We know that adults and children are prone to gaining weight over the holidays. Even if your weight doesn’t change, it’s common that your percent body fat will rise by the end of the holiday season. Holidays can also be stressful with pressure to impress co-workers or family members, and facing unresolved issues with people you generally avoid during the year that are now in front of you at the upcoming party. Below are some useful tips to survive the holiday stress – both on the belly and on your mental-emotional well-being.1. Know Thyself! Understand your own issues and plan your holiday events accordingly. If you know it’s likely that you’ll over-eat, then have a healthy snack before you go, to reduce your cravings at the party. If it’s a bad relationship with a specific co-worker or relative, then try to resolve it before the event, focus on the positive attributes of that person, consider forgiving them, or if you’re not ready for that, sit at the opposite end of the table, and make it a stress-free holiday.2. It’s a holiday, indulge yourself…but moderately! We’re not robots, so don’t feel ‘programmed’ like one. However, make a holiday goal for your weak areas. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, it’s okay to have a dessert, but you don’t need to have one of everything…pick the one you really want, eat it slowly, savour it, enjoy it.
3. Enjoy a nice family break. If you can’t arrange that holiday to Aruba, take the kids or grand-kids to the library…yes, the library can be a calm, peaceful, bonding, and enjoyable time with the family, the holidays don’t have to be all hustle-and-bustle.4. Be part of the solution! As a guest, you’ll want to bring a gift, but choose a wiser gift such as a plant, tea-mug set, or some beeswax candles…avoid the sugary, chocolaty, and fatty foods – do your part to make it a healthy holiday.5. Use your top two supporters…exercise and sleep. Exercising regularly will keep your holiday stress in balance…and your 7-8 hours of solid sleep can get you ready to face the busy shopping crowds, extended ‘year-end’ work hours, and keep your immune system humming instead of hacking.6. Fill up with fiber first, vegetable fiber that is…as with any meal at any time of the year, always start with your veggies. Eat the vegetable sticks and tiny tomatoes first, and then you’ll be less likely to go heavy into the rich appetizers.7. Plan a realistic schedule. Seeing both sides of the family with the kids and extended family in one evening is not realistic. Build in the balance, book potentially long family holiday events as a realistic 4-5 hour block, with some down time in-between if you plan two events in one day.8. Stick to the essentials…essence oils that is. Keep lavender essential oil with you, to keep you calm and headache-free…use citrus or rosemary essential oils to keep you awake and refreshed for the next holiday gathering. Before using essential oils, test it first on your skin for allergies, mixed with a carrier oil like grape seed or olive oil.9. Be a designated driver. Enjoy drinking sparkling water and virgin Caesar’s instead of alcohol. In terms of calories saved, you’re the winner…you won’t miss the 100 calories per glass of wine or shot of Scotch, you won’t miss the 150 calories per 12-ounce beer, and definitely not the 3 ounce martini at 195 calories. Hooray for you!
10. Be a good host/hostess. Inquire if any guests have food allergies, and be mindful of healthy options for appetizers and mains. For example serve chicken-satay instead of fried chicken wings…use salsa instead of creamy dips, ginger snaps instead of shortbread cookies…lettuce wraps instead of egg rolls…make it easy for you and your guests to have a healthy holiday meal11. Recall the good memories. Especially for seniors who may more easily get confused when under holiday stress, or who may be depressed remembering loved ones who are no longer here…it’s important to be interactive…use picture albums, video/DVDs, plan for time to include all members of the family, a sing along, a grandparent sharing past good memories through treasured stories12. Don’t drink your calories. A mixer juice and pop drink is about 100-150 calories per glass; in one night a few glasses can add up. Instead, drink soda water with a splash of juice for flavour. Drinking calories adds to your total calorie count very fast, instead choose to chew instead.
This article is brought to you by Bell Lifestyle Products. Bell Lifestyle Products has a wide selection of natural health products and nutritional supplements. Shop online or at 7,000+ nutrition stores and pharmacies across U.S.A and Canada.Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor who has a general family practice, with a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxify their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s learning and behavioural health, and chronic conditions in adults. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing.