BY DR. ROOPA CHARI, M.D.
The Holidays are a wonderful time of the year for celebrations, reunions, office parties and vacations. However they can also be a stressful time of year since you have to balance work, family, cooking, entertaining and maintaining your energy!
As we approach the Holiday season, we will discuss 10 quick & easy health tips to manage 3 of the most common concerns women face especially at this time of year which includes:
- Weight Gain
- Anxiety & Stress
The holiday times can be challenging, especially when it comes to weight gain. However you can still have fun without changing your healthy habits. Here are some practical tips and techniques:
- Start your day off by exercising in the morning: Studies have shown that this can help you avoid temptations throughout the day. Remember a brisk 8-15 minute walk or yoga stretches in the morning will increase your circulation, oxygenation, mental clarity and energy.
- Don’t skip meals: Plan on eating 3 meals a day with veggies, fruits and lean protein plus snacking mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon with veggies or nuts, especially on the day of a party. This will keep your blood sugar levels stable, energy levels high and decrease cravings for sugary sweets.
- Plan the Buffet: At parties, look over the buffet first before filling your plate. This way you can plan on what to eat, ideally with veggies, salads and some protein yet still enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. When you arrive at the party, get a sparkling water with lemon and wait at least 15-15 minutes before eating. This way you can relax, get comfortable and look over your food choices on the buffet.
- Tap out the stress and cravings: A powerful stress-relieving technique called Thought Field Therapy created by Dr. Roger Callahan involves tapping accupressure points in a specific sequence. This even helps decrease food cravings! While doing this technique, think about what is stressing you or the food you are craving. Step 1: For a few seconds rub under your collarbones. Step 2: Gently tap each of the following points 4-5 times: under both eyes (on the bone), under your arms (half-way down arms) and under both collarbones. Continue Step 2 until the stress and/or cravings have decreased or are gone!
- Rule for Desserts: Only take a small portion of your favorite dessert and relish the taste with each small bite instead of eating it too quickly. Just remember not to eat the entire dessert and leave the remaining amount on your plate. The advantage of sampling the dessert is you are not denying yourself the taste and there is less chance of weight gain!
- Keep hydrated: Be sure to drink water by slowly sipping it throughout the day. Everyday try to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. You are likely to get more dehydrated when you are stressed due to elevated levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline along with probable increased consumption of caffeine and alcohol. There is a well documented link between water and stress reduction. All of our organs, especially our brain, need water to function properly.
- Drink Herbal Teas: Take time out to have a relaxing cup of herbal tea. To enhance digestion try peppermint or ginger tea to calm the stomach and reduce gas or bloating. A stress-relieving tea is chamomile, especially at bedtime. Herbal teas do not have any caffeine in it. Keep in mind if your box of tea says “decaffeinated” and the word “herbal”, it is usually not an herbal tea, but black or green tea with herbs added for more flavor. Since herbs do not have caffeine they do not need to be decaffeinated.
- Deep Breathing: Before eating and especially before social events, take a few relaxing slow deep breaths and if possible close your eyes. Research suggests that women who practice stress reduction techniques are able to prevent weight gain.
- Just Say No: Don’t try to please everyone. Say “no” when it feels right, and stick to your priorities. This will prevent you from getting exhausted which can make you depressed and irritable.
- Give yourself the gift of time: The gift that keeps on giving is taking time out for yourself. Create time even if its only for 5-10 minutes a day for yourself to do the things YOU love and need to do for your physical, emotional and mental wellness. This could include listening to your favorite song, dancing and singing out loud. Pamper yourself with a soothing bubble bath or relaxing massage. Remember you deserve it!
About Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.: "Dr. Roopa Chari is a medical doctor in Internal Medicine and her brother Deepak Chari is an Engineer and Certified Biofeedback Specialist at The Chari Center of Health, an advanced integrative medical center in Encinitas, CA. * Sign up for a FREE 15 minute holistic medical consult with Dr. Chari and/or a FREE 30 minute Stress & Anxiety Relief session with Advanced Voice Biofeedback with Deepak Chari here or call (760) 230-2711."