There are a couple of reasons why, but the first issue is depression.
We know that depression or feeling "holiday blue" increases the risk of ACS (Acute Coronary Syndrome) or heart attack.
The second reason, and the most modifiable, is holiday habits including nutrition. Holiday and nutrition, why do these words have to "cancel each other out"? When we hear the words "holiday and nutrition", we think immediately of sugar, overeating, and gaining weight.
So about ten years ago I put together a "holiday plan" for my non-diabetic, non-acute, (no immediate crisis) patients. Over ten years the patients who followed this did not gain weight, enjoyed food and fun, and had far more enjoyable holiday season then the ones that did not.
In addition, I would estimate that I prevented well over 500 heart attacks that normally would have happened during this time of year. It's a rough guess, but I went from being a very busy December cardiologist, to spending most of the holiday with my family within one year after implementing this plan.
So, without the cost of an appointment, here is my simple 3 step plan for holiday "sur-THRIVE-al", not just holiday survival.
Step 1 - If the holidays get you down, change venues.
Most of the time my patients who have the holiday blues go to the same houses and see the same people every year. The anticipation of family or friends of the family "drama" or boredom is enough to get anyone down. So, for their health, I prescribe a change of venue.
Two years ago I had a retired couple take a Christmas cruise, which they say was the most romantic and enjoyable holiday they ever had.
A single gentleman in his 50's who went through a divorce a few years prior, went and volunteered for three full days during the holidays at a soup kitchen. (Later he met another volunteer and married her...how about that!)
And finally, a couple in their 40's and I had a long talk about them not being the host of the show every year. They sat their family down, and created a yearly rotation for which each family took a turn. Their family was so big, that it took 10 years for their hosting time to come back.
So, if you have the holiday blues, change your venue. It may not fix the issue, but it may, at minimum, allow for a different perspective.
Step 2 - Go to a health food store and purchase the following items:
- Digestive Enzymes
- A quality protein powder
- Quality Vit C, Vit E, and Alpha Lipoic Acid
- A quality fish oil
The second product is a quality protein powder. Start the holiday mornings with protein, this can decrease overall food intake, help balance your mood by keeping sugar levels from spiking up and down, and help keep you from gaining weight.
The antioxidants (C, E, and ALA) along with fish oil help counter poor food choices. The antioxidants help counter the effect of refined carbohydrates and sugars and the quality fish oil can help the brain and body defend itself from fried foods which contain trans-fats.
Step 3 - Understand that there are three meals a day.
If possible, open your day with protein, add a salad to your lunch, and than if there are no significant issue, (such as diabetes) go crazy at the dinner meal (And go crazy with those enzymes!). Plan your day for your healthy meals, as well as your trans fat, refined carbs, holiday event.
In closing I wish you all an emotionally fulfilling, non-weight gaining holiday., and I hope these tips serve you well.