Medical Minute: Healthy Holiday Tips

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MINOT, N.D. - It's the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also the worst for your health. Between less-than-nutritious foods and germs everywhere, having a healthy holiday is easier said than done.

The estimates of how much the average person gains over the holiday season vary. Five to 10 pounds is common, but the New England Journal of Medicine found that it may be closer to one to three pounds, which for a healthy person may not be a big deal, but that's not the case for those with previous health concerns.

"The people who are going to be most affected by the holiday weight is the people that also have heart disease and diabetes," Family Nurse Practitioner Rachel Gruenberg said.

That's not to say that everyone shouldn't be aware of how much they're eating. The extra weight can often be sneaky.

"If you don't pay attention to what's going on suddenly the new year's here and you don't realize what you've done through the holidays," Gruenberg said.

The solution to lose weight or keep weight off is the same no matter the time of year.

"We all need a little more activity, so offsetting those calories with a little more activity. And even if you are already active, increasing the activity," Gruenberg said.

Another serious concern for the holiday season is keeping infections like the flu or cold away so you can enjoy the time with your family. And that solution is just as simple.

"People are around friends, family, little kids. We're all sharing our germs, going from place-to-place, house-to-house. Also picking up our germs out in the community. Everybody is out shopping, and you don't realize the amount of things you touch, so number one thing we always talk about is washing your hands," Gruenberg said.

And during this busy time just remember to keep yourself in mind as well.

"We're all burning the candles at both ends during the holidays so just making sure you're getting your rest, your sleep and taking care of yourself," Gruenberg said.

Some studies suggest weighing yourself twice a week. It is enough to keep you on track but not so much you feel like you can't enjoy yourself a little bit this time a year.