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Holiday Survival (Food) Guide | Anahite Afshar, Nutritionist Dt.P 


Anahite Afshar


As the holiday season approaches,
Many of my clients are anticipating
The impact of the festivities on their waistline.
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However, according to an American scientific review (1), the average weight gain over these 2 weeks is only 0.5 kg.

On the other hand, when the results of the study are classified according to weight, the overweight group gained an average of 1.0 kg, while the "normal" weight group gained only 0.2 kg.

These results suggest that people who are already overweight are at greater risk of significant weight gain during the holidays.

Furthermore, a study (2) also suggests that the weight gained during the festivities could, by accumulation, have a significant impact on annual weight gain.

This phenomenon should not be neglected and certain precautions can be taken to avoid ending up with Santa's belly in the New Year.

The objective is obviously not to deprive yourself of eating during the holidays or to feel guilty, but rather to enjoy these gustatory pleasures without overeating.

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Here are 15 tips for enjoying the holidays in a healthy way:
1 . Don't wait until January 1 to start your resolution to eat better
Eating healthy is a life goal.

If you say to yourself, "I'm going on a diet on Monday," chances are the weekend will turn into a food binge, just "one more time.

It's the same with the holidays, by putting off good habits to January, we allow ourselves to overindulge in the festivities.

Forget the all-or-nothing mentality and seek balance.

If you put your health and well-being first today, it will be easier to get through the holidays in good shape.

It's maintaining healthy habits all year long that really determines your weight and health.

It's never too early to make small lifestyle changes.

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2 . Don't arrive at the festivities hungry!
In anticipation of a big meal in the evening, many people tend to eat lightly during the day, or skip meals or even fast in order to save calories.

This strategy is actually counterproductive and increases the risk of overeating.

To avoid eating the day's worth of calories in appetizers, it is best to have a high-protein, high-fiber snack before you leave to better manage your appetite on the ground.

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3 . Plan for the holiday season
For many people, the holiday season can become very stressful and exhausting: shopping and wrapping gifts, putting up decorations and putting up the tree, entertaining family or friends, going to numerous dinners, sometimes while keeping the same work schedule, if not working overtime.

It is likely that by running around, you no longer have the time, energy or motivation to eat well.

Getting organized and preparing a few healthy meals and snacks ahead of time can make it easier and keep us fit.

Fill your freezer with healthy, pre-prepared meals, get out the slow cooker and have plenty of fruit on hand for snacks.

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4 . Maintain structure in meals and snacks
In between gourmet meals, get back to good habits.

Eat normally, without trying to compensate, with balanced meals and nutritious snacks at regular times.

This will keep your energy levels steady throughout the day and help you avoid overeating at richer meals.

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5 . Don't forget the fruits and vegetables
Traditionally, the more festive meals contain a lot of meat, starchy foods and are very high in fat, but very little fruit and vegetables.

So don't forget to include them in snacks and other less festive meals.

Fruits and vegetables are sources of fiber and water that help you feel full and eat smaller amounts.

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6 . Rebalance Christmas foods
In the same vein, if you're entertaining friends or family, make room for fruits and vegetables on your menu.

For example, vegetables can be served as an appetizer in the form of soup or salad, or as a side dish in the form of mashed or roasted vegetables.

Many nutritious foods, such as cranberries, walnuts, clementines, mint, oranges, pomegranates, etc., make the festivities more enjoyable and help us eat better.

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7 . Don't neglect sleep
With the parties going late, the nights can be shortened.



However, sleep should not be neglected either, as it can have an impact on weight.

One study (3) suggests that when sleep is insufficient, increasing food intake becomes a physiological adaptation to provide the energy necessary for the body to maintain the state of wakefulness.

And when food is readily available, as it is during the holidays, intake far exceeds what is needed.

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8 . Moderate alcohol consumption
Not only is alcohol caloric (about 150kcal per consumption), but it also makes us eat more.

It is not for nothing that it is served as an appetizer since it opens the appetite.

Moreover, the disinhibiting effect of alcohol can alter our judgment and encourage us to devour more than expected.

In addition to the effect on weight and health, who wants to spend the holidays as a "day after the night before"?

So, to avoid overconsumption, set limits for yourself before you even start drinking.

If you tell yourself you're only going to have two drinks in an evening, you'll probably sip them quietly to prolong the pleasure.

Start with a non-alcoholic drink, such as sparkling water, and then alternate between alcoholic and water drinks.

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9 . Drink plenty of water
To follow up on the previous point, alcohol dehydrates and drinking between each drink limits this effect.

However, this may not be enough if you start the evening already dehydrated.

To help your body avoid confusing hunger with thirst, stay well hydrated throughout the day.

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10 . Choose your appetizers wisely
Appetizers are often eaten in situations where you are less aware of what you are eating (in the middle of a discussion, with a glass in one hand, you nibble on them without realizing it with the other).

In addition, due to their high caloric density, their small size can be treacherous, as you can easily accumulate them without feeling like you have eaten too much.

Give yourself permission to eat them, but do so consciously, and you'll enjoy them more.

Choose what's worth eating: you can eat potato chips all year long, but that little duck confit canapé?

And remember, hors d'oeuvres are just the beginning, there will be plenty of food to go around!

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11 . Take control of quantities
When faced with abundance, take control of what goes on your plate.

As much as possible, serve yourself. The same goes for alcohol.

Only you know your appetite.

Don't bite off more than you can chew and choose small portions, even if it means refilling your plate when necessary, rather than having a large plate from the start and finishing it out of habit.

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12 . Take time to enjoy
First of all, because eating slowly will help you recognize satiety.

Secondly, because it is an easy tip to apply in the context of a meal that goes on for a long time and where you want to enjoy the atmosphere and the conversations.

And finally, because these are foods that you might not eat again until next year, you might as well enjoy them!

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13 . Listen to your body
It's possible to enjoy the holidays without leaving the table in a hurry.

Eat only when you are hungry and stop eating when you are still comfortable.

Try as many dishes as you like, but leave room for dessert, it will taste better.

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14 . Get moving!
Go outside and play! Go sliding, skating or skiing.

Go snowshoeing or hiking. Build an igloo with the kids or a snowman.

Even shoveling your driveway can help.

Do you hate the cold? Use the vacations to get your housework done.

Make workout videos in your living room.

Dance the night away. Run the Boxing Day sales.

Not only will it energize you, and help you digest all those meals, it could be a great opportunity to spend some quality time with friends and family!

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15 . Forget about guilt
Guilt has no place in healthy eating.

Give yourself the right to enjoy each and every delectable dish that gives you pleasure.

Do so with full awareness and respect for your body's limits.

There is no need to deprive yourself, just remember that moderation tastes better!

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16 . Share it!
The holiday season is all about giving to others.

Share the gourmet gifts (chocolates, fudge, cookies, cakes, etc.) you receive with family, friends and colleagues.


Or better yet: give to the less fortunate, there are more than canned goods to give.

Spread this pleasure over the weeks following the festivities, it will make the cold of February more bearable.

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17 .  Give yourself a gift and make an appointment with a nutritionist
If you want to change your eating habits for good, give yourself the means to succeed and offer yourself nutrition consultations.

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REFERENCES gain-what- the-science- suggests/
Yanovski JA & al (2000). A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain.  New England Journal of Medicine. 342:861-867. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200003233421206
Markwalda RR & al. (2012). Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain. PNAS. 110(14): 5695-5700
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Anahite Afshar, Nutritionist



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What is the cause?
There is no known exact cause, but complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is mainly found in patients who have suffered trauma to the arm or following immobilization.

For example, following the wearing of a post-fracture cast, CRPS can develop.

CRPS occurs more frequently in women than in men.

Among the potential causes, there is a functional modification of the sympathetic nervous system with a role for the peripheral and central nervous systems.

This means that there is no structural damage to the nervous system, but rather an imbalance, i.e. inhibition or hyperexcitability, which leads to all the symptoms mentioned above.

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Fluctuations in symptoms
Pain is often increased by moving the arm or by manual treatment techniques.

Pain is also influenced by stress, fatigue, anxiety, intense exercise, temperature changes, holding the affected limb lower than the heart.

Heat and cold can also increase pain.

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Types of CRPS
There are two types of CRPS.

In the first type, there is no nerve damage, so the nerves are intact.

Type 1 usually occurs after a trauma, such as a fracture.

In type 2 CRPS, there is nerve damage, but the pain is not limited to the territory of the nerve.

Therefore, patients have symptoms of peripheral nerve damage in addition to CRPS symptoms.

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Treatment of CRPS
The treatment of CRPS is interdisciplinary, with the goal of pain reduction, functional recovery of the affected limb, and improvement of psychological status.

The reduction of swelling is a key factor in the effectiveness of treatment.

Adequate analgesic medication and prompt physiotherapy management yield better results, which is why it is important to consult your doctor quickly if you think you have these symptoms.

It is also important to start physiotherapy quickly, as active joint mobilization must be done quickly.

The physiotherapist may also apply electrotherapeutic modalities, such as TENS, to reduce pain.

This is a transcutaneous electrical current that inhibits pain receptors.

The physiotherapist may also recommend renting the device from a pharmacy so that you can use it at home.

The physiotherapist will also show you how to do contrast baths, alternating between immersing the arm in cold and warm water to try to reduce the pain.

It is also important to avoid not using the affected limb. It is therefore important to use the affected limb in the activities of daily life.

This will help normalize the nervous system and thus reduce its imbalance, which is the cause of CRPS.

Occupational therapy consultations are therefore recommended to help you adapt your daily activities so that you can continue to use your arm, but without overloading it and causing pain.

This medical condition is usually managed in a hospital setting rather than a private clinic and unfortunately, recovery is usually long.


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Florence Charbonneau-Dufresne, Physiotherapist Ph.t