Healthy holiday habits

Article Image

Greg Nieckula, D.O., internal medicine physician with CHI Memorial Internal Medicine Associates – Signal Mountain


During the holidays we’re scheduled to the max – parties and celebrations fill our calendars. Rich and sugary foods are constantly within reach. And when people get busy, it’s tempting to put off your exercise routine until the new year. If you’re facing these issues, you’re not alone. We all struggle with how to maintain balance in our life and health. 

When I’m asked about avoiding weight gain and staying healthy amidst the chaos of the season, I like to take an overall approach. This isn’t a formula for surviving the busiest two months of the year – it’s a way to think about diet and exercise long after the tree is down and you’re working on your new year’s resolutions. 

My personal goal for eating well and exercising is balance. This works throughout the year, but particularly when Christmas cookies are staring you in the face. It’s ok to have a have treat, and you don’t have to feel guilty about a Christmas cookie. Just don’t eat 12. Balance these sweets with fruits, veggies and lean protein whenever possible. 

Even when your schedule is crammed and it’s hard to get outside because of the weather, making time for short bursts of physical activity is another way to stay on track. Folks get into trouble when they forget all dietary goals at the exact time when fitting in exercise is a challenge. Aim for 30 minutes, three times week to combat holiday weight gain and maintain muscle mass. An added bonus? Regular aerobic exercise also helps keep holiday stress and seasonal depression under control. 

Another point worth mentioning is alcohol. As it is with food during the festivities, people tend to over indulge in alcohol as well. This isn’t great for two reasons: you’re increasing your caloric intake and lowering your inhibitions about going back for that third round of appetizers. I always recommended people continue to follow the recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption – up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. 

To sum it up, I preach moderation in all things. If you follow these simple suggestions, you’ll be in a much better place when the new year rolls around. 

Do you have a relationship with a physician you trust? If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nieckula, please call (423) 886-2004.     

See More Blogs
Healthy diet principles
Healthy diet principles JAN 11, 2019

It’s that time of year when people are excited about healthy New Year’s resolutions, and I would like to share a few healthy principles to consider.

What is a collapsed lung and who is at risk?
What is a collapsed lung and who is at risk? DEC 07, 2018

For many people, the thought of lung surgery brings up fears and thoughts of worry about a collapsed lung. People often have misconceptions about a collapsed lung because they oversimplify this complex organ.

Holiday stress - it's not just in your head
Holiday stress - it's not just in your head NOV 29, 2018

Does the thought of the approaching holiday season keep you up at night, with a mental to-do list a mile long? Holiday stress can come in many forms, and there’s not many of us who are immune to these common feelings. There are two main reasons most everyone experiences some type of holiday stress.


Explore press kits, logos and facts about CHI Memorial.

Karen Long
Media Communications Specialist 

Doctor Talk, CHI Memorial's blog, focuses on health and welness.