The holiday season is here, and the hustle and bustle has begun. This means you may be faced with company parties, family dinners, and countless celebrations with friends – or even none at all. Regardless of your situation, the holidays can present a new set of issues that affect your physical, emotional, and mental statuses. Learn what and how to combat them when you read on.

dinner-meal-table-wineWEIGHT GAIN. Interestingly enough, studies have shown weight gain from November to January to not be so significant in numbers. In fact, a 2000 study reported an average gain of less than one pound during the holiday season, while a 2009 study presented an average of one-and-a-half pounds. So what’s the problem?

First, a 2013 study tells us that the average annual weight gain falls between one and a little upward of two pounds, which can progressively result in obesity in our middle age years. The second issue, identified in the aforementioned 2000 study, is the average person doesn’t lose the holiday weight in the spring/summer season and gains a little more.

This means it’s important that you not get lax during the holidays when most people pack on their cumulative yearly gain. Instead, remain vigilant through a few simple measures, including:

  • Stick to your routine. Don’t form bad habits by snacking here and there. Eat at the times you normally would to stay on track.
  • Don’t go hungry. If you’re hitting your family’s dinner buffet, eat a healthy snack like an apple or carrots before you go, so that you don’t get in line famished.
  • Make good choices. Just because there’s hashbrown casserole on the table, doesn’t mean you should eat it. Choose healthier dishes like salad or green beans.
  • Eat slow and in moderation. Fast eating leads to overeating, so allow your brain time to catch up with your mouth when you eat slowly. Also, put small portions on your plate so that you don’t have a readily available opportunity to overeat.

STRESS. The holidays are stressful for many it seems, with the American Psychological Association reporting that eight out of 10 Americans polled in 2008 “anticipate stress during the holiday season.” The following reasons are common culprits, and a solution is offered.

  • Spending. The holidays don’t have to put you in debt. Set a realistic budget, and stick to it while you shop. Also, establish limits within your gift-giving groups so that everyone’s on the same page.
  • Shopping. If holiday shopping crowds send your blood boiling or time is of the essence, purchase gifts online this year, or talk to your family about drawing names instead of buying for everyone.
  • Functions. Avoid the pressure to be everywhere. Choose to see people you haven’t in a while or go to the party you didn’t make it to last year. There’s plenty of time throughout the year to catch up, so take care of you over the holidays.

Should you find yourself unable to let go of traditions or to reduce your stress, it will become necessary to seek other solutions. Stress related to these topics or others can result in a much larger problem – depression. However, people continue to find results through activities like yoga and meditation for not only helping reduce stress and combat depression, but in maintaining or losing weight as reported in a 2011 study.

For help in getting through the holidays or navigating the aftermath, contact a certified health coach like myself, who can identify areas for improvement and put you on a path to well-being this holiday season and beyond.