This post is brought to you by our partners Baptist Health South Florida.
The holiday season has arrived and the festivities are in full swing! If you’re like me you are already thinking of all the delicious food and drinks you’ll have to choose from while gathering with friends and family. There’s Thanksgiving, Office Holiday Parties, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years and everything in between. Our schedules are packed and we all know it can become more difficult to support healthier food choices. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Ladan Pourmasiha, DO from Baptist Health South Florida to discuss different approaches to staying healthy and on track this holiday season.
Staying Healthy & Enjoying Yourself Without Going Overboard
Let’s face it, the holidays are the only time of the year where you choose your outfit based on how much stretch the fabric has. We want to indulge, savor it all, and forget about ever jumping on the scale. Am I right?
Dr. Pourmasiha recommends always having a plan of action when it comes to food and drink intake as well as serving sizes. You want to enjoy yourself but you also want to be aware and set a limit if needed. Consider using the following serving guide: ¼ protein, ¼ plate carbs, and ½ vegetables. If you are hosting the gathering or party consider using medium size plates. This will help guests serve themselves an adequate amount without over doing it.
It’s also a good idea to have a variety of fruit and vegetable options to help balance out the desserts. (Because we know there will be delicious desserts!) A helpful tip is to drink a large glass of water up to 30 minutes before arriving. Usually being thirsty or dehydrated is often masked as feelings of hunger.
The Holiday Season: Not a Time to Slack Off
Staying healthy this holiday season may mean cutting back a little. If you find yourself going overboard remember that everything is best in moderation. Keep yourself accountable. Dr. Pourmasiha mentioned using a buddy system; which I thought was a great idea. An accountability partner will not only remind you that the 3rd glass of wine may not be a good idea, but they may double as a workout and wellness partner too!
Our schedules are busier this time of year, but we cannot allow physical activity to take a backseat. Exercise is important for both our physical and mental health. According to the CDC adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. That’s about 20 minutes a day, totally manageable even during the busiest times of the year.
It may feel inevitable to gain weight during this time of year, but staying on track will help. Remaining healthy is the priority and you don’t want to be at risk of other medical complications down the line.
Diabetes can be intimidating to manage during this time of the year. A common misunderstanding some diabetics have is thinking that they can hold out all day and just load up on one large meal. It is important to stay on top of your glucose intake and eat throughout the day.
You don’t have to say “No” to everything because of your diabetes either. Trying a sugar free option or opting for fruits instead can stop you from overindulging. Dr. Pourmasiha suggested looking at The American Diabetes Association’s website for alternative recipes, especially for Thanksgiving.
One of the biggest threats to staying healthy this holiday season is the flu! This is the first holiday season since the pandemic where we are gathering in larger groups and traveling more. It is important to also remember that staying healthy isn’t just about eating well; it’s also about protecting yourself from viruses and germs.
Although COVID is still a concern, viruses like the Flu and RSV are more commonly known to spread this time of year. It is your personal responsibility to protect yourself from these viruses and stop the spread, as they can lower our immune system and leave us feeble to COVID.
If you are feeling sick or have Flu/cold like symptoms it is best to stay home and away from others. I know this can be difficult when wanting to spend time with family, but remember our older family members and even babies are immunocompromised and the effects are greater for them.
There is no sure way to say if COVID will make a huge return during this holiday season or not. Staying up to date with your vaccinations and boosters is essential. A new vaccine booster is now available. The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine includes a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.
Staying healthy this holiday season is possible! Remember to wash your hands often, especially when traveling. Wear a mask in places like airports, the bus, and in trains.
It was a pleasure to meet with Dr. Pourmasiha, DO and learn about the different ways to keep ourselves healthy throughout this wonderful time of the year. To learn more about other topics discussed with Baptist Health South Florida check here.