By Stephany Porter, ND, FABNO, naturopathic doctor at The Bodhi Clinic
The holiday season is just around the corner and it is a time of joy, laughter and gatherings. This can also be a time of stress, overindulgence and distractions from our normal habits. How can you develop healthy habits now that will serve you throughout this holiday season? Here are some tips:
Beyond Grazing: Grazing can be good when we have healthy choices, however at a holiday party, or multiple holiday parties, this habit can get us in trouble. It would be best to fill a plate when you arrive and enjoy the bounty, then stop and spend the rest of the time enjoying the wonderful company.
Plan Ahead: Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. If you plan ahead, you can head off temptation for unhealthy holiday eating. For example, if you’re going to a party or an event where you know you’ll be tempted, eat some healthy food first so you won’t show up starving and have only decadent options at your disposal. Learn your triggers, and have strategies for combating them.
Second Helpings: When eating, it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to let the brain know it is full. Make sure you wait 20 minutes before going for seconds, no matter how good it is.
Remember to Exercise: A simple walk after meals or in the morning when you have more time can make a huge difference on how your body handles the abundance of food it will be exposed to. Exercise also helps you manage stress.
Remember to Relax: Relaxation techniques can come in handy to help you handle the abundance of stress that comes with a busy schedule. Simple deep breathing exercises 1-3 times per day can have an amazing effect on our body. Make sure your breaths are deep and your stomach should poke out like a “Buddha Belly” when you breathe in (not when you breathe out).
Ask for Help: Don’t try to accomplish all of the holiday shopping, wrapping, cooking, decorating and errands by yourself. Ask members of your family to assist you in various tasks and reduce your workload by eliminating unnecessary jobs. Do you really need to hand-address and mail 100 greeting cards? If it takes up too much time or is too stressful, consider just not doing it.
Enjoy stress-free holidays with family and friends, without picking up extra pounds. Practice these new healthy habits and you will be amazed at the difference. A little “reigning in” goes a long way.