Some people call themselves “news junkies.” I, on the other hand, am a “totally avoid watching or listening to the news at all costs junkie.”
It is either too depressing or two far left for my tastes. The only “real news” I get is from listening to Q98 on the way to work. One morning, Bob and Shari were discussing a recent report that stated that while most people only gain 1 to 2 pounds during the holidays, that the 1 to 2 pounds gained stick with them for life. Doesn’t that just brighten your holiday season? Let’s see, by my calculations, if I live another 20 years or so, I will weigh about as much as an NFL lineman. Merry Christmas to me!
Good thing that I prescribe to the theory that I decide what happens to my body — not scientific researchers. While it is a fact that we have the potential to gain some over the holidays, there are ways to keep the pounds at bay.
It happens every year. The holiday season arrives and chaos ensues. We have to shop, bake and attend parties at work, church and friend’s homes. We travel to and from relatives and spend time in airports or in the car. Everyone is bringing some kind of baked good to your workplace or home, and of course it would be downright Grinchlike not to eat it, right? With the combination of extra eating, having no time for exercise and the stress, it is no wonder we don’t gain more. The best way to keep the holiday healthy is to work out and eat as close to your normal routine as possible. Here are some hints to keep those extra pounds at bay
— Keep your daily exercise routine: While it may be harder to work out at your normal time, you still need to find a time. An ideal time is to work out is right before you have to attend a party. A vigorous workout will not only curb your appetite a bit, it will rev up your metabolism for the extra calories. If you are traveling during the holidays, most hotels have at least a room with a few pieces of equipment. If all else fails, get on your winter clothes and go walking.
— Have a healthy snack before the party: Going to a party hungry is treacherous. When we are really hungry, we crave foods with higher fat and carbohydrates, and nowhere are they more readily available than at a holiday party. Eat a small snack before you leave, making sure to have something with carbs, fat and protein. Also, carry a bottle of water around during the day to keep hydrated and feeling fuller.
— Balance your party plate: Most holiday spreads do have healthier options, you just need to take the time to look. Scope out the buffet or table before grabbing a plate. Once you have a plan, make sure you balance your plate with protein fats and complex carbohydrates. It is OK to add the dessert as well, just don’t make it the focal point of your meal.
— Manage your stress: At the holidays more than any other time, stress is at a maximum. Stress, unfortunately, can actually aid in weight gain. It slows the metabolism and, for most people, overeating is a stress response. De-stress your holidays by focusing on the fun. It is OK to say no once in a while. Try to keep your schedule manageable. If you feel stress coming on, crank up your exercise, or just take time for yourself.
— Get your sleep: The holiday season is tough on our bedtime routines. If you know you are going to be out late at an event, sneak in a nap before you go. Also, you do not always have to be the last one at the party. Go home, get some sleep so you will have enough energy to do it again tomorrow.
— Have fun: The holiday season is supposed to be a time to relax and spend time with your loved ones. Spend a few nights at home with just your family and watch a movie or play a board game. Remember, you don’t always have to be out socializing.
The holiday season is not meant to be a time of stress, overeating and under exercising. It is meant to be a time of peace and a time to share with family and friends. In my favorite holiday book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Dr. Suess has the Grinch learning the meaning of the season just in time.
“He puzzled and puzzled until his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, does not come from a store, maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Take a cue from the Grinch, relax, ease up on the shopping and fretting and enjoy yourself.
Kathy Hansen has more than 20 years of experience in the health and fitness field. She, along with daughters Rebecca, Kayla, Mary Nicole and favorite dog, Tia Maria, wish you and your family a Blessed Christmas and a Healthy New Year!