Why is it harder to maintain healthy habits at Christmas?

While the holidays are full of joy and celebration, they present a challenge for many Americans, who admit they struggle to eat healthily, exercise and get enough rest. According to a new survey from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, two-thirds of respondents said they overeat, nearly 45% said they took a break from exercise, and more than half said they felt tired and having less time for yourself. Additionally, a third admit they drink more alcohol during the holidays.

Barbara Bawer, a family medicine physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and clinical assistant professor of family and community medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, points out that travel, activities with friends and family, and the need for excessive tasks can lead to that people lose track of their healthy habits. Bawer suggests following a normal routine as much as possible to give yourself some flexibility.

To maintain healthy habits while on vacation, Bawer offers advice on several aspects:

  • diet: It is important to plan for maintaining healthy eating habits. If you have an event at night, don’t go without food all day. Eat a high-protein, low-carb meal beforehand to avoid overeating. It’s okay to refrain from trying any dish or dessert to avoid excessive calorie intake.
  • Exercise: Stick to your regular exercise schedule. If a commitment prevents you from going to the gym or running, be flexible. Consider activities with family and friends that keep you active, such as going for a walk or playing basketball.
  • Dream: Try to sleep and wake up at your normal times, even when traveling. Limit the use of supplements such as melatonin, as long-term use can disrupt healthy sleep-wake cycles.
  • alcohol: Although alcohol consumption may increase during the holidays, excessive consumption is never a healthy option. Excessive consumption occurs when a man has five drinks on a single occasion and a woman has four. Try to stick to the recommended consumption of two drinks for men and one for women.
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The survey was conducted by SSRS on its Omnibus Opinion Dashboard platform for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The survey was conducted between October 20 and 23 among a sample of 1,007 respondents via the Internet (n=977) and telephone (n=30) and was conducted in English. The margin of error for the total number of respondents is +/-3.6 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. All SSRS Omnibus Opinion Panel data is weighted to represent the target audience of U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

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