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Top Tips for Healthy Holiday Wellness

Posted Nov 18 2010 10:51pm

The Holiday Season is not exactly conducive to wellness. Rich meals, less time to exercise, sleep and relax….it can all add up to unwanted stress and unwanted pounds. So here are my tips for maintaining your sanity, waistline and overall wellness during the holidays:

1. Don’t give in to the idea that holiday weight gain is a foregone conclusion. Research shows that most Americans only gain about a pound at the holidays . The key to maintaining your weight, your fitness (and your sanity!) is PLANNING AHEAD.

2. Have a game plan for Thanksgiving day, deciding ahead of time what foods and beverages are must-haves and which ones you can pass on to save calories. For example, decide whether to have alcohol or dessert – not both. Skip the rolls and butter in favor of stuffing or mashed potatoes.

3. Don’t arrive ravenous to holiday parties or meals. Have a small snack prior – ideally one containing complex carbohydrates, lean protein and a little healthy fat.

4. Fortunately, there are  foods on the holiday menu that are inherently healthful l. It’s all in how you prepare them.

5. Wear close-fitting clothes to holiday meals and parties – no elastic waists. It will help you be more aware of how much you’re eating.

6. Add flavor without calories with spices:  nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, rosemary, etc. Not only will they jazz up your dishes, all are healthful in themselves as well. Cinnamon, for example, helps control blood sugar. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory.

7. Exercise vigorously the morning of Thanksgiving or a holiday party. You’ll not only rev up your metabolism, you’ll more likely store any extra calories you consume as glycogen in your muscles rather than as fat.

8. Maintaining your exercise program during the holidays can be challenging. Click here for tips on staying in shape during this busy time of year .

9. Don’t sacrifice sleep.  Sleep is  an important part of appetite- and weight control . The hormone, leptin controls appetite and is largely produced during sleep. Conversely, production of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite, increases when you don’t get enough sleep.

10. Finally, if you do end up with a few pounds more come January, know that it is possible to drop the extra holiday weight healthfully .

While the holidays are a festive, potentially wonderful time of year, they can also be frenetic and stressful. Don’t add to your stress by expecting perfection from yourself. If you give into some small indulgences, you’re more likely to avoid a big splurge. That said, don’t use the holidays as an excuse to stop taking care of yourself.

Be Well (and Happy Holidays),

Carolyn


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