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Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

 |  For Patients

Fantastic weather, holiday decorations, special events and more! The holiday season in the Valley is an exciting time for many people. But as your schedule gets busier than it has been, and you find yourself eating on-the-go more often; the healthy habits you have formed throughout the year can slip away quickly.

According to research found in the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, the average person gains 1 pound between the last week of November and the first or second week of January.

Not so bad, right? Wrong.

The same study revealed this 1-pound holiday weight gain is not reversed during the spring or summer months. Meaning – you never lose this weight, and it is likely a contributing factor to the increase in body weight that occurs during adulthood.

So how do you avoid the stubborn holiday weight gain and maintain your healthy lifestyle from the rest of the year? Lucky for us, Arizona is a perfect location to stay moving during the winter! We have compiled 5 tips you can use to maintain your health this holiday season.

1. Use Healthy Ingredients

Consider using leaner ingredients in your recipes. When eating meat, choose lean protein instead of red meats. According to the American Heart Association, red meats such as beef and pork tend to have more saturated (bad) fat than chicken, fish and vegetable proteins like beans.

Dairy products also can be high in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and these products are often used in holiday recipes. Try to substitute with dairy-free products like almond milk or cashew cheese when you can, to reduce the amount of dairy you are eating.

I like to research recipes online and then head to a local grocery store for fresh ingredients!

2. Control Your Portions

Not comfortable with substituting some of your go-to holiday ingredients? Try to control the amount you eat, then. Most food is fine in moderation, but you’ll need to resist the urge to binge-eat the holiday goodies you don’t typically eat during the rest of the year.

Feeling up for seconds? According to Healthline, your brain can take up to 20 minutes to register signals that your stomach is full. Wait it out! Don’t go back for seconds until you know you’re still hungry.

3. Decrease Alcohol Intake

According to a survey of two thousand Americans, the average U.S. adult was found to double their alcohol intake between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and many contain added sugars.

Keep your drinking light to moderate to avoid gaining weight from empty calories in alcohol.  According to WebMD, alcohol lowers your inhibitions, including good judgment about when and how much to eat. Therefore, increased alcohol intake may also lead to increased food intake.

4. Follow Your Exercise Routine

Whether you typically work out 1-2 times per week, or you work out 5 times per week, try to maintain some type of workout schedule even if there are holidays throughout the week. A 30-minute ab workout or cardio circuit in your living room is better than nothing!

You’ll likely be eating more sweets and carb-heavy food than usual, so try to stay active. The longer you break your habit of exercising, the harder it will be to form the habit again when the holiday season is over.

5. Enjoy the Arizona Weather

Try to get more creative with family bonding than an average movie day in your pajamas! The winter weather in Arizona is the weather you waited for all summer long – so get out there and enjoy it.

Even if you’re not an avid hiker, you can still find ways to enjoy the fresh air and stay moving. Head to a local park, walk or bike on a flat trail, or participate in outdoor activities such as golf and frisbee. These are all perfect activities to enjoy, especially because they allow you to remain socially distant as we continue to navigate COVID-19 this holiday season.

If you are concerned about your weight, diet, exercise routine or alcohol intake, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to come up with a proper care plan. Need help scheduling an appointment? Contact our concierge team by calling 602.406.7226 or emailing members@azcarenetwork.org.

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