The sheer amount of yummy food available in the month of December is incredible. Home baked goodies, office parties, Grandma's holiday feast, food given as gifts, candy on display as decoration; it's everywhere and very tempting to eat, even for naturopathic doctors and medical physicians! For most of us, we tend to gain weight between November 23 and the New Year. Not to mention all the sugar and treats can lower our immune systems, create general sluggishness and make it hard to think clearly. Below are some of our favorite holistic healing strategies for staying healthy during the holidays.
- Don't go to that party hungry. We've all heard this one before, but it's probably one of the best tips out there. It's like going grocery shopping when you're hungry; you're more likely to make poor choices when your hunger is your motivation.
- Don't skip breakfast before Christmas dinner. Many folks will eat light early in the day, "saving room" for the holiday feast at Grandma's. But it might be better to eat a good, healthy, filling breakfast that morning. You will still be hungry and will enjoy the meal, but won't gorge yourself into a turkey-coma.
- Focus on maintaining your weight now and all natural weight loss later! If you want to lose weight, this is usually not the time to do it; often maintaining weight is enough of a challenge and goal!
- If you're going to a potluck, bring a healthy dish you love. That way you know at least one dish will be good for you, and since it's one you know you like, you'll be more likely to eat it.
- It's okay to say "No." I know Aunt Edna made that cake, but you don't have to eat it. You really don't. Maybe split a piece, or take just a bite, without having to eat the whole portion.
- Take the focus off food. So many holiday gatherings are centered on food. Consider having a party with board games, or have everyone make ornaments and tell stories; all activities that aren't 100% food focused.
- Be aware of the calories you are drinking. Alcohol, egg nog, fruit punch, hot chocolate with whipped cream...all come packed with hidden, nutrient-poor calories. Be aware of how much you are consuming as it can really start to add up! Drink water before you go and during the gathering.
- Don't deny yourself 100% of the holiday foods. When it comes to holistic health care and all natural weight loss the key is moderation-take smaller portions, smaller bites.
- Relax and keep your stress levels down. The holidays can be very stressful, and it's common to self-medicate with sweet holiday foods in order to feel better. Instead, take time for yourself, breathe deeply, go for a walk, and keep your stress level in check. Your state of mind always affects your body and holistic healing.
- Above all, enjoy the holidays. Remember they are not about food, but about spending time with those you love. Have fun, and enjoy that occasional cookie.
Have a joyful and healthy holiday season.