Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

Real Life Nutrition

A Fresh Take on "Good for You"


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Work on Willpower for Healthy Holidays

By Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

The holiday season is in high gear, and my mostly healthy lifestyle has taken a serious hit. The inner strength I call upon to eat balanced meals and exercise on a regular basis is on the wane.

I assume the same is true for most busy people, what with working, managing the household, planning holiday gatherings, cooking, cleaning and, in my case, shopping for and wrapping presents.

If you’re anything like me, you may begin to doubt your willpower, which you regularly call up to make yourself do what you’d rather not, such as pass up second helpings, forgo holiday cookies, and rouse yourself from a warm bed for early morning work outs.

The truth is, your willpower – and mine – is being sorely tested right now.

Willpower tends to buckle under challenging conditions, including fatigue, lack of time and feeling overwhelmed. You only have so much energy, and doing anything you don’t want to do saps your limited reserve.

The good news is that willpower is a lot like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Look at this way: the more often you stick to good health habits, the easier it will be to get back in the groove come January 1.

Set yourself up for success with these simple strategies to improve your inner resolve.

Eat on a regular basis. Resist temptation by planning balanced meals and taking healthy snacks with you when shopping or doing errands.

Work it out. Can’t get to the gym? Take three 10-minute exercise breaks every day. Short walks help reduce the stress you may channel into munching on holiday goodies.

Sleep on it. Bolster your inner strength by getting the shut-eye you need. Proper rest helps you tackle the day ahead.

Limit alcohol. Alcohol disturbs sleep and packs on the pounds.  At holiday gatherings, start with a non-alcoholic beverage, such as diet soda, flavored soda water, or light eggnog to quench your thirst and curb alcohol intake. Alternate cocktails with non-alcoholic drinks.

Just say no. Yes, you can say no. You do not have to attend every holiday event you’re invited to. Stay home and get some rest instead.

Conserve energy. Pare down your present list to make shopping more efficient and cost effective.  Delegate holiday duties, including baking, shopping, wrapping and cleaning.

Write it down. Make a list of what you want to do today, including taking a walk and eating right.  People who put their goals on paper are significantly more likely to achieve them than are those who just think about what needs to get done. You’ll feel good when you accomplish each goal, and your success will help bolster your resolve.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD at 9:30 am


Leave a comment

Subscribe & Stay Informed

The Daily Bite

Receive a healthy, delicious recipe in your inbox every day.


WebMD Health News