Year after year, the holiday season is an opportunity to catch up with friends, rejoice and exchange gifts from with friends and family.
On a personal level, I see the holiday season as an important reminder of the cycle of life. We are so often invested in our work and daily routine that we can forget that time slowly passes by, season after season. I stop, look around, realize how much it changed and then feel thankful that I’m here, with so many good things ahead.
In more practical terms, the holiday season is also a season of indulgence. It’s not just the extra pounds but the poor nutritional value of the food and beverages. I have a few recommendations you can look into:
Bring red wine
If you have to go eat with a party, you will most likely get encouraged to drink. Most alcohol have negative effects — cancers, depression, heart issues just to name a few. Even white wine is not without its faults.
Red wine is the only alcohol that has been systematically demonstrated to bring health benefits. So if you are not sure what kind of alcohol you’ll get at the restaurant or at the family dinner, bring a nice bottle of red wine.
Indulge in Dark chocolate
The holiday season means refined carbs, processed sweets, and potentially many other inflammatory food.
One good alternative is dark chocolate, in many forms: gifts, in cakes, or snacks for the whole family.
Cinnamon is delicious in pastries and in teas. But it also has amazing properties such as lowering your blood sugar, lowering blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol. If you took too much carbs and sugar, have a cinnamon-flavored tea after or have some mulled red wine with extra cinnamon.
In many ways, you cannot avoid the extra calories. There are just too many family dinners, Christmas parties at work and too much food around.
Here are a few ideas for physical activities:
- Go to the ice rink with the family. This is always fun, even if you are a beginner, and fits well with the season
- Invite people to help cooking. This is something different and will get everyone in the mood. Even little kids can do stuff like sprinkle ingredients on top of a casserole
- Go for a walk in the park and make a snowman. Or what about a snow fight? Sometimes all we need is to be a bit more silly!
- What about a dancing holiday party instead of the usual holiday dinner? Keep everyone happy, moving, and grooving for hours on end.
- Also keep up with your training plans. You don’t have to do long gruelling hours. Even 30mn of interval training will make a difference
If you get usually gifts, hint that you are looking for a healthy 2017. More exercise, more healthy eating. Talk on the phone about the gym membership you were looking at. Or mention on Facebook a GPS sports watch you would love to have. If you do this a few times, friends & family hopefully will get the hint 🙂
This will get you in the right starting blocks for the next year.
Remember, this can go both ways as well.
Preparing with red wine, chocolate and good activities is a good idea. But at its core, the holidays season is to get together and enjoy each other’s company.
If you are deeply worried about health effects or that you might get sick, you are overthinking it. Have fun, smile and wake up the 5-year old in you.