Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Fork with measuring tape

With the closing of 2015 we approach that time of the year in which time changes, holidays come near and colder weather keeps us from many outdoor activities. What most people struggle with during this time of the year is the elusive diet plan. As simple as it sounds, I tell my patients all of the time: "Eat to live, don't live to eat." Having a balanced diet of protein (meat), carbs, fruits and vegetables, while avoiding sugars, will only help you. Also, it is important that you do not skip meals. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories, so keep this value in mind when planning your meals for the day.

My patients regularly ask how to eat during the holidays. I tell them that eating well every day around the holiday will allow them to enjoy a holiday meal with moderation. If you are hypertensive, limit the salt intake. If you are diabetic, most certainly avoid the sweets or they will throw off your system and it may take days to get back to normal. If you have high cholesterol and heart disease, limit the fried foods and red meat during the holidays by eating more baked fish, turkey or chicken. Also, put a limit on butter, sour cream, and prepared sauces. Limit your intake of soft drinks, including diet pop, and avoid alcohol use.

The main key to enjoying the holidays without breaking the scale is to be conscious of your diet and stay active. Keep your calories burned greater than the calories taken in and you will not fall into the revolving door of gaining five to ten pounds during the winter months and spending the spring and summer trying to lose the weight, only to gain it back during the next holiday season. Our community provides a wealth of activities for us to keep moving if we choose to avoid the outdoors during the colder months. The YMCA, local fitness centers and even the mall provide plentiful places to walk indoors. At work you can avoid the elevators and use the stairs as a way to keep active and burn calories.

The human body was not designed to stay inactive, so I repeat myself: Eat to live, don't live to eat. Take regular walks, avoid elevators and take the stairs as much as possible and eat a healthy balanced diet daily. This will allow you to partake of the upcoming holiday meals in moderation and enjoy the family gatherings.