10 Tips for Healthy Holidays

olive grove

Many of you have been working hard all year changing your diet and improving your health. Congratulations on that good effort! Some of you have lost weight, lowered your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar or made other positive changes to important health indices. Or, for some of you it’s been about having more energy, less joint pain, better digestion, elimination of headaches, less depression and anxiety, elimination of hot flashes, or myriad of other symptoms. Now it’s the “holidays” and you’re concerned about blowing it, or reversing all the great progress you’ve made. It’s also part of the “American tradition” to have the post-holiday blues — including fatigue, depression, illness and unfortunately, 7-10 extra pounds. But with some conscious intention, you can leave that part of the tradition behind.

The problem with the holidays is that we extend them so much. There is nothing wrong with eating a holiday meal. In fact, many of you know about my “90% diet” philosophy. Meaning eat healthfully 90% of the time. This allows for 10% of the time when we can indulge a little. The holidays are only about 7 days a year. Unfortunately we turn them into weeklong celebrations and the period from Thanksgiving to New Years, although only containing 3 holidays, can turn into a 2-month celebration. And that’s how the damage to our good work is done! I’d like to share a few tips to help you stay focused on your good health while still enjoying the holidays.

Follow these tips and you’re likely to be much happier on January 2nd!

  1. Keep up your exercise routine no matter what. Make it completely non-negotiable. Exercise helps maintain the connection between the mind and body. Usually, when the exercise routine stops, the good healthy food plan follows. Let your exercise set the bar.
  2. Enjoy your holiday meal, then get rid of the leftovers. Give them away or throw them out. (Not everything — just the sweets, starches and rich foods!).
  3. Remember: there are only 3 holidays from November to New Year’s. (And one has already happened). Any celebrations added are by your CHOICE.
  4. CONTROL your own schedule. If you accept invitations for social events – choose ahead of time where you’ll indulge a little and where you’ll stick to your healthy eating plan. A little pre-planning in this area goes a long way.
  5. Eating sugar and drinking alcohol 2 days in a row will make it very hard to avoid it on the third day. It can start you on a sugar cycle. Avoid indulging 2 days in a row.
  6. Prepare for a party or social event by eating healthy all day long before the event. Then the next morning, be right on task again with healthy eating.
  7. Get enough sleep, time for yourself and relaxation throughout the season. Don’t set yourself up for stress eating. And remember – control your calendar!
  8. When you have an alcoholic drink or a sweet, eat it consciously. A little goes a long way when you pay attention to the taste, texture and aroma. Savor.
  9. Stay conscious of your eating throughout the entire season. Keep a food log to help you stay aware.
  10. Lastly, don’t cancel our appointments no matter how busy you get. It’s another way to stay conscious. Keep all your other self-care appointments as well – acupuncture, massage, personal trainers, etc.