Staying Trim through the Holidays

By: Suzanne Swearengen, DOM, AP

Many of us look forward to this time of year. A time to reflect on times past, hold gratitude for the good in life, and celebrate with loved ones. For some, celebration translates into an eating frenzy of delectable holiday goodies and succulent family recipes. This typically leads to a few extra pounds to add to the New Year's weight loss resolution. Fear not, there is hope.

This is a wonderful time of year that should be fun, but can be stressful with added engagements and obligations. This leads to a hectic schedule, which results in emotional eating habits. We are often lured into consuming high calorie foods and beverages when the emotions come into play. Our minds find ways to justify the extra cookie or latte. It is like a reward that comforts us. We struggle with this year round, but during the holidays we are surrounded by temptation. A few tips on making savory, yet wise choices will help keep the season's trimmings off the waistline.

The obvious rule of thumb is to avoid overindulgence. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, no matter how good it tastes going down, you are sure to pay for it later. Make conscious choices about what you consume to maintain balance in your diet. For example: At the holiday gathering, consider the oatmeal or ginger cookies over the frosted sugar cookies. They all contain sugar and fat, but oatmeal and ginger actually offer some benefit to the body. Another consideration is to choose a slice of turkey over grandma's ham. Here the turkey is likely lower in fat and salt. Try to stay true to your normal eating habits when not at a function or party. Platters of goodies in the workplace are the most challenging because they are not normally in that environment. Avoid snacking on these, because you will not realize how much is consumed in a day or week. Find substitutes such as popcorn, almonds, cashews, grapes, and berries. All of which are delicious and beneficial to the body. Keeping track of what you eat will help get you through the holidays without stretching your waistline.

Of course, there will be times when we are caught up in the festivities and indulge in holiday food and adult beverages. Additional issues that come to surface when we consume increased amounts of richfood are bloating, gas, acid reflux, and other digestive irregularities. There are plenty of natural solutions for everything from the occasional upset stomach, to problems related to more chronic conditions such as IBS or GERD. For most any kind of digestive issue, Aloe Vera juice is beneficial. It soothes the digestive tract, relieves inflammation and moistens the intestines. One quarter to one half cup is recommended 2-3 times daily until symptoms are relieved. Ginger tea is another simple remedy for nausea, vomiting, or upset stomach. Sip 1-2 cups hot or cool tea, depending on preference. Peppermint is beneficial for indigestion, gas, and overeating. It is best if taken as a tea or an enteric-coated capsule. The homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica is effective for a variety of digestive problems. All of the above mentioned herbs and supplements are easily available at most grocery stores and health food stores.

If all else fails, one can consider whole body purification after the holidays to help reverse the effects of accumulated toxins and clean the slate. It is best to go about this with the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional to avoid fad "detox" diets that are potentially harmful. A professional can also help keep you from reverting to old habits and regaining lost weight. No matter how you observe theseholidays, it is possible to stay on track. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Suzanne Swearengen, DOM, AP is a board certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician. In her work, she strives to provide compassionate care for individuals seeking holistic solutions for ailments, illnesses, and maintenance of good health. Specialties include sleep issues, digestive disorders, and stress management.

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