♫ Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la– la la la la!

That’s right, soon we’ll be donning our gay apparel and getting ready for holiday fun, songs, and gifts.  And let us not forget the bountiful feast: pecan pie, honey-baked ham, sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping and candy cane truffles – Yum-yum! It causes me to pause and think of all the fun, family, and friends of holidays past.

Sweet treats and rich meals can be landmines for health-conscious people. Yet, no one wants to feel deprived during the jolliest season of all.  I confess, even as an expert in nutrition and metabolic medicine, I have a long history of letting the holidays get the better of me too.

Fear not – Read on. I promise, you’ll not be asked to lock yourself in a closet for the month or be made to eat a dinner of iceberg lettuce. There are more sensible and fun ways to navigate this territory and come out January 2nd even healthier.

  1. Nix the guilt. – Feeling guilty after eating foods you don’t usually allow yourself to eat can breed more unhealthy behaviors. So, abandon those negative voices in your head and remember to get back on track with your healthy eating routine as soon as possible.
  2. Three bites and good night. – Stick to the three-bite rule for desserts: The first bite is the best, the last the grand finale, and every bite in between is the same. In three bites, you get the full dessert experience, so really focus on savoring those three and you’re less likely to overindulge.
  3. If you drink alcohol, alternate the alcohol with sparkling water and stick with a 2 drink maximum. Alternating between an alcoholic beverage and a sparkling water can help you avoid pouring on the pounds. Plus, sparkling water keeps things festive and, bonus, you’ll avoid entering the hangover zone, a not-so-happy holiday tradition side-effect.
  4. Stay physically active. – If you are not a gym or sports buff, make a holiday tradition of walks or bike rides around the neighborhood or park with friends, family, or pets.
  5. Get enough rest. – Between holiday traveling, work schedules, and shopping, it can be easy to skimp on sleep in order to get your to-do-list done, but getting a consistent seven to nine hours of sleep every night helps regulate hormones, promotes recovery from workouts, and prevents daily fatigue. Plus, it keeps you from face-planting directly into that apple pie. There’s really no such thing as “catching up” on sleep, so the key is consistency.

To Your Good Health,

Dr. Dan Watts

Dr. Watts, MD, ND, MSNM and Lynne Streitmatter, APRN, MSN are experts in Bio-identical Hormone Balancing and Integrative Medicine.  With over 25 years experience in hormone balancing, a Board Certification in Integrative Medicine, a Post-doctoral Certification in Metabolic Endocrinology, and a Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative, and Functional Medicine, Dr. Watts has put together a number of programs that have helped thousands of people over the years.