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Top 10 Secrets To ‘Soaking Up’ the Holidays Without ‘Soaking Up’ The Pounds
By Barbara Ann Grova, Holistic Nutritionist, CHHC, AADP

1. Meal Balancing 
DO NOT skip breakfast. It sets the metabolic rate for your whole day. Eat your regular meals, if you skip meals in an attempt to save calories you may shut down your metabolism and put your body into starvation mode. This is the time of year that you want your metabolism performing at its peak! If you arrive at a party or family gathering feeling famished, you may be more likely to eat anything and everything you see. Eat normally and sensibly throughout the day (balanced meals) and your body will nutritionally be satisfied with no physical need to binge. Try having soup, stew salad, almonds or brown rice before going to party. Bring some to work and have before you go home or on your way to a party. Have some healthy snacks on hand while you are shopping. Also, make sure you eat protein to balance out all the carbohydrate foods. Allow yourself some ‘special treats’ that are your all time favorites around the Holidays, give yourself permission! When eating away from home, watch out for excess alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and creamy rich foods. To slow the effects of alcohol, have a tablespoon of olive oil, flax oil or a few almonds or walnuts before drinking to coat your stomach and slow alcohol absorption. Get the leftovers out!!

2. Food Connection
I tell my clients this all the time. To control your portion size, make sure that the foods on your plate don’t connect to each other, allow some space. Only take foods that you really ‘have to have’, your all time favorites. This helps to prevent over indulging and piling too much on your plate that will make you feel bloated, full and just plain exhausted. Holiday time brings a wide variety of rich and delicious food to the table. It's easy to let our eyes have a feast and overfill the plate. Treat a holiday meal as you would any other meal; enjoy a little bit of everything, and remember to take human bites! When there's a lot of food available, try a tiny taste of it to see if it’s worth eating more of, only take what tastes amazing! You could try instead of using a big plate at each meal, use the appetizer plate. The bigger the plate, the more you will eat, since portion size looks smaller on a big plate than a small plate.

3. Eat Slowly 
When you eat slowly, your body will recognize when it is full before you need to unbuckle that last notch on your belt! And when you chew slowly, you will recognize the flavors in every bite, and feel more satisfied with your meal, no matter how little you consume. Further, we already know that it takes 20 minutes for the brain and stomach to come to an agreement that you are full when eating. So eat and wait 20 minutes to see if you really, really want more.

4. Your Body’s Cry For Water
Keep your body hydrated. Drink 16 oz. of water (in addition to the normal 8 glasses a day) for every alcoholic beverage you consume. Doing so will keep you hydrated, fill you up, and help reduce that not so nice morning-after feeling. Try some warm water with lemon the morning after a party of overindulging to assist in flushing out toxins and alkalizing your body. Water also helps control you sugar cravings!

5. Get That Body Moving
Try to make exercise a priority during the Holidays. ‘Get your body’ moving wherever you are. Take a walk with a friend or family member before or after dinner. It’s a great way to bond with family members you may not have seen for a while. Even 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a week can make a difference in preventing Holiday weight gain and will even help reduce Holiday stress.

6. Sensibility
Be present with your Holiday meal or the foods you eat at a party. Try to use your senses to explore your food. How does it smell, how delicious it looks, how does it feel in your mouth, how does each bite taste? When you think about your food in this way, you can’t help but feel satisfied with your meal and feel nourished.

7. Make Time For ZZZ’s
Your inner bodies conflict for seasonal imbalance is the diminishing daylight, cold weather and your need for being home and inner time (hibernation) combined with the outgoing social demands and many parties that occur during the holiday weeks. Do your best to get to bed earlier or at least on time on the nights you don’t have a party or family gathering. Your body needs to recharge it’s batteries. Inadequate sleep stressful emotions or no relaxation time weakens immunity and makes us more prone to infection when the Holidays are over. Sleep is vital and comforting, and one of the primary keys to preventing disease and keeping your immune system strong through the Holidays.

8. Does It Matter
Does it really matter that your house isn’t spotless and friends or family are coming in five minutes? We stress about everything and how to get it ALL done. We DON’T have to get it ALL done. If you can let go of the non-essential tasks, you will feel amazing. The holidays are all about sharing and giving, your guests came to see YOU, they want to spend time with YOU! If you can’t let go, then hire someone to clean your house before and after the party ~delegate, delegate! Prioritize what’s most important to you and your family and delete or delegate the rest!

9. Learn How To Say ‘NO’
Why do we say ‘YES” when our inner being is saying ‘NO’? Why is it so hard for us to just say ‘NO’ ? Practice saying ‘NO’ to the ‘food pushers’! You know who they are, “I made YOUR favorite cookies”, “You have to try MY cheesecake”, “Just one piece won’t hurt”. No one can force you to eat something that you don’t want to. Actually start thinking about how you can say it nicely before you get to your family or Holiday party so you are prepared. Look in the mirror and say ‘NO’ thank you! Also, say ‘NO’ to the parties that you just dread going to, in the end it doesn’t really matter. You did what was best for you and YOU matter!

10. Quality Time With Loved Ones
Include more reflective and meditative time. Just take 5 minutes to thank your body for keeping up during the Holidays. Make quality time in your schedule for those you love – closer space to share soulful emotions with family and friends. Care for yourself by creating a loving vibration for your life and your loved ones. When spending time with others, get to know them for the nourishment of the heart that it brings rather than focusing on food and drink. This can protect you from overindulgence and allow you to treat yourself with more respect. This is very important to your long-term health, weight management, and a more balanced life.

Final thoughts: Non-food Nourishment (what feeds your soul) 
Get a massage, find 5 minutes of quiet time or get a facial. Donate time or money to a local charity, community or soup kitchen. Bring gifts to your local children’s hospital.
I hope these ‘10 Secrets’ will help you reduce the Holiday stress around food and increases your personal fulfillment during the Holidays!

Visit www.NutritionalHealing.biz for our upcoming ‘Shrink Your Body, the holisitic way’™ classes, events and nutrition tips! Private and Group Counseling are booked in our Stony Brook and St James locations.
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