“Healthy balance is not about better time management but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.”


I’ve begun to realize that yes, the holidays are a time to create memories and uphold traditions, but to do so, we have to create some boundaries, prioritizing and making space for our health.


The OrthoCarolina Wellness Center in Matthews was designed with healthy balance in mind; it is the definition of balance as there are certified strength and conditioning trainers, registered dietitians and nutritionists, sports psychologists and even physical therapists on staff to help you achieve balance. I spoke with Wellness Director, Jason Boudrie, CCWS, about achieving balance this holiday season and how the Wellness Center can help:

1. What resources does the OrthoCarolina Wellness Center offer as far as balance with weight loss education and nutrition management?

The Wellness Center offers several different options for weight management. We have a Registered Dietitian available to design and manage meal plans, provide health and nutrition information, and keep you on track with regular meetings. Our Dietitian is in network with most major insurance plans, so you may be able to use your health plan benefits to cover the cost.



So, Jason taught me that balance is not all willpower. Here’s how to keep your blood sugar balanced with practical food/snack suggestions for the season:

You physiological needs will drive your want for certain foods more than you think. For example, blood sugar is something to always strive to keep balanced, so you are less likely to choose unhealthy foods.

  • First – eat a high fiber and protein breakfast within 90 minutes of waking. This may look like 20g of protein and at least 5g of fiber (think eggs and vegetables, or a protein shake with berries).
  • Another way to help you stay on track and avoid overindulging is to have snacks on hand that will also keep your blood sugar balanced in between meals. Choose protein and healthy fats to pair with vegetables or fruit, such as an apple and almond butter, carrots and hummus, or cucumbers and guacamole. Hard boiled eggs, nuts and seeds and jerky are also some great convenient snacks for on-the-go.
  • Preparing for your day and planning ahead is key to success to avoid overeating.

Balance and drinking? Help!

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water! It’s easy to forget to hydrate in the winter when it’s cold outside, and you may not be as active as in the summer months. Many have a tendency to confuse thirst with hunger. Don’t make that mistake. Any beverage that does not contain sugar, alcohol or caffeine counts towards your water intake. The more water you drink, the less cider, juice, and soda you will want, which will add up in the long run. Sweetened beverages usually tend to have more sugar than most solid desserts. To ensure you’re getting enough water, take your body weight and divide by 2 to get the ounces of water you need in a day. Example 120lbs / 2 = 60 ounces of water a day. If you’re sweating daily, up it.

I love sweets. How do I find balance in festive foods and still enjoy celebrating?

If you love your sweets, or just look forward to having holiday foods, you don’t have to deprive yourself to remain healthy. Healthier alternatives and balance is key to feeling satisfied during the holidays. There are wonderful alternatives on the market that give you the taste and comfort without the calories and sugar that traditional goodies are loaded with. For example, try a coconut milk eggnog loaded with healthy fats, or my personal favorite, MALK, a sprouted pecan “egg nog” that is loaded with nutrition and low in sugar.  For pies, cakes and cookies, make these with half the sugar than the recipe lists. Most traditional recipes call for more than enough sugar, so you won’t be able to tell the difference. You can also use coconut sugar instead of cane sugar, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and perhaps even try black beans in those brownies. Get creative with substitutions, and have fun experimenting to create new healthier recipes the whole family can benefit from.

Holiday Nutrition Tips

We also reached out to some of Charlotte’s fitness experts for their tips, tactics and programs:

Liz Hilliard, creator and owner of Hilliard Studio Method has an iron-clad rule for every holiday season: “Enjoy, Partake and Celebrate!” ‘Tis the Season and you don’t want to miss it! To ensure all your hard work doesn’t fly out the window during holiday parties, follow three of her tried-and-true holiday tips:

1. Move your body! Find a way to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. The 35-minute HSM Express class at Hilliard Studio Method works and sculpts your body in half the time. Don’t have time to come to the studio at all? Stream one of our short videos, including a bonus live express class, on your smart phone, iPad or Smart TV free for your first two weeks. Don’t underestimate the power of working your body to clear your mind and keep you looking and feeling your best.
2. You’ve got to look stunning in your sassy little holiday dress, so what is your pre-party snack? “Nothing?” In that case, you’re setting yourself up for failure and a boatload of tasty little pastries sitting in your stomach and eventually on your hips. Instead, dig into a big bowl of plain yogurt pre-party. Greek is good. Add a little chia if you like, or some organic berries. This will do two things: coat your stomach with billions of gut-nourishing probiotics to help absorb the alcohol you are most likely going to drink and keep your appetite in control so that you don’t binge on unhealthy party food.

3. Hydrate and enjoy! I know the value of living well and a glass of wine for me is a daily ritual I cherish! At holiday parties, I use water to help moderate my alcohol intake. My recipe is to drink one glass of water for each glass of wine or cocktail. Moderation is key, but any chance to celebrate is not to be wasted. Joie de vivre! Check out our alcohol guide to continue the holiday fun with smart choices at hilliardstudiomethod.com. Cheers and happy holidays! 


Kerri Flanigan, Owner of AIR Charlotte, has the following classes and seminars for Surviving the Holidays! with the Team at AIR® Aerial Fitness
It’s our favorite time of year! But we know the holiday stress can get the best of all of us. That’s why this season we’ve teamed up (because we all need a shoulder to lean on), and our upcoming workshops and classes will help you through the holidays:

1. Introducing our Mindful Meditation series with Jaimis Huff. Meditation is a powerful tool that will relax your body, quiet your mind and allow you to experience greater joy and acceptance in your daily life. AIR® Charlotte is offering 30 minute classes on Tuesdays 7:30p and Thursdays @ 7p that will introduce you to mindful meditation, offer tips on establishing your practice at home, and lead you through guided meditation so you can be more present and focused throughout the holiday.

2. Having a hard time navigating the holidays and staying healthy? Join Alyssa Simpson, an Integrative Nutrition Coach and owner of Alyssa Simpson Spoonie Wellness, Wednesday December 13th @ 7:45p, at AIR® SouthPark for tips and tricks to navigating this holiday season; how to build a balanced plate, keep sugar under control & bring home some recipes for healthy (but delicious) sides!


All-star trainer, Chrysten Crockett, with VIBE5 has a few tips to help you survive the holidays and hang on to the progress you’ve made:

1. Be mindful of the things you put in your body. Drinks are the sneakiest when it comes to sugar. Juice and syrup mixers can take a drink from 90 calories to 290 calories. Try to replace sugary mixers with diet, sugar free or sugar substitute options.

2. Plan ahead. Take a look at your schedule and pick out the slots where you have free time to exercise. Place a reminder in your phone to send you alerts for your workouts.

3. Travel smart. If you know you have a long trip, pack your food. You can take cooked food in your carry-on, on an airplane. It will get through security as long as it’s in a container, and it doesn’t contain liquid. you can also save money and time, both in the airport and on the road by preparing your own healthy meal to take with you.

4. Write down your fitness goals and put them in a place where you’ll see them. These will serve as subtle reminders for when you feel like you’re getting off track.


Karen Hill, Owner/Manager of First Wind Cycling & Fitness offers a unique and welcome take on an age-old adage:

Sometimes you hear to eat a little bit before heading to a party or gathering, with the rational that if you aren’t hungry you will not eat as much.  However, what you really need to understand is that hunger is not the reason we are eating at holiday parties.  Therefore if you eat ahead of time, you are just adding yet more calories to your day.  We don’t use hunger as a signal for whether or not we are eating this time of year, instead it has to do with how many food choices we have in front of us and other social cues.

1- You are going to eat more when there are more choices.  Many foods have similar ingredients.  Look for food categories and take a little from each category instead of a little from each item.  You will still feel satisfied from the variety.

2- If you have a choice of plates, chose the small one. Remind yourself that you can always get more, so don’t load up with the first helpings.

3 – Focus on the people around you and engage in conversation.  The more you talk, the less you eat.  You won’t even miss the food because the less you think about food the less you crave it.  The slower you eat, the longer it will take for your small plate to be empty, and the less trips you’ll make to the buffet.

4 – People will usually keep eating if other people are still eating, even if they are stuffed! Try to eat slower than everyone else, but don’t be afraid to be the first one to stop.

5 – If you are spending the day with family, invite everyone to join you in a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner to look at the decorations.  It is a very nice way to get some light exercise in while still visiting!


Orange Theory Charlotte South End Coach – Zach Scarboro has the following advice:      ​

  • Accountability is everything.  If you’re an Orangetheory member, hold yourself accountable and go ahead and pre-book your workouts a week out or even the rest of the year
  • Realize and accept that it IS a busy time of year and if you do not make it in to a gym or fitness studio it is OKAY.  Any movement is better than no movement.  A 20 minute dog walk, walk around the neighborhood, any bodyweight movement such as squats, burpees, lunges, push ups, and crunches will keep you in check and get your heart rate up.
  • Drink plenty of WATER to stay hydrated and cleanse your system throughout all the holiday parties.


To read more about OrthoCarolina’s balanced approach to Wellness, learn more about their Wellness Center here, or email them here at [email protected]


1205 Mann Drive
Matthews, NC 28105