CU Medicine Providers Share Their Best “12 Days of Fitmas” Tips

We spoke with providers across different specialties at CU Medicine to get the best “fitmas” tips to help keep you healthy this season and all year round.

The holiday season can derail even the healthiest of us all. Between festive feasts, frigid weather and jam-packed social calendars, staying on top of your health goals can prove challenging this time of year.

Drawing from years of experience, CU Medicine's team of dedicated physicians, psychologists and nurse practitioners share their top tips to guide you through the holidays. From maintaining physical activity while traveling to smarter potluck picks, managing stress to caring for your feet, this series has the prescription for keeping your momentum.

12 Days of Fitmas Tips

1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Dr. Julliane Garrison from CU Medicine Family Medicine – Park Meadows shares one of her top tips she recommends to her patients which is eating more fruits and vegetables. “Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. They are high in fiber. Eating more plants like vegetables help to bind up fats and bad cholesterols in your gut,” explains Dr. Garrison.

2. Get Screened for Cervical Cancer

Prioritizing and knowing when to get screened for cervical cancer is important for anyone with a cervix. Dr. Andrew Koo from CU Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology – Highlands Ranch explains, “Screening for cervical cancer starts at age 21. It’s done by your provider performing a pelvic exam and something called a Papanicolaou exam, otherwise known as a Pap test.”

3. Maintain Foot and Ankle Strength

To protect your feet and ankles from preventable injuries, it’s important to maintain foot and ankle strength. Activities like walking, hiking, stretching, bodyweight lifting and yoga are easy and free ways to keep your joints healthy this season and all year long.

4. Know When to Get a Screening Colonoscopy

“Colon cancer is curable and preventable with screenings,” explains Kristy Severson, CNP from CU Medicine Gastroenterology – Highlands Ranch Specialty Care Center. “Patients with average colon cancer risk should start screening at age 45. Additional screenings are dependent on the results of the first screening colonoscopy.”

5. Wear SPF Everyday

Dr. Brooke French from CU Medicine Cosmetic Surgery – CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center reminds patients to wear SPF 30 or above every day- even on overcast days. “It will help keep your skin healthy, prevent wrinkles, lower your risk for malignancies and keep your elasticity,” shares Dr. French.

6. Health is Trifecta of Mind, Body and Spirit

Patients from all walks of life come to see Dr. Julianne Garrison at CU Medicine Family Medicine – Park Meadows for their primary care needs. Over the years, Dr. Garrison has learned that health is a trifecta of mind, body and spirit. Attending to all three is an important goal to set all year-round.

7. Limit Alcohol

Holiday engagements can come with slew of gatherings that have alcoholic beverages available. Unfortunately, excessive alcohol use has immediate and long-term health effects on individuals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the limit of one alcoholic beverage a day for women and two per day for men. Enjoy responsibly this holiday season.

8. Laser Hair Removal as Self-Care

Laser hair removal is a form of self-care. When performed correctly, it is a safe and effective for removing unwanted face and body hair. If performed improperly, it can result in burns, permanent skin color changes and even scars. “To reduce the risk of possible side effects and ensure an effective treatment, I recommend people only seek laser hair removal from a certified medical provider trained in using lasers and has in-depth knowledge of the skin,” explains Dr. Carla Torres-Zegarra, medical director of CU Medicine Dermatology - Aurora. Here are her top 3 tips for laser hair removal. Follow Dr. Torres-Zegarra on Instagram @dermaskinmd for more tips. 


9. Mindful Eating

Dr. Liz Chamberlain from CU Medicine Weight Management and Wellness – CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center knows how holiday feasts can sneak up on those of us who tend to overeat. She shares her tips on approaching these events with kindness towards ourselves and mindfulness.

10. Move Your Body Everyday

“Try to move everyday however you can,” shares Dr. Brooke French [MM1] from CU Medicine Cosmetic Surgery – CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. Just 20 minutes a day of walking, running or dancing will help to keep you healthy and feeling young.

11. Stay Active for your Heart Health

Maintaining an active lifestyle with regular physical exercise lowers your chance of experiencing cardiac arrest or acquiring a cardiovascular disease. Choose an activity you enjoy as this can lead to more consistency and longer duration of the activity.

12. Try a Stress Management Exercise

Stress isn’t something we can magically make disappear. The holidays can bring a lot of joy and sometimes stress. Dr. Liz Chamberlainguides us through a stress management exercise you can do anywhere and anytime.

We hope these tips help you through the holiday season and throughout 2024. Find a CU Medicine provider near you here.



CATEGORIES: Dermatology, Health Education, Orthopedics, Primary Care, Weight Management

This post was originally posted on 11/28/2023