When it comes to health, Windsor's Doctor Stacey Munro of Nature's Helper Medical Clinic puts it plainly: "There's no magic pill."
According to the naturopathic physician, health and wellness can be attained by following basic principles and practices over time, but the road to heal is a long one — particularly with respect to overcoming the obstacle that is the holiday season.
"Of course food is synonymous with the holidays," says Munro. Along with holiday foods — many of which don't make a regular appearance on our plates throughout the calendar year — comes what is generally accepted to be a considerable amount of weight gain in a relatively short period of time.
Contrary to popular belief, however, Munro says general weight gain numbers during a single holiday season aren't as grim as most presume.
"People typically don't gain as much weight as they think they might during the holidays," she explains. "For an adult, the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year is nearly one pound."
Some may gain more — about five pounds — during a single holiday season, but that's fewer than 10 percent of the population, according to Munro.
While the scale readings may not be significant in a single year, Munro warns, the danger is that weight gained specifically during the holidays tends to stick with us.
"Pounds during the holidays are not typically lost and contribute to an overall increase in body weight from year to year," she says. "So that's why you have people come in and they've gained 10 to 15 pounds over ten years."
Such weight gain can have significant health implications, she explains.
"As the weight comes on, it's disruptive to their metabolism and they can start developing insulin resistance."
To help avoid such patterns, Munro is offering a few tips this holiday season for those who plan to indulge and those who hope to stay fit, alike:
- Know your triggers — Identify the foods, be it sugar or salty snacks, that you have trouble avoiding.
- Visualization — Picture yourself maintaining discipline and not indulging in non-healthy foods. Munro uses the example of picturing yourself passing by the bowl of candy at work without taking a piece.
- Eat before — This may not work if you're heading out to a sit-down dinner, but for after work parties or other affairs where you only expect hor d'oeuvres, it would be best to eat a small, healthy meal that will stick with you. Think vegetables and protein. This way, Munro says, you can enjoy what's there, but you won't overindulge.
- Postpone seconds — This doesn't mean you can't make a second trip to the buffet table. Instead, just wait a few minutes. Giving your brain time to register what you've eaten will allow you to realize how full you actually are and whether or not a second helping would be wise.
- Watch the alcohol — If you plan in imbibing this holiday season, you may be setting yourself up for a new notch on your belt. According to Munro, alcohol stimulates the appetite while blocking the ability to burn fat. As a result your body gets all its energy from the alcohol you consumed and stores the food you consumed as fat.
Located on Broad Street, Dr. Munro's practice specializes in providing care for patients with chronic health issues, but also provides extensive services to those with diabetes, pre-diabetes, hormone imbalance, digestive problems, allergies (including delayed food allergies), and nutritional and lifestyle counseling.
To learn more about Nature's Helper Medical Clinic and Dr. Stacey Munro, visit www.natureshelpermedical.com.