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Eating Healthy During the Holidays

Food and celebrations go hand in hand. So when the calendar starts filling up with office parties, family gatherings, and feasts with friends, it’s hard to stick to a healthy diet. While a few treats won’t hurt, three or four months of constant carbs and sweets will certainly tip the scales. And if you’re dealing with menopause as well, it’s even trickier.

Dr. Melissa Delgado at the Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia and our expert team of nurse practitioners, Wendy Roberts and Amanda McClay, understand women’s bodies and the unique way they function.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, women face unique challenges, including age, stress, hormones, genetics, and overall health, it can be difficult to establish a healthy diet and lifestyle. Throw in the holidays, and it gets even harder. That’s why we’ve compiled a few tips for getting through a season of celebrations without sabotaging your health. 

Don’t diet

It may seem strange that our first tip is to ditch your diet, but studies show that traditional dieting, which generally means drastically cutting your calorie intake, can actually have the opposite effect of what you’re going for. If you try to lose weight too quickly with a crash diet that restricts too many calories, you’re in danger of losing critical muscle mass (which could lead to bone loss and osteoporosis) and slowing down your metabolism.

A better approach is to eat what you enjoy, make sure you get plenty of protein, reduce your portion size, and keep the sweets and carbs to a minimum. That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge once in a while; just don’t make carbs and sugar the main part of your meals, especially during the holidays.

Go to sleep

Sleep seems to elude many women in this age of constant connection and overloaded schedules and to-do lists. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is linked to a plethora of health conditions, including excess weight gain.

Inadequate sleep triggers an increase in the hormone ghrelin, commonly known as the ‘hunger hormone,’ and a decrease in its counterpart, leptin, the ‘fullness hormone.’ Clearly that’s a recipe for overeating.

If you’re menopausal as well, you may be having night sweats and hot flashes that make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. 

We can help you overcome some of those menopausal symptoms and alleviate the stress and anxiety that often accompany hectic holidays — hormone replacement therapy and even acupuncture help you sleep better and longer. 

Work out

As you age, and especially when you reach menopause, your metabolism naturally slows down. That’s why it’s important to pick up the pace. If you slip into a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll begin to lose lean muscle mass, which is one of your body’s best defenses against weight gain. 

Fight back with strength training and cardio. Whether you use light to moderate weights or resistance bands, you’ll help your body shed and keep off the weight that wants to hang around your belly. Keeping your heart rate up also helps, so swimming, jogging, or playing a sport you love can help you shed pounds and keep them off.

This holiday, give yourself the gift of a gym membership, or make it your New Year’s resolution to start moving more.

Supplement your efforts

Another way to control your weight during the holidays is to take advantage of natural supplements that may help you keep on track. 

One of them is green tea, which contains flavonoids, shown to speed up your metabolism (the caffeine helps with that as well), elevate your ability to oxidize fat, and boost your insulin activity. In fact, people who drink a couple cups of green tea a day lose an average of almost three pounds in three months. So toast with a cup of green tea, or say cheers with a matcha latte.

Also, the FDA has approved a handful of medications that have proven safe and effective in suppressing your appetite, reducing your body’s fat absorption, and decreasing cravings. We can talk with you about those options and whether they might be helpful in your overall health plan.

Whatever your plans this holiday season, staying healthy should be at the top of your to-do list. We hope these tips have made maintaining your weight feel a little more manageable, but if you still have questions or are facing any feminine health issues, we would love to meet with you. Give us a call or click the Request Online button to schedule a consultation soon. 

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