In part one of this blog, I explained how overindulgence in holiday fare can really sabotage the season’s merry and offered suggestions to help you accomplish your health goals, despite the ulterior motives of fruitcakes and gingerbread men. Here I offer a few more.
- Focus on the benefits you’ll receive from your actions rather than the difficulties of the tasks. One of my favorite quotes is by David Campbell. He said, “Discipline is remembering what you want.” I find that that quote can completely change my perspective when I’m having difficulty following through on a commitment to myself. Something I feel I “should” do or “have to” do becomes instead something I choose to do because it’s moving me closer to my goal and what I want.
- Watch the holiday spirits; imbibe in moderation. Excessive drinking can cause a host of problems, in addition to the obvious risks of drinking and driving or saying something you’ll regret at the office holiday party. In order to metabolize alcohol, the body uses up nutrients—many of which are the same nutrients required to produce and maintain energy. This means that if you’re drinking, you will have fewer nutrients available to keep you energetic and alert throughout the day. Also, alcohol has 7 calories per gram. (Meanwhile, those carbohydrates that many people avoid like Aunt Sally’s knitted reindeer sweater have only 4 calories per gram.) Finally, alcohol’s effect on judgement can give you a lackadaisical attitude about the rest of your dietary goals and cause you to succumb to other temptations that may not be in your body’s best interest.
- Exercise your freedom of choice. Just because something is on the table, you’re not required to eat it. Celebrate the season by focusing on foods that are delicious, healthy, and a maybe a little bit novel. If you can have a roll any day of the week, why waste your food allotment on it? Before you go through the buffet, imagine how you’ll feel—not only during, but after eating various foods. If you know you’ll wind up with an upset stomach or sugar coma within half an hour after eating a particular food, you may decide the payoff isn’t worth it.
- Finally, focus on things besides food. Even though it may seem that everything holiday related revolves around food, it doesn’t have to. Take advantage of the extra time off and create some new holiday traditions. Below are some examples.
-Walk around your neighborhood or a mall to look at lights and decorations.
-Organize a board game night and serve healthy snacks.
-Get a massage. It relieves stress, improves circulation, and softens stiff muscles.
-Organize a friend or family outing: winter hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or even a scenic drive.
-Attend a holiday performance.
-Snuggle in with a book and a blanket.
In the spirit of giving this holiday season, give yourself the gift of healthy eating and the freedom to make the choices that are best for you.
About the Author:
Dr. Lise Naugle (ND) is an associate of Dr. James L. Wilson. She assists healthcare professionals with clinical assessment and treatment protocols related to adrenal dysfunction and stress, and questions regarding the use of Doctor Wilson’s Original Formulations® supplements. With eleven years in private practice focusing on stress and adrenal health, she offers both clinical astuteness and a wealth of practical knowledge. Dr. Naugle also maintains updated information about the latest scientific research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and develops educational materials about stress and health for clinicians and their patients.