Saturday, December 17, 2011

Staying Fit and Eating Healthy During The Holidays

We all know that this is the season where food is in abundance.  Everything from pumpkin/apple/pecan pie, cream cheese stuffed potatoes, egg nog, mom’s famous candy cane cookies, and holiday themed booze.

Who says it’s not ok to splurge this time of the year? I’m not saying that! In fact, I’ll happily admit I’m one to enjoy the vast selection of desserts.  One of my favorite treats is creating holiday cocktails for my family.  I find creating concoctions quite entertaining.  Therefore, the spirit for Christmas afternoon is the candy-cane-tini. 

Ok…so now you’re thinking "isn’t this blog supposed to be about staying fit and eating healthy" well …YES.  So, let’s get to it.

Here’s 8 ways to Stay Fit and Eat Healthy:

1.     Everything in moderation – Bottom line: You need to choose where and when you draw the line on eating certain foods.  Have a party to go to on Friday night and know you’ll want to splurge? Then focus on a clean meal (veggies, fruits, proteins, healthy fats) the day before and drink plenty of water.  The following day resume that same schedule.

2.     Stay Active – Get outside! Go for a run around the block.  Jog to the nearest playground and use the equipment for certain exercises.  Take walks after meals, and invite the family to join along. If you’re pressed for time just squeeze in at least 10 minutes.  Something is better than nothing. =)

3.     Beware of liquid calories - I have to point this out.  I know… this is something you rather not be reminded of.   Just realize a few drinks can quickly add up.

Serving size
12 ounces
Light Beer
12 ounces
Non-alcoholic Beer
12 ounces
Red Wine
4 ounces
White Wine
4 ounces
Wine Cooler
8 ounces
4 ounces
4 ounces
Gin and tonic
4 ounces
Pina colada
4 ounces

4.     Get adequate sleep – Sleeping is just too important to shortchange.  First, sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation.  Second, sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite. Last but not least (there are many other reasons), sleep loss causes irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness.  We’ve all experienced how being overly drained leaves us dragging and unable to function…so get some shut-eye!

5.     Relax – This time of the year everyone is doing the exact opposite.  We fill our calendars with tons of shopping, baking, and holiday parties.  It’s very important that that calendar includes time for ourselves.  Schedule an hour for snuggling up with a good book, taking a bath or attending a yoga session.  Research shows that people who don’t relax on a regular basis tend to put on weight, have weaker immune systems, have a higher rate with cardiovascular disorders (high blood pressure and heart disease), as well as gastrointestinal problems (indigestion, constipation, etc).   That bath sounds good right about now, doesn’t it.

6.     Keep hydrated – Nothings better than quality H20! Water is essential for survival and an imbalance can lead to serious problems.  Typically, adults lose about 10 cups of water a day just from breathing, sweating, eliminating waste, and other everyday functions.  Now add in the shopping, drinking alcohol and traveling.  You now have a higher risk of dehydration.  One great way to remember to drink water is to keep a water bottle with you everywhere you go, drink water before you’re thirsty and consume foods high in water like watermelon, grapes, and grapefruit. 

7.     Don’t skip meals – This is a big “No No”.  Skipping meals is detrimental to your body and can cause undesirable health issues such as decreased metabolic rate, and resistance to disease, weight gain, increased preference in fat in the diet and injury rates, mood swings and menstrual dysfunction just to name a few. Instead it’s a better idea to eat smaller meals and snack on fruits and vegetables with some protein and healthy fat in between. 

8.     Eat your Fruits and Veggies – Make it a priority to eat at least 5 a day.  If you can add more, go for it.  Fruits and Vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.  They’re also water dense and help keep you full longer.  Here’s a few snack ideas:  An apple/celery and almond/peanut butter, a handful of nuts with a piece of fruit or a few different colored slices of peppers with some cottage cheese.

By making the best choices possible in situations, staying focused and enjoying yourself in the process you will do just fine in staying healthy this holiday season.

Wishing you a great holiday and a very happy new year! 

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