How To Help Your Patients Avoid The December Health Slump

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Dr. Andrew Krause, ND
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How To Help Your Patients Avoid The December Healt...

As soon as we flip our calendars to January 1st, gym bags are packed, resolutions are written, and health is once again a focus in our patients’ lives. “New year, new me” is evident when it comes to health and an improvement in healthy lifestyles. This behavior happens like clockwork, and the Google search trends are there to back this up. Every single year, there is a steep drop in the number of searches for the terms “healthy” and “health” on Google in December, followed by a sharp increase in January.

Google Trends shows the decline in health-related searches in December, versus January.

December is a short work month and when the focus is on family, celebration, and holiday preparation, it’s fair that patients don’t put the same attention into their health goals and their health activities during this time of year. They tend to redirect the attention back to their health at the turn of the new year.

It is evident that there is a slump in health-focused activities during the first month of winter, and we want to give you the tools and tips to avoid the December slump with your patients.

Here are three tips to help keep your patients be on track this December:

1. Remind patients to use their FSAs and HSAs before they expire!

Send an email to your patients in mid-November and every two weeks until the end of the year reminding them to use up their Health Spending Accounts (HSA) and Flex Spending Accounts (FSA). Most plans reset at the end of December, so this is a great time to remind patients to use up their remaining funds before the end of the year!

Most HSA and FSA plans cover reimbursements for supplements on Fullscript, so your patients can finish the year with all the products they need to keep them feeling well over the holidays. And trust us – your patients will love using Fullscript!

woman recording what she has eaten for lunch in a notebook

It is always better to consume foods out of smaller plates/bowls to unconsciously minimize food intake.

2. Give your patients resources on mindful eating

The all-or-nothing nutrition mentality can only last so long until it breaks. Empower your patients by giving them resources on mindful eating to keep them focused on how they are feeling and what their body needs every time they choose to eat sweets and treats during the holidays.

Two of our favorite resources are:

Did you know?
It is always better to consume foods out of smaller plates/bowls to unconsciously minimize food intake (1).

3. Give your patients an alternating diet schedule if they are watching their weight

Recent research (2) in a group of obese men showed that an alternating schedule diet of two weeks on (67% of calories needed to maintain weight), and two weeks off (100% of calories needed to maintain weight) over 32 weeks led to better and longer lasting weight loss, fat loss, and muscle gain compared to just 16 straight weeks of dieting at 67% of required calories. Who wouldn’t want that! By including mindful indulgences into a bigger plan, and creating room for more calories during the overall weight loss initiative, the plan is more likely to be one that lasts.

Part of most successful dietary interventions is tracking food intake (3): My Fitness Pal is a great tool to help patients track their nutrition and the calories they consume.

With these tips, you can help your patients with their wellness and healthy lifestyle. This way, when our calendars restart your patients’ health doesn’t have to.

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