I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Felicia Stoler, a registered dietitian and author, about what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. With the holiday season coming on, we want to make sure the EmpowHER community has all the tips and tricks they need to maintain good health and a positive outlook.
What motivated you to develop a guide for the holidays?
A lot of times, people blame the holidays for why they fall off-track and off-target. I just think that there is no reason people have to sacrifice healthy habits kept throughout the year during the holidays.
For example, when people don’t eat anything all day long and then binge eat. You would not do that day-to-day, so why make the holidays an exception? You can have a little bit of everything. You can try a little bit of everything. It is not always an all or nothing mentality, it isn’t really realistic.
What are some healthy, guilt-free recipes for the holidays? And how much is too much?
I get a lot of recipes off of Pinterest and I have some great recipes in my book. I have a kettle corn cauliflower recipe that is sweet and savory. I use sustainable Malaysian palm oil that gives it a tinge of color in addition to the turmeric I add to it. I use the oil for its flavor profile. The olive oil flavor would taint the taste of the finished product.
I like making a bird; I enjoy cooking a turkey. I pat it down without any oil and it comes out delicious and amazing. I also have an acorn squash recipe. Take acorn squash, cut it in half, steam and then bake it upside down. Then, add a little bit of butter or oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and dried cranberries, mash it up and serve. I never have leftovers.
Any insight on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the holidays, either from your own life, and or other extremely fit individuals?
The insight is that there is no excuse for the holidays — it is a 24/7 lifestyle. Regardless of what time of the year it is, there are no excuses. Most fad diets have a beginning and an end.
A lot of people have sensitivities to things such as dairy and gluten. The holidays can test what is best for your stomach versus your taste buds. Any insight, or tips on this?
If you have a sensitivity, then don’t eat the things that bother your tummy. In terms of gluten, stuffing is what you have to look out for. For me the turkey is the center, but I also love side dishes. So there is always something to eat. Instead of a stuffing, do a rice dish — rice stuffing instead of traditional bread-based stuffing.
What is your personal fitness mantra, and do you alter it for the holidays? If yes, please share!
It depends on what I am doing for the day. Over the summer I like to swim. I also enjoy going to the gym. I sprinkle in hot yoga. In addition, I am a fan of stand-up paddleboarding, hiking and biking. I don’t count the number of days per week, I have an app on my phone that counts my steps and informs me if I have met my set level of physical activity.
Things become habits over a while. When you learn to tie your shoelace, it was hard at first, but over time you don’t have to think about. Schedule it in. Put it in your calendar like everything else.
I did a worksite wellness program when I was in graduate school. We had people using pedometers, where they got up and walked for five minutes every hour. They were able to get in 40 minutes of physical activity that they wouldn’t have otherwise all at once.
That is genius! I cannot believe I never thought of that. Any take-away messages for our readers?
Just take ownership over the care of your body. We only have one body. We can put a lot of blame on other things, but it is up to us. We are not all victims of circumstance.
More about Dr. Stoler:
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RDN, FACSM Nutritionist & Exercise Physiologist is the author of "Living Skinny in Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great." She is a former host of TLC's show "Honey, We're Killing the Kids."
Dr. Stoler is PR Chair/Past President/Media Rep for the New Jersey Dietetic Association and Past President for the Greater New York Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine. She is a member of the New Jersey Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She is a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University.
Reviewed November 24, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith