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Take a Health Vacation For The Rest of the Year? Print

QR77 radioListen to my monthly radio program with Angela Kokott, host of Calgary Today for our segment, “You are what you eat” to get the goods on healthy eating.

Listen to Episode 53 part one here:  Take a Health Vacation For The Rest of the Year?
Listen to Episode 53 part two here:  Take a Health Vacation For The Rest of the Year?

Enjoy your favourite holiday fun foods & focus on your health in the New Year.

As a dietitian, throughout the month of December I often get requests for how to make holiday foods healthier and eat less of the traditional goodies such as shortbread, gingerbread and other holiday favorites.

Simply put, I don’t think you need to change anything.  Don’t worry about altering your family’s buttery mashed potato recipe. Don’t deprive yourself of your grandmother’s famous chocolate holiday squares or glasses of eggnog. There are only a few days left of the holiday season and there’s time to refocus on your health in the New Year.

Here are some other things to consider:

christmas cookies1.     There are no bad foods, just bad diets

Choose not to define your foods as good or bad. At the end of the day food is simply a mix of carbohydrate, protein, fat, fibre, vitamins and minerals. If your diet as a whole looks good over the long term this is far more relevant than if every food choice is perfect.  It is not what you do between Christmas and New Year’s that is important it is between New Year’s and Christmas that is most relevant.

2.  Less is always more (when you choose to savor and enjoy foods guilt-free)

True intuitive eaters know that when it comes to eating you can eat anything you want but just need to be mindful and respectful of your body’s fullness cues. As a whole, our culture consumes food mindlessly without truly thinking and even enjoying it. Instead of wolfing down a dozen shortbread cookies, notice how much more satisfying they are and the fact you will need less to reach satisfaction if you sat quietly and enjoyed every bite. Pay attention to how good the food tastes and pause when you no longer taste the food as intensely to check-in if you want to continue.

3.  Take lessons from small children

Small children do not have any diet knowledge about what is healthy and unhealthy.  They simply eat based on taste and stop when they are full.

Take lessons from small children that are naturally brilliant intuitive eaters (that is until adults interfere with their hunger regulation). Notice that kids may devour some of their favorite foods and leave a few bites at the end of the meal since they respect when they have had enough. Contrast that to many adults who would find it strange to leave a small amount since we are often conditioned to “finish our plate.”

4. Your body is forgiving of short-term fluctuations in your eating choices

Thank goodness our body is forgiving of our short-term food choices. Research supports that once in a while, overeating significantly (and I mean really over doing it), will not have any long-term effect on your body weight. What you do for weeks and months is what really counts. Be forgiving – no one asked you to get it right every single time you eat.

If you have gained a few pounds overnight it is scientifically impossible to have gained true body mass (fat, muscle or bone). The day-to-day small fluctuations on a scale are simply just water fluctuations. You will be heavier the day after consuming more salty foods and carbohydrate foods (sweets and starchy foods) since both of these store extra water on our body. Don’t be fooled in thinking you need to skip carbs – they simply provide extra hydration.

5.  Start thinking about some health goals for the New Year

The time between Christmas and New Years is often a less hectic time of year than the month of December. Take some quiet time to check-in with how you are doing on all aspects of your health (physical, emotional, spiritual, social and intellectual). Chances are you already know that goal setting is important but just how specific are the goals you are setting? Simply saying I want to eat better or exercise more or stop smoking is just not good enough. Define this further as to HOW you will do this. Some examples to get you thinking are choosing to eat fruit every day with your breakfast or walking three times per week for at least twenty minutes.

Also keep in mind a quote by Mabel Newcombe, “It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly.”

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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