The amount of yummy food available in the month of December is incredible. Home baked goodies, office parties, Grandma’s holiday feast, food given as gifts; it’s everywhere and very tempting to eat, even for naturopathic doctors and medical physicians! For most of us, we tend to gain weight between November 23 and the New Year. Not to mention all the sugar and treats can lower our immune systems, create general sluggishness and make it hard to think clearly. I am going to share some of my favorite holistic healing strategies for staying healthy during the holidays. Don’t go to that party hungry. We’ve all heard this one before, but it’s probably one of the best tips out there. It’s like going grocery shopping when you’re hungry; you’re more likely to make poor choices. Don’t skip breakfast before Christmas dinner. Many folks will eat light early in the day, “saving room” for the holiday feast at Grandma’s. You will still be hungry and will enjoy the meal, but won’t gorge yourself into a turkey-coma. Focus on maintaining your weight now! If you want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it; maintaining weight is enough of a challenge! Don’t fall into the trap of “I’m going to start dieting in January, so I might as well eat whatever I want now!” Remember, the more you gain now, the more you’ll have to lose later! Take the focus off food. So many holiday gatherings are centered on food. Consider having a party with board games, or have everyone make ornaments and tell stories; all activities that aren’t 100% food focused. Be aware of the calories you are drinking. Alcohol, eggnog, hot chocolate with whipped cream…all come packed with hidden, nutrient-poor calories. Don’t deny yourself 100% of the holiday foods. When it comes to holistic health care and all natural weight loss, the key is moderation. Relax and keep your stress levels down. The holidays can be very stressful, and it’s common to self-medicate with sweet holiday foods in order to feel better. Instead, breathe deeply, go for a walk, and keep your stress level in check. Your state of mind always affects your body and holistic healing. Above all, enjoy the holidays. Remember they are not about food, but about spending time with those you love. Have fun, and enjoy that occasional cookie.
Dr. Seema Kanwal, ND
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