Vionic Innovation Lab expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, gives his two tips on keeping it healthy through the holiday season.
The holidays can be a tricky time for anyone attempting to keep up a health-conscious lifestyle. With so many sweet treats and high-calorie foods on the menu, it can be difficult to stay disciplined and keep the pounds off. Fortunately, the idea that Americans put on between five and ten pounds during the holiday season is more of a myth than a reality. In actuality, that number is closer to one pound, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. It’s easy to be diverted from our healthy habits during the holidays, but it need not happen.
A couple of tips for healthy holiday habits:
• When it comes to food, keep in mind that it’s much more important to avoid sweets than fats. Recent research indicates that saturated fat – the kind that stays solid at room temperature – does not appear to contribute to heart disease risk, and may play a vital role in creating a feeling of fullness that can help your diet stay on track. So skip the candy and cookies, but enjoy some full–fat cheese from the holiday appetizer platter. If sweet foods are unavoidable, simply take a small helping – chances are, you won’t be the only one trying to stay the healthy course during this time of year!
• As for exercise, a packed schedule and snowy streets can make your usual run or bike ride challenging, but in my experience, asking, “Who wants to take a walk?” usually gets an enthusiastic response from a houseful of guests (who may, like you, be experiencing a bit of cabin fever). Start out with a short trip around the block, giving older relatives a chance to return home, then keep going with friends and relatives who crave a longer outdoor excursion. These walks can be a great time to both get some exercise and connect with people we have not seen for too long!
Above all, remember that the holidays should be about love, family and friends. If you find yourself drifting toward stress and consumerism, you have every right to set limits and make your priorities clear. You’ll likely find that those close to you agree. Together, you can make plans for a simpler, less stressful, more joyful holiday.