The holidays are upon us once again!


It seems like it only took a year to recover from last year’s health problems that were born from terrible food, plenty of alcohol, no exercise and ridiculous amounts of stress. 

There’s no surprise that more heart attacks occur in December and January than any other months of the year.

Take the time this season to truly enjoy your family and friends, but follow these steps so you can live to tell about it!


1.     Decide you want to be healthy

The first step towards any positive change is making the decision you actually want it to happen. You might know that you want to be healthy, but it is rarely something that shows up in our behaviours. Take some time to truly make the decision as well as reflecting on why it is important.


2.     Have a vision

Plenty of people have dreams of being healthy but, without a detailed plan, it will never come to fruition. Add a well-thought-out plan based on correct principles and now you have a vision that will inspire and motivate as well as navigate those moments of weakness.


3.     See your Chiropractor

Often seen as an intervention for aches and pains, chiropractic is a more significant part of the health process than you’d expect. Keeping a healthy spine and nerve system is a vital piece for staying healthy and handling the stress of the season.


4.     Schedule your holiday season

Create a schedule for your holiday season with all events, parties and even days off (booking days off is a big one).  See the future before it happens and plan accordingly. Identify, plan and be ready to adapt to any obstacles that may be in your path.


5.     Plan your meals

You are already going to be facing some “off-track” opportunities; make sure the rest of your meals fit all of the Eat By Design principles (See eat by design manual). You can offset some of the negative effects by ensuring every other meal is built from high-quality real food.


6.     Party survival basics

When you do make it to the party, focus on protein (meat, cheese, nuts) instead of crackers, bread, and other treats. If you are drinking alcohol, choose red wine, potato vodka or cider.


7.     Regular movement

Be sure to continue with your regular exercise (it does not have to be in a gym, any form of movement will do)!

Special tip: Always exercise on any day you may not be eating 100% as you know you should. This is less about burning off calories than it is about engaging in a health-promoting activity.


8.     Have fun

Enjoy yourself, don’t beat yourself up, and get right back on the wagon if you do fall off. Health has momentum and all the good you have been doing will carry you through the times when you don't want to be perfect.  Don’t allow one bad meal or day to become an entire month or more.


9.     Plan for next year before next year

It’s a big mistake to wait until the new year to plan your vision and action steps for success.

Use December as a great time to start thinking about next year, what you want for your life, and how you plan on making it happen.


Have a great day!

Dr. Ryno

P.S. If you have any great strategies that work for you please share them in the comments below :-) 

Dr. Ryno Tope is a Doctor of Chiropractic, a member of the New Zealand Chiropractic Association, and owner of Structural Chiropractic in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay. Dr. Tope focuses on an area of chiropractic called Structural Correction and has been in practice for 6 years. You can reach Dr. Tope at or 06•651•1004. You can also follow the Structural Chiropractic Facebook page (