have a non-alcoholic beverage between drinks, preferably water. Sparkling water has no sugar and also makes a great mixer. Since alcohol is converted to sugar in your body, the last thing you want is more sugar. If you don’t want to drink plain sparkling water, add a lemon or try one of the many flavored options. If you’re the host of a holiday party, try to offer a tasty non-alcoholic beverage such as raspberry mint spritzers or cranberry-ginger punch.
Watch Your Nutrition
Make sure that you’re getting your share of fruits, vegetables and fiber during the holiday season. If you notice that you aren’t getting the nutrition you need because you’re too busy shopping and planning, or you’re attending too many parties with non-nutritious food, make a point to eat oatmeal for breakfast or pack raw veggies or a salad for lunch. These will go a long way to achieving any weight loss / diet goals that you may be pursuing.
Avoid a Cold
Depending on where you live, temperatures during the holiday season can fluctuate drastically between somewhat warm and freezing cold. This constant change in temperature can have a negative effect on your immune system and make you more susceptible to catching a cold or flu. Make sure that you bundle up when it’s cold or rainy outside, and then start taking those layers off as soon as you’re in a warmer place. Remove any wet clothing as soon as possible. Wash your hands frequently and carry a hand sanitizer, especially if you’re already sick. Cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your shirt rather than onto your hands. Germs spread quickly throughout offices and schools.
Last but not least, don’t forget to exercise. Bad weather makes us all want to burrow up inside and hibernate. Plan indoor activities like yoga or basketball to shed calories and boost immune system function. Enjoy your holidays and be sure to not lose focus on maintaining your health.