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Make This Your Healthiest Holidays Ever: Simplify and Slow Down (Part 1)

Dr. Don Colbert – Every year, people mindful of their health hope to enjoy peaceful, healthy Holidays. And like a wave crashing down, many feel swept up in the frantic pace, the materialism and expense, and eating habits that derail their efforts to be healthy. But this year, we’re going to explore tools to make it your healthiest Holidays ever.

As we move into the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a great time to prepare both our minds and bodies for health. To proactively make choices and decisions that will help us slow down and enjoy it. We’ll also discuss how to feel in control of your eating no matter the party, social event, or busy schedule you face.


This 4-part series will cover these topics for your Healthiest Holidays Ever:

1. Part 1 (this post): Begin in the Mind: How to Slow Down, Simplify, and Get Enough Sleep During the Holidays
2. Part 2: What to Eat and What to Do When/If You Fall Off-Plan
3. Part 3: Healthy Habits for Staying Social and Active During the Holidays
4. Part 4: How to End One Year With Gratitude and Peace, and Choose Optimism for a New Year

Begin in the Mind: How to Slow Down, Simplify and Get Enough Sleep During the Holidays

Simplify Your Holiday Health Outlook

Sometimes, the “Holiday Season” can feel overwhelming when you’ve spent 10 months doing your best to be healthy. And often, this overwhelming feeling can derail us before Thanksgiving even arrives.

But, if you simplify your outlook on the Holidays, you can enjoy them without the stress on your healthy lifestyle.

Here’s what I mean: For most people, the Holidays are really only 2-3 days: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

Take a simple approach and enjoy those days and feasts without stress. Then, it’s much easier to stay on track for the rest of the days that make up November and December.

Two or three days will not derail or sabotage ten months of work. However, if you indulge every day for two full months it certainly can.

Determine today to simplify the holidays vs. health conundrum: Aim to stay on track with eating each day through 2 months and enjoy the 2-3 Holiday days without extra stress.


Slow Down

What’s true with eating is true with life in general: If you’re in a rush, rush, rush state, it’s not going to be healthy.

First, try slowing down when you eat during November and December.

Why? This is good practice for slowing down overall, and it’s healthier.

In fact, research has linked eating slower to smaller portions (1). Studies have also found that people make healthier food decisions when they eat slower (2).

And lastly, fast eaters gain more weight, deal with more digestive problems and are less satisfied with food (3). So, slow down and enjoy it by:

• Taking the time to put your fork down in between bites – don’t shovel in food
• Drink a glass of water before going back for seconds
• Enjoy the company of those around you, especially at the Holiday meals
• Listen to your body and allow enough time for digestion. You’re likely full sooner than you think.
• When you’re full, stop eating.

By slowing down at meals, you may also find it to stop rushing around in general. Less rushing means less stress and more moment-by-moment gratitude. Let your meals remind you to be mindful when you eat and present throughout your day.


There’s little doubt that we could also be healthier with more sleep. Let this darker time of year be a reminder to go to bed earlier if possible.

In fact, a recent study found that those with existing high blood pressure and/or Type 2 diabetes were almost 2x as likely to die of stroke if they got 6 hours or less sleep per night than if they got more (4).

This is incredibly alarming since almost half of Americans have these conditions, and most don’t get more than 6 hours of high-quality sleep.

Are you one? Give yourself a great gift this year, and focus on getting more sleep.

In addition, study after study has shown that less than 6 hours of sleep per night increases negative outcomes of heart disease and death in those with pre-existing conditions.

Sleep is important at all times of year. It’s really the only time during each 24-hour cycle that our bodies can remove toxins from the brain, repair cells and tissues, and improve immune function immunity.
During the winter, when we seem more apt to depression and stress, it’s a great time to fight back with sleep (5).

Bottom Line

We’ve started with our brains. As you think about how you can really enjoy the Holidays this year, and make them your healthiest begin with your thoughts. Keep these months as simple as possible. Slow down. And if possible, get enough high-quality sleep.

This can set the tone for your healthiest Holidays ever.

To read the original article click here.

For more articles by Dr. Colbert click here.

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