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Keep Your Health on Track This Holiday Season

Family eating dinnerBuffet tables dripping with decadent desserts. Gifts of cookies and candy. Being too stressed or tired to exercise. During the holiday season, it’s extremely easy to forget all our nourishing health habits and get derailed from those, which leads to making the same New Year’s resolutions, such as exercising more, losing weight, eating clean, managing stress, etc.

There’s also a tendency this time of year to adopt a preemptive battle plan of going hardcore in terms of diet and exercise during the weeks or months leading up to the holidays, and then stopping. That’s bad for the body, and such an approach is unsustainable. Instead, make little incremental changes that can yield big health dividends.

The 4 Cores of Healthy Living

To minimize damage and keep yourself healthy in the midst of the frenetic holiday season, remember these cores:

#1: Eat well.

From stuffing to decadent Nanaimo bars and all the other seasonal treats that will entice you at holiday get-togethers, eating protein first thing in the morning can help keep you full and satisfied. In particular, eating 30 grams of protein can help avoid the yo-yo rollercoaster sugar effect. If we have protein or fat first thing in the morning, that will help level that effect throughout the day.

If you show up to a party or dinner feeling content and well fed, you will be less likely to gorge yourself too much. While you can still enjoy some dishes, you won’t feel ravenous and tempted to fill your plate to the brim. Not sure what will be served? Offer to bring a healthy dish you enjoy (e.g. roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic) so you know you will at least get some nutritious food in you before partaking of the less nutrient-dense dishes.

If there are many foods served, try to fill your plate with as many good nutritious dishes as possible, because if you have higher quality nutrition beforehand, you’re less likely to splurge on too much of the bad stuff.

#2. Move well.

As calorie consumption rises a big energy crash often ensues and sleepiness sets in. Avoid falling into a tryptophan or cookie coma after your holiday dinner. After that big meal, instead of heading to the sofa for a nap, go for a 20-minute walk, which will aid digestion and moderate the blood sugar response.

Walk by yourself if you could use a break from the noise or create a new family tradition, and have everyone take a walk around the block. To make it more fun, go sledding or ice skating with your kids.

Remember, you don’t have to engage in a full and intense workout at the gym to experience the effects of exercise. It’s all about moving, so enjoy some time outside with friends or family this season.

#3. Think well.

The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on all you’re grateful for. A simple exercise is to list the 3-4 things that you’re thankful for or enjoy doing, and then try to plan out more of those events in the coming year. Conversely, you can think about those things that were stressful this year, so you could avoid them in the New Year and keep tension at bay.

#4. Heal well.

Think about some actions you can take to help your body recover and heal as best as possible. For example, getting sufficient sleep is important. While you don’t want to disrupt your sleep routine too much, give yourself permission to sleep a bit more each night or take an afternoon nap.

Another important piece of the wellness puzzle is supplementing. In particular, we recommend taking vitamin D, which can promote a healthier immune system. You can also do the 21-day Detox 101 or consider fasting for a day.

Here’s wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year!

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