Tips for healthy thriving over the holidays

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FEATURE — The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year to connect with family and friends. It is also an opportunity to overindulge on the many scrumptious treats we usually don’t see the rest of year. Here are a few guidelines that should help you navigate the temptations, stay active and emerge healthy and thriving in 2022.

Eat mindfully

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Be mindful during the holidays. Set your goal to enjoy the holiday feasts and treats, but do so in a way that won’t add pounds that you will carry for the rest of the year.

Eat before the big meal. Don’t think you’ll keep your calories down by starving all day before you feast. Eat healthy, low-density foods, like soup or vegetables, prior to the big meal.

Eat veggies first. For those holiday meals, enjoy those extra treats. But as you put together your plate, pile on the veggies and fruits first. Leave less room on your plate – and in your stomach – for the high-fat, high-sugar items.

Savor each bite. Challenge yourself to taste each bite of food and immerse yourself in the flavors. You will slow down your eating, enjoy your food more and more likely eat less. Put your fork down between bites. Take a moment to engage in conversation before you take that next bite. Your stomach will have time to register being full before you go for those extra helpings.


Get out of the chair. One of the worst things we can do for our health is to sit for more than an hour at a time without moving. Even if you are watching the game or socializing, stand up and walk around for at least three minutes every hour.

Plan a family “active” activity. Anything that gets you socializing and moving will elevate your mood and your heart rate, such as a family walk, a touch football game or frisbee throwing.

Keep up your exercise routine. It is more difficult to stick to your regular exercise schedule during the holidays, but with a little pre-planning, you will be able to fit it into your schedule and give yourself a needed “me time” break from the family.

Enhance relationships

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Repair relationships. Are you holding a grudge? Are your feelings hurt? Get over it, and take the initiative to get past the past. Reach out with love, forgiveness and acceptance. Never let pride or hurt feelings waste the joy of a relationship.

Express gratitude. Research shows that gratitude actually rewires the brain. Find a chance to express appreciation to those who are important to you; make it personal and genuine. Get ready to see your relationships – and your life – improve.

Take a break. Even though you love your family and friends and want to be near them, take a break if you are feeling socially exhausted. Catch a quick nap, or sneak away for a few minutes to do some deep breathing. Soon, you’ll be ready for your next round.

The Live! program, part of Dixie State University’s Institute for Continued Learning, bears looking into if you want additional ideas on how to stay healthy and enjoy the holidays. Make this holiday season one of health enhancement rather than health deterioration and one of joy rather than stress.

For more information about Live! (Live Long. Live Well.), visit the following websites:

Written by ROB KRAMER, Ph.D, director of the Institute of Continued Learning; DAVID CORDERO, communications and marketing director for the city of St. George; and LUCY SORENSON, registered dietitian nutritionist with Intermountain Healthcare.

This article was originally published in the Nov/Dec. 2021 issue of St. George Health and Wellness magazine.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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