Staying healthy throughout the holidays

  • Easy to overindulge: We are now in the busiest month of the year, where food and drink can become our focus (Photograph supplied).

    Easy to overindulge: We are now in the busiest month of the year, where food and drink can become our focus (Photograph supplied).

How was your Thanksgiving?

Was it a Thanksgiving Day or a week’s worth of indulgence?

We are now in the busiest month of the year, where food and drink can become our focus.

Sure, it can lead to weight gain but we must think about our overall health as well. Let’s look at a few ways to stay healthy during the holiday season:

Limit indulging to special days

No one gains weight eating a filling Thanksgiving dinner or indulging on a Christmas lunch. However, when what should be limited to special occasions takes place every day, that’s when everything changes. Try to keep the splurge events to specific times such as Christmas Day, or at your Christmas party. You’ll protect your waistline and those events will feel even more special.

Stay focused on your immune health

With increased stresses, sugary foods, fluctuating weather, sick co-workers and family members, the holidays are practically an invitation for colds and flu. Eating fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C such as broccoli and cauliflower or kiwis and oranges are ways to strengthen your immune system.

Too much sugar — in treats, sweet cocktails and speciality coffees — can lower your immune system. Try to increase your water intake; instead of alcohol, consider sipping on mineral water or club soda with lime. It’s a refreshing alternative that will also keep you hydrated.

Ask for help

Too many of us try to juggle every single holiday task — gift buying, cooking; everything the holidays demand — and end up taking on more than we can handle. Ask for help.

It might be as simple as getting your children to set the table or give you a hand in the kitchen; it could mean hiring a housekeeper for the holidays or getting your significant other involved in gift wrapping.

This year, maybe consider a potluck dinner where everyone contributes their favourite healthy Christmas recipes.

Exercise first

Getting sidetracked and blowing off your workout is easily done during the holidays. Knock it out early in the day whenever possible — before obligations sidetrack you. Your workout will also boost your endorphins and have you feeling good throughout the day.

Get your rest

Too little sleep can leave you stressed out over things that wouldn’t normally bother you. Create a sleep pattern where you shut off electronics an hour or two before bed; take a hot bath and create ways to unwind. If you find stress keeps you awake, keep a journal by your bed and write down your worries. They’ll still be there when you get up, but you’ll be better equipped to handle them with a good night’s rest.


Managing your stress during the holidays is necessary if you want to be able to cope with all the deadlines, store crowds — and difficult family members. A day at the spa can be expensive, try cutting back in other areas so you can have that special time to get away.

Aside from that, simple things like coffee or tea with your bestie, a hot bath before bed or a five-minute stretch can lower your stress and leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Make holidays about family and fun, not food

Try not to overindulge at lunch and then sit around watching TV or sleeping all afternoon. I am planning a run on Christmas morning and a bike ride on Boxing Day. Make the holidays active or interactive. Build in fun festivities that don’t involve food — football, board games or a family outing that gets everyone moving.

Balance is key. You can enjoy the festivities and food and keep your health in mind. Most importantly, remember to have fun. Life happens quickly and, before you know it, New Year’s Day will be here. Don’t let moments of magic and joy slip by during the holidays.

Stay healthy, enjoy the holidays and B-Active For Life!

Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook.

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Published Dec 4, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 4, 2019 at 8:08 am)

Staying healthy throughout the holidays

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