By Dr. Véronic Provencher MSc ND
Ah the holidays, the time for overindulgence, stress, and a few extra pounds to…ahem…keep us warm. Let’s change that this year by adding these four simple tips so that you can be healthier, happier, and on your way to a great New Year.
1- Exercise – If you’re away visiting family, consider looking into getting a drop in pass at the local gym . Or if you have company over consider finding an at-home work out program and doing it in your room before everyone wakes up. Remember gyms tend to be less busy during the holiday season, so perfect time to scope out a new personal trainer before all the New Years resolution folly starts!
2- Drink some water – The temptation to only drink egg-nog (or rum-nog) or other alcoholic beverages can be quite high during the holiday season and it’s easy to forget that water can even be an option. Consider sprucing it up to make it more festive with a touch of carbonated water, fresh/frozen cranberries, and/or mint. Don’t want to give up the alcohol? Then consider drinking one glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage to reduce the damage
3- Easy on the smorgasbord – To ensure that you make healthy choices, consider filling your plate only with fruits and veggies (excluding white potatoes), and eating that before even scoping out the remainder of the fare. Or if you’re worried that the temptation will be too great, eat before the event so that you can better control what you’re eating without relying too much on your willpower.
4- Don’t let stress get the better of you – Outside of eating healthy and exercise, your best defence against stress is taking some “me” time. Consider taking 5 minutes twice a day (once first thing in the morning, the other just before bed) to sit and meditate or focus on belly breathing. The action of focusing on your breath will help keep you grounded during this potentially stressful season. It is especially important to do it first thing in the morning as it will help set the tone for the day. Don’t worry if you have a zillion thoughts running through your head while you’re trying to meditate – it’s normal – acknowledge them and then let them go. Over time this will create a calmer more mindful you.
Remember the holiday season is all about spending time with your loved ones but you shouldn’t compromise your health habits and goals. Who knows, by sticking to your health goals you may also positively influence a friend or family member to do the same – and isn’t health one of the best gifts that you can give?
Dr. V is a Naturopathic Physician who graduated from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine. Prior to her medical studies, she completed both a BSc and a MSc at the University of Alberta. She has a keen interest in chronic disease and environmental health. However, she loves receiving patients with all types of conditions (or even patients that want to optimize their health). Are you getting enough sleep?
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