“If you find yourself craving candy, it’s because you are eating it.” Margaret Marshall

When seasons change, so does the type of food we crave and eat. As summer approaches we eat more grilled food, various salads, and more fresh fruit. But as the autumn approaches and temperatures drop, we want food that warms the body, like stews, soups, or casseroles.

Candy is everywhere on shelves for impulse buying because retail starts the holiday sweet-eating season as the back-to-school days are upon us. Decorations for upcoming holidays that are still months away are visible. Too often we react to their ploy by purchasing extra candy leading to the habit of choosing it in place of healthier options throughout the holidays. In fact as we move deeper into the holiday season and we are busy with extra holiday tasks and festivities, replacing good nutritious food for quick-to-grab sweets or fast food can become the norm.

Eating too much food that depletes us of energy will increase stress levels, compromise the immune system, and leave us full of regrets. How do we keep the joy in joyful during this season?

During the holiday season, we are faced with stressful situations and stressful people.

This time of year you find less time for relaxing moments and more time for extra tasks and social events. If you are not prepared for these stressful situations they will lead to ill-health. Many experience colds, flu, and viruses, during these months. When time becomes limited, there is no time for illness. Use your time wisely. Eat smart. Delegate tasks if possible. Spend your time doing what you love most, and forgo traditions that no longer serve you.

You may have to spend time with those who are a source of stress. The holiday season is a range of emotions. Keep your emotions in check. Remember that this is your holiday season too, and if others cause you stress, avoid them even if you are in the same room. Keep your joy separate from their presence.

We attend gatherings, office parties or celebrate holidays.

I have always wished that people who love to host holiday parties would host some during the year. There are a few short weeks at the end of the year when most of the celebrations happen. If going from party to party is exhausting, it’s time to decline some invitations. You can’t be in two places at the same time, so prioritize where you will spend your holiday fun.

Each occasion offers excess food and drink.

There is no shortage of food and alcohol at each holiday gathering. Eating too much rich food or drinking too much alcohol will certainly take the joy from joyful. It will also rob you of precious hours in the upcoming days because you’ll be left feeling fatigued. The objective at these events is not to eat and drink as much as you can, but rather to enjoy the food served with a drink or two that complements it. Both food and drink are more enjoyable when you are sensible.

Your body reacts to good and bad stress, and the holidays offer both.

There is no lack of stress during the holiday season, and your body does not differentiate between good or bad stress. Lack of funds for gift-purchasing or time spent lovingly finding the perfect gift is an example of good and bad stress, yet your body only feels stress and has similar physical reactions in both instances. Practice stress management techniques by calming down. Deep breathing, listening to soft music or sounds, and eating smart are incredibly useful during these months.


During the last few months of the year sufficient sleep may evade you. Compromising sound sleep for other tasks or activities is a futile attempt at a happy holiday season. Without adequate sleep, everything will suffer.

This is the time of year that we think of others. We want the holidays to be memorable for those we love. Make it memorable for you as well. Be as generous to yourself as you are to others.

Margaret Marshall The Healthy Living Expert is a media personality, an international speaker and the creator of “The Five Finger Food Guide”. She is the author of “Body, Mind & Mouth” and “Healthy Living Means Living Healthy”. She is an articulate communicator who employs realistic strategies to maintain a healthy mindset and lifestyle that result in successful career paths for her audiences.

Margaret enjoys almost three decades in the wellness/weight loss industry. She had a seventeen- year run as a speaker and trainer for Weight Watchers and now is an international speaker who presents wellness programs for corporations such as:

Amtrak, Pepsi, JDA, Amex, Metlife, Cannon USA, National Grid, Sterling Equities, Fort Hamilton USAG, Time Inc, Time Warner Music, Verizon, Morgan Stanley, Sterling National Bank, KPMG, Neuberger Berman, Fordham University, Hofstra University, The New York College for Health Professions, Molloy College, United HealthCare, St. Francis Hospital, Winthrop Hospital, The Catholic Health System, The Mets Organization, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises.

Her articles are published in The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, Thrive Global, and in women’s magazines, news outlets, and government publications, nationally and internationally. She appears on national and local television and radio programs, regularly.

Margaret Marshall is a past executive board member for The National Speaker’s Association in New York City and a past Area Governor for Toastmasters.

Learn more at www.MargaretMarshallAssociates.com