3 Easy Shifts for a Healthier Holiday Season

As a health professional, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges associated with the holiday season. Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a great time of the year; however, too much food and not enough time causes otherwise organized, practical, healthy people to feel overwhelmed and out of control. “So much to do—so little time,” becomes a mantra. It’s so easy to go from highly energetic, looking and feeling good, to broke, grumpy, and out of shape.

This year can be different.

With some ground rules and pre-planning, you can enjoy the holiday season, stay in budget, and maintain your weight.

The holidays are billed as, “The most wonderful time of the year.”  Yet, a growing to do list, endless expenditures, and little or no exercise can contribute to stress and overextension. Stress contributes to cravings for calorie-dense, sugary foods.

This year decide to “do” the holidays differently.

Reduce personal and financial stress by choosing to participate in traditions that still bring you and your family joy and retire those that don’t. Family traditions should be happy occasions to gather and celebrate. If neither are of those are present, it might be time to retire the tradition. Then, create a new tradition that you really want to do, doesn’t cause undue stress, and is budget friendly.

Feel satisfied by choosing foods that taste good and nourish you. Eating real food helps you feel and look your best. Choose a variety of vegetables, lean protein, some fruit, little starch, and monosaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Save your calories for the occasional pieces of homemade pie with real whipped cream, yummy crab dip, and your favorite cocktail. Make it a holiday rule to say “NO” to processed foods like chips, packaged cookies, candy, and anything that comes out of a package that makes noise. When you eat real food in moderate quantities regularly, you’ll find yourself well energized and able to sneak in a splurge without creating damage to your waistline.

Remain energized for all the activities of the season by choosing to be active throughout the season. Walk whenever you can– the Christmas tree farm or lot, the shopping mall, and after as many meals as possible. Maximize time by choosing exercises and activities that use your whole body like walking, swimming, biking, stair climbing, and bodyweight movements. When you cannot get outside, make TV time your workout time.  Commit to watching holiday TV specials, movies, and football games from the floor. While you’re down there, stretch, or unwind with a few yoga poses.

These three shifts will lead to less stress, better nutrition, and steady energy so you can enjoy a fulfilling holiday season without breaking the bank or acquiring unwanted pounds.


Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.