Holidays bring feelings of nostalgia, hope and love. We fill our days with family, laughter and….food. Holidays, with the endless string of parties, pastries and pressure to accept every invitation have the ability to negatively affect our health. We have heard that carrying extra weight around our middle increases our risk of heart disease. Did you also know that many heart attacks occur after partaking in a heavy meal? The risk is four fold within two hours of eating. When you consider the amount of saturated fat laden foods we eat from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and the stress associated with the holiday season, you can understand why it is important to take steps to protect ourselves. Be proactive and follow these simple tips to stave off excess weight and be healthy for the holidays.
- Maintain a regular fitness schedule. Add it to your calendar as you would any important appointment. Moving opens your internal pharmacy and enables your body to make its own medicine. Simply find something you enjoy and just move!
- Ensure proper hydration. Drink half your body weight in water and add coconut water for electrolytes and potassium. Electrolytes help maintain healthy electrical function in our body.
- Eat a salad prior to your event and fill up on fruit and vegetable appetizers. High fiber foods leave you feeling full and keep your digestive system on track.
- Peruse before you choose. See what is available before you fill your plate. If you know you really want a slice of pecan pie; make healthier choices from the main course and side dishes.
- Avoid drinking your calories. In addition to the excess calories, the added sugar of sweet tea and sodas can lower your immune system for several hours.
- Limit inflammatory foods. Too many desserts, highly processed foods and animal proteins can increase inflammation in our body that causes heart disease, strokes and gastrointestinal issues.
- Practice Dr. Sears’ “Rule of Twos”. Eat twice as often, half as much, chew twice as long and take twice the time to dine.
- Just say no. Graciously declining invitations can keep you sane. We often over-extend ourselves during the holidays and wind up paying the price down the road.
Above all, know that you are in control of your health. The choices we make today will impact our health in the future. Protect yourself by incorporating a clean, whole food diet as well as take a whole food product to help bridge the nutrition gap. Antioxidants are key factors to reducing the damage of inflammatory foods typical of this time of year. Although the average person gains between 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the good news is, you don’t have to be “average.” Contact me for help staying on track!