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Keeping the Holidays Healthy



The holidays are a time of celebration... fun, family, and of course, food.   We eat, we drink, we indulge and then we decide to make tremendous New Year's Resolutions to eat right and exercise.  It's as though we decide to blow any and all hard work throughout the year just for the holidays and then start all over simply because the calendar does. This year, you have a choice. You don't have to let every party become your own personal eating contest and you don't have to let shopping take the place of your usual exercise routine. All it takes is motivation, flexibility, and the desire to be good to yourself for the holidays as well.


You can start by staying active.  It's tempting to ditch your workouts as your days fill up with holiday preparations, parties and shopping, but, now more than ever, you need to stay active. Exercise will help you deal with added stress and give you energy for everything you need to accomplish. It will also help you avoid the weight gain. If you have trouble sticking with your usual routine, be flexible.  Take time for yourself and make exercise your gift to yourself.  Exercise when and where you can.  Take the stairs, park far away from the mall, or walk/jog through your neighborhood to see the lights and decorations.  The holidays are a great time to be with family.  You can make exercise part of the family festivities by planning active things to do.  Take walks or bike rides together.  Plan family games or events to get everyone moving.  It is okay if your exercise routine varies somewhat during this busy time, just remember to be active!


Eating yourself into a coma seems inevitable during the holidays what with all the delicious treats available. But treating every party or celebration like it's an invitation to indulge is a sure way to add unwanted pounds.  Try to eat before you go to a party.  Going to a holiday party on an empty stomach is like going to the grocery store hungry.  You will be less tempted to overindulge if you have eaten a healthy meal or snack at home.  Alcohol is another way to pack in empty calories.  Many holiday punches and mixed drinks have hundreds of empty calories, which have no nutritional value and can even dehydrate you.  Stick to eating small frequent meals throughout your day.  This too will help to prevent unnecessary craziness at the buffet table.  You don't have to avoid all the fun foods during the holidays.  Just remember to take everything in moderation and don't go crazy.


With a little added attention, you can make this the year that you don't undo all your hard work from the month's prior. Make a decision to do everything you can to stay active and eat healthy while not depriving yourself of all the fun. Like everything else in life, it's all about moderation.  Make time for yourself and try to maintain as much of your normal routine as possible.  Enjoy the season and have a happy holiday!