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3 tips to make it through the holidays a little bit healthier


As we head into a tough season for food, here are a couple of ideas around consumption that may be helpful during these next couple of weeks to make it to the finish line of 2018.

1) Be moderate in your sugar consumption

This is the biggest challenge for me, personally.  For the most part I have done well, but I still struggle with some desserts, especially those involving dark chocolate and ice cream!  My two cents during the season of sugary treats, is to try to limit some of the sugar consumption of those things that you don’t really care about eating, to make room for some of the things that you’re excited to consume.  

An example of this would be last night at the UC Life holiday party I chose to stay away from the entrees that included rice (high carbs = sugar) and just had a salad….so that I could feel good about myself trying the gelato that they had on the dessert menu!  I still didn’t FEEL good after eating it (could tell right away that it was WAY TOO MUCH sugar for me), but I did try to limit the damage.

I think during the holiday season, people find themselves eating their 4th piece of shortbread, while saying to themselves “I don’t even like shortbread.”  There’s going to be no shortage of treats out there; if you’re going to indulge try to limit some to allow for indulgence in others!

2) Consider trying intermittent fasting

I have been experimenting with this for quite a while now, coming up on 6 weeks of a pretty consistent daily fast from bedtime until I eat the following day around 11am or noon.  All in all, trying to limit food consumption to before 8pm the night before and then pushing my first meal back to 11am or noon creates a 15-16 hour fast every day.  

Now some of you may think that this is a little crazy because we’ve heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and just the name itself is all about breaking the fast!  It’s important to not confuse fasting with starvation.  Starvation occurs after many days of no food.  16 hours is not too long, and your body can easily handle these breaks from food.  The problem with “trying” intermittent fasting is that in the first few days it’s going to feel difficult because you’re body is not primed to use stored fat as a energy system and it’s so used to having readily available sugar and consistent food that it will take a few days to kick your body into action.

If someone wants to experiment with intermittent fasting, but is concerned with how they are going to handle it, you could try what I do which is start the day with a bulletproof coffee, which is a combination of coffee with different fatty substances such as butter and oil (I use coconut oil).  Taking on some fats in the morning will give you energy which will keep insulin levels low and help you make it through the morning without having to eat.

In the holiday season, if you know there’s going to be an overindulgence in calories and sugar at the festivities (typically afternoon & evening events) then fasting through the morning will allow you to manage the fact that we’re all probably going to eat a bit too much sugar and maybe just a bit too much food later in the day.

3) Understand what triggers overeating

Overeating is a real problem.  It’s often heavily linked to eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods, because the carbs (which convert to sugar when digested) don’t give you any sustained energy and often have you eating more and again more frequently.  When we are consuming fats, we find that energy levels are sustained longer and we maintain a feeling of “full” longer without having to consume more.

Many people wait until the new year to start their health kick and I understand this, but I also believe that having a strategy throughout the holiday season allows for some indulgence while keeping the negative effects in check. That way, you can enjoy the holiday season without getting completely behind the 8 ball!

Wishing everyone a happy holidays and a great start to the new year.


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