global view constructed of white lines
man lifting weights with santa hat
December 20, 2019

Brain Matters: 4 Healthy Holiday Tips for the Season and Throughout the Year

by Lesley Bell

These healthy holiday tips from Lesley Bell will help you enjoy this festival season with family and friends, and hopefully avoid the stress and extra pounds. See what Lesley recommends in this article featured in the Santa Monica Star.

Combatting Weight Gain and Boosting Healthy Habits

With the holidays right around the corner, it is easy to be swept up in all the festivities and indulge a little too freely, and before you know it, the few extra pounds become difficult to shake off.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity-related diseases are some of the leading causes of preventable and premature deaths.

By 2022, it is estimated that nearly 113 million people will be obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) and 81 million people will be overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) in the United States alone, leading to serious co-morbidities such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and – “the Silent Killer” – high blood pressure.

It’s alarming that America’s unhealthy habits and risk factors are increasing so rapidly. Follow these tips on how to combat weight gain and boost healthy habits not only through the holidays but throughout your life!

1. Watch your diet

Try to eat “real” food, meaning produce and lean meats. Don’t go to the store hungry! Avoid items off the shelves that are high in sodium and especially anything that contains high fructose corn syrup.

2. Increase physical activity

The CDC says only 23% of US adults reach the minimum-required aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities – just 2 hours and 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and 2 days a week of resistance (hitting every major muscle group).

3. Limit smoking and alcohol intake

According to the CDC, both cigarettes and alcohol can increase your blood pressure, putting you at a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. Limiting alcohol to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men can help to avoid injuries, disease and even cancer.

4. Practice meditation and mindfulness

Doctors from Harvard Medical School have admitted that just 10 minutes a day of an easy, guided mediation has proven to increase brain activity while lowering stress, anxiety, heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels, among other health benefits.

Adapted from the article in the Santa Monica Star, December 2019

About the Author

lesley bell headshot

Lesley Bell

Lesley Bell is the Lead Cognitive Fitness (CogFit) Instructor, Personal Trainer and Brain Health Coach at the Pacific Brain Health Center in Santa Monica. With a background in Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Psychology, she works side-by-side with medical doctors, psychologists, and neuroscientists to create innovative programs for treating brain health with physical activity, linking psychology to physiology.

Last updated: March 23rd, 2020