Release Date: 12/18/2010
Act responsibility to maintain your health during the holidays
By Damon Broyles, M.D. Family Medicine Specialist Fenton Family Medicine
The holiday season is upon us and around every corner lies temptation. It is the time of year when we tend to overindulge on alcohol and high-fat, high-sugar treats, while at the same time abandoning our exercise routines. We give ourselves permission to eat and drink to excess and to go into couch-potato mode, because It only happens once a year.
But our bodies dont always accept that rationalization; and, too often, react to our overindulgence in undesirable ways. Too much rich food can cause nausea, bloating, heartburn, weight gain and a general feeling of malaise. Too much alcohol consumption can cause dehydration, dizziness, weakness, mood change, nausea and/or vomiting and, in the case of heaving drinking, a rapid-arrhythmic heartbeat that can require a hospital visit and medication.
Neglecting our bodys needs for good nutrition, adequate rest and regular physical activity can lower its resistance and make us more vulnerable to illnesses, such as viruses and infections. And no one wants to be sick during the holidays.
Here are some tips to help keep you healthy during the holiday season:
- Keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand for quick snacks.
- Dont skip meals it will make you more likely to indulge in high-fat snacks.
- Take only small servings of rich, calorie-laden foods like gravy, sauces and desserts.
- Share a dessert instead of eating it alone.
- Eat dinner before going to a party so you dont overeat on high-fat snack foods.
- Prepare healthy casseroles in advance and freeze them for quick meals over the holidays.
- Accept an alcoholic drink only if you want one.
- Have a non-alcoholic drink between each drink containing alcohol.
- Always sip your drink dont gulp it.
- Use alcohol carefully in connection with other drugs, such as sleeping pills or cough medicines.
- Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
- If you will be driving, dont drink alcohol.
Maintaining your regular physical activity routine over the holidays also can be challenging. Use the holidays as an excuse to start a new family tradition that incorporates exercise, such as a brisk walk after dinner, a touch football game while the turkey is cooking or ice-skating with the kids at a nearby park or rink. Physical activity provides a great way to socialize, burn calories and relieve stress.
Along with eating and drinking in moderation and incorporating exercise into your holiday schedule, be sure to get enough rest. The frenetic pace of holiday shopping, baking, decorating and entertaining can become a major source of stress. Set aside some down time to allow you to take a break from the festivities. Relax with a good book, some soothing music or a favorite movie or TV show.
The holiday season is a special time to celebrate our family and friends. Savor the special seasonal treats, enjoy the conversation and the camaraderie and keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.
Have a happy, healthy holiday season!
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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