The holiday season is upon us! As a primary care doctor in the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area, I often get asked how to stay healthy during the holidays. In theory, we get extra time off work to enjoy time with loved ones and a few sweet treats. Let’s be honest, the holidays can also be extremely stressful. Routines are thrown out the window. Add in travel, navigating sticky family dynamics, and an onslaught of holiday parties and you have a recipe for not feeling your best. Here are my three tried and true tips for staying mentally and physically fit over the holiday season.
KEEP IT MOVING:
When my daily routine gets interrupted my motivation and discipline for working out also disappears. The more free time I have the more time I spend thinking about working out instead of doing it. Schedule your workouts over the holiday season. Do it first thing in the morning before the temptations of sweet treats or family members’ agendas can distract you. If you don’t normally exercise commit to 30 minutes of movement per day. Accomplishing a goal early in the day is an incredible mental boost and you’ll get to enjoy the high of recently released endorphins. Keep it simple. Do movement that you enjoy. Most importantly, just do something! Your body and brain will thank you.
Is there anything better than sitting down to a glorious meal with people you love? Food is a huge part of holiday festivities. Give yourself permission to enjoy it! Denying yourself your favorite Christmas cookies or skipping out on grandma’s famous stuffing isn’t going to leave you mentally satisfied. The key is moderation. When you are in the holiday buffet line remember that we always make way too much food. Take small portions to start. Don’t feel obligated to eat all of something if you don’t love it. There are too many delicious foods to waste calories and stomach space on something you’re not enjoying. Give yourself time to feel full. If you want another helping of your favorite dish, go for it! Realize that mistakes will happen. If you overindulge at a meal don’t beat yourself up about it. Try to identify what triggered the overeating and avoid it at the next meal. Let go of the guilt. Another pro tip: Don’t skip your regular meals during the day. Skipping breakfast and lunch is only going to leave you starving and more likely to end up miserable on the couch after a big Thanksgiving dinner.
CHUG CHUG CHUG:
No, we aren’t talking about Eggnog. We are talking about good ole fashion H2O. Water is your best friend during the holidays. It will keep you feeling fuller, will help you fight a hangover after a few too many glasses of champagne, and will help protect your skin from the dry cold winter air. Sounds simple but I hate drinking water when it is cold out. Also, it is annoying to remove all those layers to go the bathroom 8x a day. I hear you. Get yourself a refillable water bottle and bring it to all your holiday parties. Set a water goal you will be surprised how easy staying hydrating can be. As a bonus, you’ll find that you drink less alcohol when you mix in water every now and again.
There you go. Three simple steps to make this holiday season your healthiest one yet. Stay active, watch your portion sizes, and drink water. Let go of all the guilt and pressure we put on ourselves to make things perfect and take time to enjoy our loved ones. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog series where we discuss all things new year resolutions. We will explore diets, exercise plans, and how to set realistic goals.
For more information about how to avoid weight gain and physician-supervised weight-loss options, do not hesitate to contact us!