It can be hard to resist a spread of decadent food over the holidays. But as much as you might prepare for gorging by dieting in advance, Natalia Groat, a registered dietitian at Harborview Medical Center, says that plan can backfire.
Dieting causes your body to think it’s starving, so it slows down your metabolism to hold on to nutrients of whatever you do eat. That means you could end up gaining weight when you stop dieting.
The best way to eat guilt-free? Groat advises mindfulness. Eat the foods you like, just in smaller portions, and be conscious of how your body feels and what it needs. In between holiday meals and parties, adhere to your normal routine of what you eat that makes you feel good.
Don’t fall victim to the holiday hustle— Here’s advice to make the holidays more healthy and less stressful.
Francoise Adan, MD, ABIHM, Director, University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network, offers these tips for a healthy holiday season.
The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration and quality time with family and friends. However, when trying to manage our families and navigate all of the festivities, this season is often a catalyst for a lot of stress and anxiety. Not to mention that many of us let go of the healthy habits we have been fostering all year.
With the added emotional strain, skipping regular exercise and overloading on food and alcohol makes us even more susceptible to holiday blues. This year, instead of falling victim to the holiday hustle—set the tone you want for this season. Be the change you wish to see and influence those around you to do the same!
Holiday Eating: This season it is not about feeling guilty or “derailing your diet.” Think portion control. Be intentional about eating healthy during non-holiday meals. Try eating a light healthy snack before going to holiday events. This way you will have more control when it is time for the main course, without depriving yourself of your holiday favorites. Moderation is key—but enjoy yourself!
Time Management: It’s hard not to feel pulled in too many directions this time of year. With all of the to-do lists and planning ahead, when do you find time to actually absorb the meaning of all of it? This year, be more selective with your priorities and let go of impossible expectations. Simplify holiday traditions and commitments and do not overschedule yourself. Talk to your family about which traditions are most important. Make a list of your holiday commitments and say no to any unnecessary stressors.
Holiday Shopping: Just thinking of holiday lines and chaos can elicit feelings of overwhelm. And even if you elect to shop online, it can still be worrisome trying to find the “perfect” gifts for our loved ones. One idea is to take the pressure off by simply asking what they want. However, that sort of takes the fun out of things. Gift cards are always safe, but when possible, giving personalized gifts is a nice touch. Chances are your friends and family are just as wound up during the holidays as you. Let them know you care about their well-being. Think about gifting them relaxation with a massage session or yoga class.
Self-Care: Do not forget to manage your own well-being. Instead of resisting all that comes with the holidays, acknowledge that stress is a healthy reaction to things we perceive as threatening. This season, be intentional about managing your stress so that it does not become detrimental your health and holiday spirit. As you are thinking of making things perfect for everyone else, remember to take time for yourself. Set the tone for the New Year and stop putting off that me-time you always plan to schedule eventually. Take a deep breath—try meditation for the first time or buy yourself a massage when you purchase them for others. Add at least one gift for yourself on that long list of things to do for everyone else.
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