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The holiday season isn’t always the healthiest time of year.

It can be a season of indulgence, when we eat too much and move too little. Seasonal depression may rear its ugly head, and revelers, foolishly, may drink too much and get behind the wheel.

But if we head into the holidays with a plan, we can make this a happy and healthy holiday season. Here are some things to consider:

Holiday Goodies

We know too many of us weigh too much. About 32 percent of adults in both Wisconsin and Michigan were considered obese in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Obesity is associated with a host of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain cancers and type II diabetes.

And while obesity is a multifaceted problem requiring a multifaceted solution, the fact remains that what and how much we eat often plays a significant role in the size of our waistline — and the holiday season is a prime time to pack on pounds that might be difficult to lose later on.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy seasonal favorite foods, but it does mean you should have a plan when it comes to eating right during all those holiday gatherings. To start with, don’t arrive too hungry – have a healthy snack or small meal at home before you head out. Once you arrive, don’t hang out by the buffet — that makes it far too easy to mindlessly graze while chatting. Finally, watch your alcohol intake. Booze has empty calories and too much of it can inhibit your plans to eat sensibly at the party.

Making Time to Move

It’s cold and life is busy. Who has time for exercise? You do — but you have to make it a priority. Schedule your workout the way you would any other meeting or obligation, so it’s harder to blow off. A workout buddy can add accountability and help keep you moving throughout the holiday season.

When you can’t work out, add movement to your day — park at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a quick walk on your lunch break. Little movement breaks can add up and every little bit helps.

Sad or stressed? Seek Help

The holidays are a wonderful time, but they can also be tough for individuals who struggle with anxiety or depression — whether chronic or seasonal. Keep expectations reasonable this time of year, and remember to take some time to relax and rejuvenate. If the stress or sadness gets to be too much, find a friendly confidant or seek professional help. You are not alone.

Drinking? Don’t Drive.

This is certainly true any time of year, but it bears repeating — never, ever drink and drive. Designate a driver before you head to your holiday gathering, or call a sober friend or family member if you drink more than you had planned. It’s not worth the risk of injuring or killing yourself or someone else.

Take steps for better health this season. It’s a great way to celebrate the holidays and prepare for an even better New Year ahead.

Dr. Ivy Vachon practices at Bellin Health Marinette.