Autumn Frandsen N.D.
Yes, for most people they do.
If they don't get you with all of the sugary desserts, exposure to the germs of your friends and family, and the cold weather, they'll get you with the stress of planning and traveling!
Not to mention the financial stress many people face at this time of year. While the promise of a new year offers some people hope and inspiration, it offers some an excuse to drink too much, a reason to feel lonely and a pass for gluttony.
No, the Grinch is not writing this article- but I offer some advice on how to make this year's festivities come without consequence.
Tips to Make Smart Food Choices
If you are on a diet, don't fall off the wagon. Easier said than done, I know, but making a few good choices can save you from a month of guilt and backpedaling. When you are sitting at the table, do a brief scan of the options. If you pick three options that are within your diet parameters and eat them first, chances are you won't let your stomach do the talking toward the end of your meal. If you still can't say no, just wait a few minutes longer or get up from the table. Consider getting tested for food allergies if you absolutely can't resist a food you know is bad for you because we often crave foods that trigger an allergic reaction due to the cortisol released.
Always Have a Drink in Hand - Water!
When you are at a party, always have a drink in your hand. No, not a double scotch or a martini. A glass of water! Or at least something that will quell any oral or tactile fixations you may have. People often drink too much due to social anxiety, fidgeting, or actual thirst. Keeping a glass of something in your hand, (other than alcohol) will not only keep you from drinking too much, it will keep you from eating too much. Many people eat because they are thirsty and the signals are not coming through clearly so it registers as hunger. This trick can not only keep the calories down, but it can keep you from getting a cold as well. Have you ever noticed that when you drink alcohol, ie get hammered, you often get sick a few days later? This is because alcohol causes a histamine release (allergic reaction) in many of us and allergy symptoms are produced. The time our bodies spend battling this response leaves us wide open for other invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Speaking of invasions, let's talk emotional invasions.
Around the holidays, there is a mad rush to buy gifts, accommodate every member of both sides (or nowadays, all four sides) of your family, and/or get in all of the overtime you can while those who celebrate take off. All of these things have one thing in common: STRESS! Remember to breathe deeply at least a few times per day and take care of yourself! If the holidays have always been a nightmare for you, hang in there, it will be over soon. If the holidays are the most joyous time of year, (except when your not-yet-divorced brother brings his new girlfriend to your parents for dinner or your mother in law guilt trips you into driving six hours on Christmas day to share your child with both families) remember that you can't please everybody. The stress that people pleasing can cause will have a more detrimental effect on you than the positive effect it has on the pleased.
All of those things being said, don't forget about those less fortunate than ourselves. Even if it's just a smile or a hug, giving and receiving love is one of the most important things we can do. It could save someone's life this time of year, or any time of the year really. Studies have shown that people who smile often are less likely to develop heart disease. Unless you're smiling because you just ate two pounds of pork roast by yourself!
Dr. Autumn Frandsen N.D. is a Naturopathic Physician at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, serving Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. As a naturopath, her philosophy is to use the least invasive and effective method to bring balance back to the body and restore health, while educating the patient on how to maintain it. Her areas of focus include Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities, Anti-Aging, Dermatology, Heavy Metal Detoxification, Hepatic Dysfunction, Immune Dysfunction, Insomnia.