With sugarplums and figgy puddings dancing in our heads this season, it can be a challenge for anyone to stay on track with their clean eating goals and to avoid holiday weight gain. Extra calories abound, whether it’s from those delicious sugar cookies at the office or the extra slice of pecan pie after dinner, and added obligations can take time from our regular fitness routines. How can you have a healthy holiday season and avoid the “Festive Fifteen?”

  1. Don’t Hide the Scale

Weighing in a couple times a week can be a great checkpoint for keeping up with your holiday health goals. Dr. Michael Dansinger, MD, assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, says this is “often enough to make sure you’re staying healthy this holidays season,” but not so often that you begin to stress out about the ups and downs associated with the occasional holiday indulgence.

  1. Work That Willpower

Strengthening your will to say “NO” to all the extras works just like strengthening your muscles; the more you practice, the stronger your resolve. The key to making this a successful exercise is to think outside the take-out box; you should also check in during non-food moments, too. Stay up for that re-run of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or get to bed for those 8 hours of rest? Utilizing every opportunity to stay on track will ensure you have a healthy holiday season.

  1. Keep Calm and Breathe On

Whether it’s a looming year-end deadline, losing the last parking spot at the mall, or thinking about where to put your out-of-town guests, the holiday season can be a major source of stress that can ultimately lead to “stress-eating.” According to Harvard Health, “physical or emotional distress increases the intake of food high in fat, sugar or both (comfort foods),” thanks to the stress hormone cortisol. Before grabbing a plate at the company party, make sure to practice some deep breathing and other stress reduction exercises, techniques proven to help calm your parasympathetic nervous system and ultimately help avoid holiday weight gain.

  1. Pick Protein

Standing before a buffet of delicious dishes can undermine your willpower—what’s the harm in gaining a couple holiday pounds again? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the problem here is that most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the holidays. At that rate, a new year will mean a new size! A great way to get a satisfying sampling is to pick proteins. Proteins can help maintain healthy weights because they do not spike blood sugar (which can lead to overeating), are typically lower in calories, and they help maintain muscle mass in the body. Grilled shrimp anyone?

  1. Walk It Off

During this season of plenty (to-do), it’s essential to take time for exercise. Maintaining an exercise regime is important for stress reduction, burning off any extra calories, and to ease back and joint pain. Aches and stiffness can flare up when muscles are tight and weak from underuse, so adding an after-dinner-walk to your holiday traditions is a great way to keep pain at bay so you can stay more active.

 Are Aches And Pains Dampening Your Holiday Spirit?

Our mission at Health Star Clinic is to provide you with quick and efficient non-surgical pain relief, so you can leave our team healthier and happier. Call us today to learn more about how a customized treatment plan can help you eliminate your pain!