Post on: November 26, 2019.

Posted in: Read.

How to stay healthy over the holidays and avoid weight gain.

Gravy, shortbread, and candy canes – oh, my!  How will you survive the holidays?

With it’s piles of decadent food that can cause bloating, headaches and tight waistbands, it’s hard to avoid that “Bah-humbug!” feeling. But, you can! Here’s a little gift from me to you. Go on…unwrap this Healthy Holiday Survival Guide and discover how to stay healthy on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali and every holiday.


5 Ways to Stay Healthy during the Holidays

  1. Sing it loud
  2. Dig in! Indulge a little.
  3. Avoid holiday stress
  4. The best offence is a good defense
  5. Toast the holidays

1. Sing it!

“All I want for Christmas is..” for the holidays to be merry and bright! Sing it! Researchers have found that singing lowers your stress hormone, coritsol, reduces anxiety and causes your brain to release those feel-good endorphins. So, if you’re feeling wrapped-up in holiday stress don’t let it take the joy out of the season – sing a little tune and feel better.

2. Dig In! Indulge a little.

Go on and indulge in some treats, but fill most of your plate with vegetables to avoid holiday weight gain.

It’s the holidays – dig In! Celebrate with family and friends while surrounded by mounds of food. If it’s high calorie foods though, it’s a recipe for weight gain. Healthy holiday survival means choosing to eat a little of these delicious, irresistible, unhealthy foods. Don’t over-eat them! You’ll just be left feeling lethargic, disappointed in your choices and with a tummy ache. It’s hard not to overeat: researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Quinnipiac University studied two years of people’s eating habits, and found both the quantity of food and calorie-content increased on holidays. Instead, choose a smaller plate. Eat some, but not loads of unhealthy foods. Fill half of your plate with vegetables or fruit. Stick to one dessert per meal. Worried the holiday feast won’t have any healthy options, bring one, like this beautiful anti-aging salad, or other healthy, whole food recipes from Aging Bites.

3. Avoid Holiday Stress

Don’t stress about it. Researchers have found that stress is linked to weight gain. When American researchers analyzed nine years of data from 1,355 men and women, they found psychosocial stress related to work, personal relationships, life constraints and finances were associated with weight gain. Yikes! Let’s add taking a breathe to your healthy holiday survival guide. Try to let Uncle Vernon’s terrible jokes roll off your shoulder, or try not fret so much about whether your mother in-law will like what you’ve made. How does stress cause weight gain? Stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol triggers certain fat cells to release triglycerides offering your body sufficient energy to deal with stress. Other fat cells, such as those in the abdomen, are triggered by cortisol to absorb triglycerides. Between the decorating, cooking and cleaning, any holiday can be stressful. For a healthier holiday, take a break every day. Go for a walk outside, take a hot bath, practice meditation, deep breathing or yoga.

4. The Best Offense is a Good Defense

A healthy holiday survival guide would not be complete without a little shout out to our immune systems. Thanks for keeping us healthy! Aaaachoo! Oh, not healthy. Those old fashioned remedies, such as orange juice, chicken soup and fruits and vegetables are actually scientifically proven to offer some help. Dig in! And, we can’t forget about probiotics. The British Journal of Nutrition reported some probiotics reduce the number of sick days one needs to take when suffering from a cold. That might be helpful when trying to recover in time for the relatives to arrive.

Drink up!
Hydrating can help prevent headaches and fatigue. To help you survive the holidays without gaining weight, avoid drinks with sugar.

5. Toast the Holidays

Wrapping your fingers around a mug of steaming tea or hot cocoa is a cozy way to enjoy the holidays. But, be savvy of the calories in your cup if you’re trying to avoid weight gain. Cocktails, lattes and hot chocolates are high in calories. Instead, toast with hot water and lemon, or herbal tea whenever possible. Drink up! When the heaters are on, the indoor air dry and can cause the body to dehydrate faster. Headaches, pronounced wrinkles, dry skin and constipation are associated with dehydration.

Cheers, to you and your loved ones enjoying a healthy holiday season!


References:

Daily, Week-Part, and Holiday Patterns in Consumers’ Caloric Intake Adwait Khare and J. Jeffrey Inman. Daily, Week-Part, and Holiday Patterns in Consumers’ Caloric Intake. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 2009; 28 (2): 234

Block, J. et al. Psychosocial Stress and Change in Weight Among US Adults. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2009) 170 (2): 181-192. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp104

de Vrese, M. et al. Probiotic bacteria stimulate virus-specific neutralizing antibiodies following a booster polio vaccination. Eur J Nutr 2005 Oct;44(7):406-13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15578195

Smith, T. et al.  Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG® and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12® on health-related quality of life in college students affected by upper respiratory infections. British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 109 / Issue 11 / June 2013, pp 1999-2007