By Michael Dansinger, MD
It’s holiday party time! Many of my patients find this time of year to be particularly challenging for maintaining glucose, waist size and body weight. So many treats, so many parties, so many mixed feelings about this time of year. For some the right balance is to remain strict, while for others the right balance is to loosen up a bit and enjoy a little more dietary freedom. In either case they’re looking to January for renewed commitment and resolve, or at least a “clean slate”.
In my view, this time of year is part of a natural order that compels us to simultaneously celebrate our present situation and to think about our future. It is in our nature to work hard and then celebrate a job well done. We need to recharge, rejuvenate, celebrate and prepare for the work to come.
It is natural to reflect at this time on the gifts life brings. Many of us are fortunate to have family members and friends who care a great deal about us. We are fortunate to have others in our lives we care about. Many of us are grateful for the opportunity to do meaningful work that provides a service or product that people need or want. I am particularly grateful for the opportunities I have had to engage in a variety of intellectually stimulating and/or challenging projects that hopefully make the world a better place, at least for some. Many of us are grateful for the health we have (even if it is not as good as it once was), recognizing it could be very much worse. I am particularly grateful to have a healthy body and the freedom and opportunity to substantially influence my state of health. Many of us are grateful to live in a place that affords the freedom to have a good amount of control over our destinies, as well as the experience, knowledge, and wisdom to take advantage of opportunities to better ourselves.
When it comes to health and wellness during this natural time of celebration, my philosophy is that what matters most is how you live MOST of the time, not SOME of the time. Are you “celebrating” 70% of the time or 10% of the time? This is the most important time of the year to think about how you want to conduct yourself during the next year. Are you living in “balance”? Are you living like its December all year long? In my view, the most important thing right now isn’t putting the cookie down but taking stock of what a great gift your life is and preparing mentally for the work required to take full advantage of life’s opportunities. In other words, let’s get ready to eat right and exercise all year long, so we can celebrate once in a while without guilt and without going overboard.
I, for one, pledge to do a better job with eating and exercise in 2012 than I did in 2011. Not that I did a bad job this year, but there’s always room for improvement no matter who you are or what your circumstances are. So join me in celebrating all we have to live for, and all the opportunities we’re going to seek to better ourselves in the year to come!
Best wishes for a healthy, happy, peaceful holiday season and New Year.