Disclosure: This post was written and sponsored by LCMC Health Urgent Care.
Holiday Health Hacks
We are not even gonna’ lie. We know the reality of the holidays in New Orleans and South Louisiana. You start off warming up during football season with tailgating on the weekends and head in for the serious holiday kick off of Thanksgiving. From there through New Years and beyond, it’s a non-stop eating and drinking festival all the way through Mardi Gras. As they say, you can’t stop it, you can only hope to contain it. With that said, here are a handful of holiday health hacks to help you keep from losing your mind and gaining 20 pounds.
Get Your Mind Right
Before the holiday craziness starts, set a few mental goals and ground rules. Is your goal to drink less this season? Are you trying to limit yourself to one dessert at each party? Are you striving to keep up some semblance of exercise at least three times a week? Creating goals and reminding yourself why you want to stay on track is key to staying motivated when you feel overwhelmed.
Cheers to Water!
You probably try to drink more water as it is. However, make hydrating even more of a priority during these busy holidays. It’s easy to forget when you’re out shopping, running errands and picking up your child’s Christmas party cookies she didn’t tell you she needed until last night. Carry a reusable water bottle to keep adequately hydrated. Hey, did you know that drinking two glasses of water before meals can help you from overeating? You’re welcome!
At Parties, Go for the Good Stuff First
When we say the “good stuff,” we mean the “healthy stuff.” Instead of making a beeline—like a Brees to Thomas pass—for the cheesy crabmeat au gratin dip, maybe make an end around to the fiber-rich fruit and veggies or some lean protein. If you finish your food and want something else, go ahead and grab your favorite holiday treat so you don’t feel deprived. If you’re going to indulge once or twice, enjoy it and don’t feel guilty.
Exercise in the a.m.
Morning exercise benefits you in multiple ways. First, you got in a sweat session before your co-worker insists you join her for that post-work, Mistletoe and Mimosas Praline Decorating Happy Hour. Second, starting the day with a metabolism-boosting workout helps to burn more calories throughout the day. And to top it all off, morning workouts energize both your body and brain, which could help you stay focused when tackling the day’s challenges. If you’re strapped for time, don’t skip the gym. Opt for a 20-minute HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. Twenty minutes of HIIT is quick, effective, and can burn more fat in a shorter time. You can do HIIT anywhere—no special equipment needed.
Use Healthy Snacks as a Weapon
Fighting off junk food during the holidays is a battle and hungry people tend to make poor food choices filling up on processed, fatty, salty and sugary foods. Bring your own healthy snacks as an alternative to battle back the influx of (usually unhealthy) holiday treats in your workplace. Pack a bag of homemade trail mix (try cashews, almonds, unsweetened shredded coconut and dark chocolate chunks) or sliced apples with cinnamon. And never head out shopping or to the mall on an empty stomach. Eat a small, healthy snack beforehand, like a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or whole-grain crackers with hummus. That way, treats won’t be as appealing if you’re not super hungry.
Practice Mindful Eating
You may not realize it, but how you eat is often just as important as what you eat in terms of nourishing your body. Mindless grazing can lead to overeating and choosing the wrong foods. Research shows people who eat while distracted (watching holiday TV shows or at a party) are more likely to ignore their body’s fullness cues and end up overeating. Rather than rush through your meals, practice mindful eating sitting down at a table, turning off technology, chewing each bite thoroughly and savoring your food. You should also pause before taking seconds to get a sense of your fullness cues, and pay attention to how your body feels as you eat. If you can, take a walk and get moving after lunch or dinner before you surrender to the post-meal slump. Walking after a meal can help facilitate digestion, balance your blood sugar, boost circulation and burn calories (if you walk briskly).
Seek and You Shall Find Healthy Recipes
Finally, there are a variety of healthy recipes online for that cut calories and fat, and taste just as delicious (or at least almost as delicious) as your favorite dishes. Just changing a few ingredients here and there can make a difference. You can try exchanging half of the white flour with whole-wheat flour or substituting half the fat with applesauce or avocado. Search for recipes and do a dry run before the holidays so you can test them out.
Here If You Need Us
Remember, here in the New Orleans area, if you do feel sick or experience a minor emergency, LCMC Health Urgent Care has six convenient, walk-in clinics to treat you and your family. Our locations: Lakeview (826 Harrison Ave. Ste. A), Gretna (2600 Belle Chase, Hwy. B-2), Clearview (1105 S Clearview Pkwy.), Algiers (3801 General DeGaulle Dr.) and Marrero (4945 Lapalco Blvd.) are open 7 days a week and no appointment is ever necessary. Our reach also extends to the Covington area with our LCMC Health Urgent Care (formerly Lake Urgent Care Northshore). All clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. We’ll also be open 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and New Years Eve/New Years Day.
No Appointment Needed
When minor illnesses or injuries occur, LCMC Health Urgent Care provides a convenient, affordable alternative without appointments or long wait times. Minor conditions treated include: ear and eye infections, fever, allergies, minor cuts that may need stitches, possible broken bones and simple fractures, minor skin infections, severe sore throat, sprains and strains, and vomiting and diarrhea. All locations offer modern, state-of-the-art facilities with the latest technology including digital X-ray and electronic medical records. LCMC Health Urgent Care is backed by the outstanding resources and reputation of LCMC Health. LCMC Health manages some of the top hospitals in the New Orleans area including Children’s Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center, New Orleans East Hospital and West Jefferson Hospital. For more information, visit us online. Get answers at any LCMC Health Urgent Care location. Also, be sure to “Like” and “Follow” LCMC Health Urgent Care on Facebook and Instagram.