BY DR REBECCA LEVY, MANLY VILLAGE MEDICAL
‘Tis the season to be jolly – yes, but hopefully not too silly! The Christmas season is a time when a lot of people’s good habits slide, or when we become more aware of our not-so-good habits.
Here are five tips to help keep you healthy over the season:
- Be realistic about what you can achieve – at this time of year, it’s not the best to start a weight loss program, so make your goal weight maintenance instead. It’s also a time of extra stress, both financial and emotional – don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t do everything you’d like or are supposed to like. Instead, intentionally set aside time for yourself to de-stress and choose a few festivities you really want to get involved in.
- Limit the “all-you-can-eat” mentality – indulging in special foods a couple of times, like Christmas Day or New Year’s eve, is not going to make any difference to your health, or “ruin your diet”. But a whole month’s worth of festivities can seriously set you back. Make sure you’re having a healthy breakfast, and get your vegetable and fruit intake earlier in the day, so you’re not “starving” by dinner.
- Keep hydrated – and not with alcohol! Water intake is especially important when the days are getting hotter and when there’s an abundance of rich foods (read salty, fatty or sweet). Alcohol dehydrates you, and is full of empty calories. Do yourself a favour and alternate alcoholic drinks with water, or by diluting wine or spirits with iced mineral water.
- Stick to that exercise program – this is all the more important in maintaining fitness and circadian rhythm when you’re eating differently to usual or staying up late. Never underestimate the benefits of exercise – you have to use some energy in order to make some energy!
- Wear masks when advised to do so – it’s a reality we’ve lived with for the past couple years, but Covid is not going away. Those most at risk for severe illness are the elderly and immune-suppressed, so if you have family gatherings with people at higher risk, consider providing face masks for your guests, and avoid shared food platters. Yes, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s simply common sense and common courtesy.
Above all, be kind to yourself, and kindness to others will naturally flow.