by Natalie Loschiavo RD LDN
Maintaining balance during the holiday season is difficult, to say the least. There are tasty desserts, dinner parties and decadent drinks at every turn. It’s easy to approach the holiday season with an all-or-nothing mindset. Either we eat with complete abandon, and mindlessly munch on whatever is put in front of us, or we try to avoid it all, feeling deprived of the enjoyable tastes of the holiday. While it is common belief that individuals, on average, gain 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years, recent studies like the one published in the New England Journal of Medicine conclude that average is actually closer to a pound–if that. These studies also report that the original estimates of weight gain from the holidays were not based on any type of reliable data.
So while it is important to remain mindful during the holiday season, there is no need to deprive. Our bodies can manage short-term changes in our diet without significant or lasting weight or health implications. The key to a balanced holiday season follows these few simple principles:
- Move your body with consistent, mindful exercise to help manage stress and connect with and engage your body.
- Eat adequately and regularly to avoid extreme hunger which can lead to over eating.
- Make thoughtful decisions about what you really want to eat. Make choices based on your taste preference and your nutrient needs rather than just eating something because it’s in front of you or simply avoiding something because it has sugar in it.
- And most importantly, take time to enjoy the holidays—the food, the fellowship and the traditions of the season.
The bottom line in finding balance and maintaining good health at any time of year is to honor your body with regular, nutritious food, move your body with enjoyable physical activity and relieve your body from the stresses of everyday life with daily self-care. With that, that incredible body you have, will take care of the rest.