Take Five with…Dr. Oz: 5 ways to stay healthy during the holidays

By Ava Baccari

Everyone needs a few helpful healthy reminders to get through the holidays, and who better to prescribe some sagely advice than Dr. Oz himself? The three-time Emmy winning host of The Dr. Oz Show (CTV) and cardiac surgeon chatted with Hello! Canada about how to keep up with your wellness goals – or start them altogether! – as we move into the festive season of home-baked cookies, mulled wine and turkey aplenty. Good luck out there at the dessert table!

Dr. Oz shares his tips for holiday balance. Photo: © Getty Images

Appreciate the power of "no." It’s the most influential word in our language, people don’t use it enough. It’s not meant to be mean, quite the opposite. I argue to the audience that it shows you respect them by saying that "For me to spend quality time with you, I will need to do X, Y, Z. I don’t have that ability right now, so I’m going to say no, because I care about you." But it also preserves your mindset because otherwise you get pulled in directions you don’t want to be pulled in, and it makes you unhappy and resentful. We’ve all been there, one too many parties, one too many gatherings, one too many folks to buy presents for, whatever it might be. Just draw a line, say "no, you’ll like me better, I’ll be a better friend to you if I’m not in that predicament."

You should never be a two-fisted eater or drinker. One hand should always be free. You’re at a social event to be social, not eat. So if you keep one hand free to shake hands, that means you can have one plate or one drink and not more than that.

I always also tell people to alternate their drinks. Have your alcohol, then follow with water, then alcohol, then water — it helps with hangovers, it helps with calories, and avoids the awkwardness of when you kiss the wrong person at parties, all that bad stuff.

I also want to throw out the importance of sleep: everyone respects it, but the real problem around the holidays is because you’re doing your job and the extra job of the holidays, you don’t have time to sleep. And that leads to a lot of illnesses that folks have. So it's imperative, I think, to circle the party days — what are the nights that you’re going to be out late, eating late, etc. The days around that, you have to eat better, sleep better, fuel better. So like an athlete, you have to peak for the party days.

I don’t want people to think about dieting over the holidays — it won't work anyway. The best thing for them to do is to say, 'Okay, I know this is a party that’s going to be fun, my friend’s making sweets, I'm going to pledge to myself to have three bites and not more.' And here’s why: the first bite tastes the best ever, as good as you dream. The second bite is half as good as the first, the third bite is half as good as the second, so by the time you get past the third bite, it's hedonistic. Get a big glass of water, wash the taste out of your mouth and move on with life. Enjoy your splurges but don’t be sabotaged by them.

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