The holiday season can wreak havoc on any woman, but those of us with health concerns need to be extra careful this time of year. With holiday parties, offices full of junk food, traditional foods and well-meaning friends and family pressuring us to let our diets go for the holidays. Don’t forget the emotional stress of gifts, parties and family gatherings. As cold weather hits our bodies often crave more calories and more carbohydrates. Shorter days can lead to more munching to maintain energy levels and brighten moods. Add in the scheduling crunch so many of us experience this time of year and this time of year can be hard on your health.
Here are some pointers that can help you survive the season without losing the battle:
* Plan ahead and make sure you have plenty of healthy foods on hand. Slip carrot sticks, protein bars, nuts, cheese or other healthy choices into your purse before you leave the house. Carrying good snacks with you can help you withstand the urge to binge on mall foods while shopping or giving in to the candy that seems to sprout in every office this time of year.
* Choose wisely when you snack. Gravitate towards the veggie trays and nut dishes rather than the cookies. Choose a splash of cranberry juice in water, lemon in water, or a diet soda instead of sugary drinks. One good chocolate, savoured, can curb your desire to binge on other sweets. Chocolate is also absorbed more slowly than simpler carbs because it has more fat in it.
* Plan your indulgences. If you MUST have Aunt Sydney’s latkes or Grandma’s eggnog then plan for it. Don’t blow your eating plan on lesser treats. Hold out for the good stuff. A few indulgences can help you stave off a binge.
* Say no! Not every invitation or request must be accepted. You have a right to a sane and happy holiday season. If that means graciously turning down an invitation or saying no to a volunteer opportunity, then that is what you need to do. Your health MUST come first or you are no good to anyone else.
* Stick to your healthy habits as much as possible. Schedule in time to meditate, exercise, or attend a yoga class. When you are happy and healthy you will do much more to spread the holiday spirit than you ever could if you were crabby and exhausted.
Julie Holland, author of “Alternative PCOS Solutions” is a life coach who helps professional women cope with the effects of chronic illness. She writes the weekly e-newsletter “PCOS Success.” You can learn more at: http://www.pcoscoach.com.