Caution: Holiday Health Hazards Ahead!

Posted on Dec 22, 2023

By Dr. Brent Hunter

This is a wonderful time of year! It is a time of happiness and joy with family and friends. It is a time of enjoyment and fun at Holiday parties all season long. It is a time of anticipation of what the new year will bring. The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year!

However, this time of year is also filled with many situations that are potentially hazardous to your health! Are you like most people who dive into these holiday health hazards disregarding the consequences? Then, January rolls around and brings the new year blues with it. You are 15 pounds heavier, your clothes are ‘suddenly’ tighter, you don’t feel like working out and to top it all off, you’re coming down with the flu!

How did happy and excited turn into sad and sick in just one month? This does not have to be your experience again this year! It is okay to enjoy an occasional indulgence but you do not have to throw out the healthy habits you have worked so hard to build throughout the year. Learn now how to successfully navigate your way through the holiday health hazards ahead so that you can get your new year off to a vibrant start!

How to Handle Holiday Health Hazards

The Christmas Party – The Nutritional Bomb

The Christmas party can certainly be a big Holiday health hazard! There are parties at your office, your spouse’s office, at the chamber of commerce, your small business group, your neighbor’s house, your neighborhood association, your church, the PTA, and seemingly everywhere you turn. Every one of them includes many deliciously rich foods and decadent desserts that threaten to destroy the nutritional achievements you have made all year.

It is very difficult to simply abstain from the festive foods. Start planning for nutritional success now so that you will be prepared before you get to the party.

1.  Have your fill of nutrient dense foods before you go to the party. Start your day with a delicious green smoothie or healthy protein shake. Sweeten them with some extra fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of filling up on sugar cookies later. Eat some healthy snacks on the way, like nuts, seeds, berries, or pre-cut veggies.

2. Bring your own healthy desserts with you. Your host will appreciate your contribution, your friends will learn that healthy desserts are delicious, and you rescue your nutrition! Here is a great recipe for delicious superfood-filled raw Christmas Fudge! Bringing a cheesecake will certainly make you popular at the party! This cheesecake gives plenty of rich flavor with no refined sugar! Of course, you can’t have a Christmas party without cookies! How bout some Pecan Sandies? These cookies will add healthy nutrition to your party with no refined sugars!

3. Before you go to the party, decide whether you will allow yourself an indulgence. Of course, with delicious and nutritious desserts like the ones above, you won’t have to. However, maybe you have one particular holiday food or dessert that you just have to have. That’s okay. It’s not about perfection, it’s about not throwing away your health! Plan ahead for this as well.

Workouts Falling by the Wayside

Many holiday health hazards tend to drain our energy as well. Exercise provides many healthy benefits including energy and stamina. Investing 15 minutes everyday into a quick, high intensity workout will restore your energy and keep you healthy through the holidays.

One of the biggest excuses for not exercising – especially during the holidays – is that it takes too much time. Well, the truth is that you can get an amazing, heart-healthy, fat-burning full body workout in just 15 minutes, using high intensity interval training (HIIT). These workouts will not only keep your energy and endurance up for the holidays but they will help you burn fat, tone muscle and even prevent and reverse diabetes and heart disease.

Time Management Mess

Another holiday health hazard tends to creep up in our schedules. With so many extra holiday events, your calendar can quickly become a mess. This makes it all too easy to become over run and stressed out. This drains your immune system and increases your risk of colds and flu.

There are many time management gurus out there who can provide wonderful advice. However, it all comes down to priorities. Establish your priorities now and build your schedule around them. If family is important to you, then prioritize your family by scheduling regular time in your calendar for them.

Likewise, if you want your health to be a priority, then you must schedule time for your quick HIIT workouts and weekly meal planning as well. Decide what is most important and commit to these activities first. As Benjamin Franklin said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

The holiday season should be a fun and enjoyable time spent with family and friends. Take some time to reflect on these holiday health hazards today so that you can navigate them successfully!

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