The Christmas Holidays are the perfect storm for increased stress, fatigue and unfortunately increased weight too. Here are some tips to keep your energy up, stress levels down, and stay on track with healthy eating this festive season.

1. Exercise – Don’t get so caught up in all the holiday hustle that you feel there is not enough time to exercise… MAKE TIME! If you don’t do so already, you should start now to make a daily exercise routine one of your top priorities and here is why: 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise helps to decrease overall stress and anxiety, help with depression and above all make you feel strong, and a strong body = a strong mind, and a strong mind means that you can conquer christmas craziness and feel great about it. In addition it may also compensate for the extra shortbread you scooped off Santa’s cookie plate:) Here are some examples of fun and easy exercise:

  • Walk/run – you can do this outside or on a treadmill. Be cautious in slippery conditions and wear shoes with good tread. I suggest walk/run to people who aren’t avid runners because its easier on your joints and muscles than a constant run and anyone can do it, at their own pace and intensity.
  • Brisk walking – but remember to get your heart rate up, if the conditions allow find a graded route with some uphill component.
  • Local yoga or pilates classes
  • Zumba – or any other group classes offered at local gyms
  • Swimming – this is an affordable and accessible form of exercise, check the hours at your local pool online or by telephone.

2. Eat and drink small portions – Much of the holidays are filled with parties and dinners, and usually lots and lots of delicious foods that only come around once a year. The worst thing you can do unless you are a mental Hercules, is limit yourself and say no to EVERYTHING! For “most” people this usually rebounds and you end up overindulging anyways. Eat very small parts/pieces of the some things that are “not so good for you”, like sweets and simple carbohydrates. It’s okay to taste, then you are satisfied and not miserable, without feeling guilty the next day, because you ate or drank too much of a bad thing. Try not to drink alcohol on an empty stomach and drink lots of water, alternate one drink with a glass of water.

3. Eat lots of vegetables – Christmas is actually the perfect time to make nutritious and healthy choices. The average christmas dinner menu usually consists of an assortment of healthy root vegetables, leafy greens like brussel sprouts and salads and lean proteins like turkey. So make the majority of your dinner healthy veggies! Choose ONE carb for your dinner plate – my advice is to skip the dinner buns and mashed potatoes and instead have a piece of yam which has a lower glycemic index and will not spike your blood insulin levels. The best way to manage weight is to control your insulin levels by eating healthy complex carbohydrates, proteins and lots of vegetables. Here are some healthy Xmas recipe alternatives!!

4. Rest and Relax – Balance the holiday madness with some zen time, do some yoga, take time to meditate, curl up with a good book and/or have a bubble bath. Also, try to get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep per night.

5. Get outside – The winter season is bad enough for your vitamin D levels, especially when you are stuck under the Okanagan overcast. So, take the dog for good long walks (in the daylight if you can), go snow shoeing, skiing, or take the kids tobogganing. Being active with your family will not only burn extra calories compared to sitting on the couch but will also provide an escape from the dreaded shopping list. Giving you a chance to enjoy what Christmas is really about anyways; spending quality time with family and making memories for many more christmas’ to come.

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