Want a healthy holiday?

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

By Dr. Charles Rhodes

NC Academy of Family Physicians

It’s a holiday story we all live out — and often repeatedly. Holiday parties, stress, a little too much (fill in the blank) coupled with potentially taxing family visits and padded social schedules — make for a healthy lifestyle gone amuck.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Join us and take the Holiday Challenge.

Offered through “Eat Smart Move More Weigh Less,” the program challenges workplaces and other groups to work collectively to keep the pounds off, have less holiday stress and more physical activity.

Think your workplace might need a challenge to be holiday healthy? It’s simple to do.

• Talk with your manager about bringing the Holiday Challenge to your workplace. Show them materials for the program and potential incentives and prizes for participants. Remember: taking on the Holiday Challenge will make for happier, healthier employees throughout the holiday season and into 2018.

• Designate a Holiday Challenge coordinator.

• Almost everyone loves competition, and your participants will be no different. We recommend offering prizes to make for a livelier campaign.

• Office activities typically yield the most success for participants. Consider offering group walks at lunch, a healthy pot luck holiday supper, writing encouraging notes, small gifts and cheering each other’s success.

• How to best promote the Holiday Challenge: use handy email announcements, fliers or social media posts.

• You’ll track weight fluctuations, caloric intake, exercise with your coworkers during the challenge, and at the end, measure your success.

Last year all 100 North Carolina counties were represented in the Holiday Challenge, with roughly 6,000 North Carolinians participating among the 15,600 participants nationwide. The results? More than 92 percent of challengers reported maintaining or losing weight, with 98 percent saying they would participate again.

Family physicians believe that being mindful about your health will make you more energetic, less stressed and healthier overall through the holidays.

We all feel both the stress of the holidays as well as the temptation to indulge in more sweets and rich foods. Taking the challenge allows you keep focus on your own well-being. Staying aware of what you’re eating and drinking, and making sure you’re getting exercise to shave off stress, can make for a much happier holiday season.

The first challenge just began on Nov. 13. Learn more at www.esmmweighless.com or visit www.ncafp.com for more opportunities to learn about health and family medicine.

Rhodes is president of the N.C. Academy of Family Physicians, which provides Healthy North Carolina as a public service.