Nutrition During the Holidays

Nutrition & Self Care During The Holidays

The holidays are a busy and hectic time for most of us. We spend a lot of time juggling family dinners, get-togethers with friends, work parties and shopping adventures, leaving us little time for our own self care. As time becomes scarce and stress becomes overwhelming, many times we eat unconsciously, forget to eat, grab what ever is available and have little time and energy for activity and relaxation. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine (March 23, 2000) cites that most Americans gain one pound of body weight during the holidays which is not lost. This adds up to many pounds over the years.

During this hectic and stressful time it is important to remind ourselves that it’s ok to take a break and ask for help. We may also want to evaluate our “to do list” and see if there are things on it that we can let go.

Tips for surviving the holidays:

  • Try to get enough sleep
  • Delegate projects and errands when possible
  • Try to allow yourself 30 minutes or more each day of self care (massage, walks, naps, yoga, meditation, dancing, reading, movies, music)
  • Eat breakfast daily
  • Pack along snacks
  • Practice paying attention to when your body is hungry and comfortably full, and respond accordingly. You may find that you need smaller portions.
  • Try to put less focus on the food and enjoy the conversation and activities at parties
  • Watch the amount of alcoholic drinks as they can inhibit your ability to feel your body’s hunger and fullness signals and you may end up over eating
  • Enjoy the more exotic treats and leave the ordinary ones for another day
  • Set up walking dates instead of lunch dates with friends
  • Try to save some room for dessert, or consider eating it first if that’s what you really want
  • Send “Happy New Year” cards in the middle of January instead of holiday cards
  • Consider low calorie and low fat options of certain foods and drinks
  • Don’t go ravenous to parties; have a snack or small meal before you arrive
  • Watch the extras: whipped cream, dressing, butter, dips