Last weekend marked the beginning for holiday season in our family. Two Thanksgiving dinners later, my belly and heart were full with good food, good wine and precious time spent with family. That being said the holidays can be a tricky time for maintaining health. Over the years I have wavered between being militantly restrictive and overly indulgent. Now with two small kids watching, as with everything, I try to set a good example of balance. By no means do I have this down to a science but I am starting to understand that there is a middle ground where I can feel satisfied enjoying holiday offerings without coming out the other side with a holiday hangover.
Here are the small things I try to do so I can look forward to the holidays instead of dreading the festivities:
- I MOVE – Always, but especially during the holidays, I commit to 30 minutes of movement everyday. This weekend that looked like a light jog, a power walk with my dog and outdoor time with my kids at the cottage. Movement stimulates blood flow to help digestion, boosts my endorphins to heighten holiday happiness and lets me indulge in a holiday treat without guilt.
- I POTLUCK – My favourite thing to bring to a dinner is a big salad. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve developed a reputation for great salads and that is what people most often ask me to bring. If that is covered on the menu, a big fruit salad or a veggie tray are other easy favourites. By making sure I bring something healthy I always give myself a very green option to fill my plate if the spread looks richer than my stomach can handle.
- I GET FRIENDS ON BOARD – I’m lucky to have an awesome group of women I can call on anytime for a quick workout. A few years ago we started working out on Christmas Eve morning. We never take ourselves too seriously and we often have a gaggle of kids to trip over but it brings a great energy to start the day and I always leave on a high.
- I SAY NO – Without fail, I am an over-committer who gets easily overwhelmed. Usually I look at our calendar in early December and start to get anxious. Something I’m working on now is saying no. I really trying to choose the events where I can celebrate with those closest to me, that fill my cup and don’t leave me feeling socially drained.
- I DITCH THE GUILT – If everything above does not go as planned, I try not to let myself feel shame or guilt around holiday overindulgences. Life is short. I can eat kale on my elliptical in January.
Happy Holiday Season!
Melanie Stevens Sutherland, Clinic Director & Senior Orthopaedic and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Melanie is a graduate of McMaster University and brings 16 years of experience as a senior physiotherapist to Body Co. She has enjoyed a long tenure working with active populations at prestigious sport medicine clinics. Past clients include Provincial, National and Olympic level athletes as well as members of the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, the Ontario Hockey League, the American Hockey League, the National Lacrosse League and Major League Soccer.
Following the birth of her own children, Melanie developed a strong interest in women’s health. She has taken specialized courses in pelvic floor physiotherapy and women’s nutrition. She is passionate about helping women find strength and confidence in their post-natal bodies following pregnancy and delivery.
Melanie is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy and is qualified to perform spinal and peripheral manipulation. Her treatments are focused on hands on techniques, comprehensive education and supported by tailored exercise programs and healthy lifestyle modifications.