It’s the holiday season once again and it’s time for seeing friends and family and sharing memories together. Although this is a joyous time of year it often leaves us feeling stressed, overweight, and tired. Most of us travel more frequently and at greater distances, get together with family and friends, attend social gatherings, and consume more calories than usual.
During these busy times, we tend to set aside our usual diet and exercise routines. This combined with all of these activities can be overwhelming to our bodies thus leaving us more vulnerable becoming sick or injured. Here are some helpful tips to help you and your family stay healthy, vibrant, and well this holiday season.
- Planning is probably one of the best ways to be proactive in reducing your stress levels while maintaining health. Use a calendar, write lists, and break up your tasks to a manageable level to get things done efficiently.
- Plan out and prepare healthy nutritious meals for you and your family to eat at home to help counter balance high calorie foods with inadequate nutritional value when you are out. It is best to consume raw foods such as
vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. These foods contain a wide range of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes which are immune boosting.
- Eat small portions. This may seem like a simple idea but it is very easy to do and allows you to still enjoy everything you may want to try. Try to put a small mouthful’s amount of each thing you want to try on your plate. This allows you to try many of the foods you want to sample at a holiday get together without over indulging on any one thing.
- Prioritize your snacking. When out at a party where you know you will want to try several things start with the thing you want the most. Whether that is the chocolate bonbon or piece of holiday turkey, take a small portion of this first so you may enjoy what you wanted most.
Be sure to really savor and appreciate what you’re snacking on to make it worth the calories. Don’t eat absentmindedly! You will consume far more calories than you expected!
- Use a small plate. Choose a small plate to place your food upon to help reduce the amount of calories eaten at once. This will force you to eat smaller amounts and give your stomach time to let your brain know it is full by the time you go back for more.
- Pay attention to beverage consumption, alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks contain empty calories and high levels of sugar. Alcoholic beverages also have the ability to decrease inhibitions thus inducing overeating.
- Get you and your family moving! Plan time to exercise and maintain your body weight rather than trying to lose weight. Exercising is also a great way to decrease stress by stimulating hormones in your body. With the
temperatures dropping, outdoor activities are coming to an end. For people who do not belong to a gym, this makes it more difficult to stay fit. Do not let the cold weather stop you though. Some good active wear for cold weather can help you stay warm while walking, running, biking, etc. Try some fun cold weather only activities such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or ice skating. There are also some free workout programs on
the internet or in the on demand section of your cable television provider.
This allows you to work out while at home with nothing more than a few free weights or bands. If you are really not a cold weather person I would suggest joining a gym that does not require a contract. This way, you can pay only
during the months that you are using it. Aim to do some form of workout at
least 4-5 times a week.
- With the holiday season comes flu season as well. Talk to your doctor about whether getting the flu shot is right for you. The best way to prevent sickness is to wash your hands. Hand sanitizers are good for use on the go to prevent infection, but if your hands are visibly dirty, use soap and water. Talk to your health care provider to make sure you are on the proper supplements for you and if a flu shot is recommended.
- If you are having any aches or pains, do not wait to be seen! Just remember the sooner you are seen, the easier it is to treat. I cannot tell you how many patients I have seen where some simple exercises may have prevented some more serious consequences. See us at Performance Spine and Sports Medicine of Newtown to keep your holidays pain free.