Stick to your health goals this holiday season

Stick to your health goals this holiday season
Ray Messina, certified primal blueprint health coach, advocates a healthy lifestyle during the holidays.

By Ray Messina

Staying motivated during the holidays is possible if you arm yourself with the right knowledge. You can prepare yourself in advance and enjoy the holidays without losing the progress you made during the year and without feeling deprived.

Approaching the holidays with mental, physical and spiritual strategies will equip you with all the necessary tools.

Get outside and walk as much as you can. Try to get in an hour to an hour and a half of outside walking every day.

Taking short walks of 15 minutes multiple times during the day is also a very effective technique. When you are finished walking, you will not be craving carbohydrates. Avoid the treadmill because it increases appetite and creates a craving for carbohydrates.

Being outside at this time of year is crucial because of the shorter daylight hours, resulting in less sunlight.

If you are feeling effects of seasonal affective disorder, getting outside on even a cloudy day will help.

Spending time outdoors will help the body to release melatonin, ensuring a good sleep and the production of Vitamin D. Walking in nature has been proven to bring about positive neurological changes in the brain, making you feel more calm and relaxed.

If you absolutely need to use the treadmill, use it so that you are burning fat as your fuel source.

One way to ensure this is taking the number 180 and subtracting your age from it.

Your pulse rate should not go over that number to ensure you are burning fat and not your glycogen stores. This is not about burning calories, but using your stored fat.

When you are at a gathering, there are smart choices you can make so that you can enjoy the meal without regrets.

Assess what’s being served and pick one item that you really want that you know you shouldn’t have. Enjoy that one item; savor it and consume it mindfully.

Another good strategy is not to show up famished. Eat a little something before the gathering so that you don’t over indulge. Lastly, made sure you are hydrated and drinking plenty of water. Very often dehydration can mask itself as hunger. 

The holiday season means family time and that sometimes can come with increased stress, which leads to overeating. One technique to avoid stress eating is focusing your attention where the feeling is perceived inside your own body.

If you encounter a relative that may make you feel uptight, focus your attention to where that feeling is in your body. When we focus our attention to the perceived physical feelings they begin to disappear, and with that the attached emotional feeling also can go away.

When you want to avoid a person but can’t, you can feel the stress inside your body.

If you focus your attention into that area, the physical feeling begins to lessen along with the stress. This ensures you will not overeat because you are feeling stressed or angry or fearful.

This technique also creates a gap between the perceived stress, giving you a response you are in control of instead of mindlessly eating as a stress reaction.

Walk outside as much as you can regardless of the cold, pick wisely at the dinner table and enjoy what you select, and focus on feelings that can cause you to over eat.

If you do these things, you will be able to fully enjoy the holidays without remorse.

Ray Messina is a certified primal blueprint health coach and expert. He works to help his clients achieve their health goals. His office is located at 626 Willis Ave. in Williston Park. Messina works by appointment only and can be reached by email at or phone at 1(516)554-2209.

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