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Healthy holiday season: ten tips

Stay healthy during this festive season.
Stay healthy during this festive season.
AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye

The Holiday Season is a stressful time. Many people spend more money than they have, eat much more than their bodies need, and are overwhelmed with all the expectations and demands that come at this time of year. Over-indulgences lead to debt, excessive weight and regretful actions, and then we pay the price for the first half of the New Year! Can you relate?

It is possible to enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your health and wellness! Start by taking steps to manage stress, be aware of what you are putting in, and on, your body, or where you are discarding your boundaries. Most importantly, there is no reason to discard the good habits you already have! Don't be part of the status quo by eating over 3000 calories for your holiday meal (with almost 45% coming from fat!), gaining 5 pounds, or increasing your debt and stress!

If you have found yourself in a dizzying mindset of work, family demands, parties, cleaning, shopping, baking, or traveling, and then find your holiday harmony isn’t magically appearing, you can benefit from the tips shared below!

Top Ten Tips to continue a healthy holiday and New Year

1) Don't abandon existing healthy habits!

2) Limit portions & avoid mindless eating - Eat nutrient dense foods, savor each bite, substitute spices for fat, choose whole grains, and avoid white flour and sugar. Savor each bite!

3) Get exercise - Exercise dramatically affects well being and stress levels. Schedule your exercise and stick with it!

4) Take a break & make some time for yourself - 10 minutes alone, time in nature, focus on your breath, or a mental vacation can do you wonders!

5) Get enough sleep- This affects your weight loss, your energy, and your tolerance to stress! This is how your body replenishes and rebuilds.

Stick to a budget - Eliminate the post holiday stress of over extending yourself; buy from the heart, not from a 'should' or expectation!

7) Learn to say no - To extra helpings, excess demands, attending everything; by honoring your boundaries, you will avoid resentment and overwhelm.

8) Plan ahead - Menus, events, meal preparation; Expect travel delays.

Forget about perfection! Be realistic with your expectations, your time, and your energy. Expect things will not go perfectly, release control. Enjoy the moments!

10) Set differences aside - Accept others as they are, set aside grievances, and understand they may be stressed also!

This is the time for family and celebration, but you don’t have to lose a sense of yourself! While depression and stress often accompany the holidays, if you follow these tips, you can again thrive and enjoy this important time of year.  For additional healthy holiday tips, see WebMD,