Top Ten Holiday Health Tips
1. Stick with your fitness routine as much as possible Just two days without exercise reduces your body’s efficient use of insulin. Mood and cardiovascular changes begin to occur as well. We never “find the time” to do anything – schedule your workouts like business appointments. Make shopping exercise as well - power walk the mall, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park far away from the store and walk. Take the opportunity for walks, hikes and playing sports with your family, playing WiiFit, etc.
2. Maintain your normal eating schedule Don’t skip lunch or any other meal because you’ll be eating later. Have a small meal with some fat content at your normal time. This will keep your body from the “starvation mode” later at the oddly timed meal which over-rides our intellectual controls and can lead to eating thousands of extra calories before this mode is turned off. In fact, if you know you are headed for a calorie laden activity, make sure to eat a small snack such as a few nuts at least 20-30 minutes before. 20 minutes is how long it takes for the brain to start getting the message there is enough food in the tank.
3. Freeze left over dessert, cake, etc. in individual serving sizes as soon as you clean up from serving it. This eliminates the temptation to "finish off" a high calorie treat just so it won’t “go to waste.” It also gets it out of sight/temptation while you are full and satisfied. It provides a serving size treat when you are having a big craving without having to buy a whole box of something or cooking a whole batch which could lead to binge eating. It gives you a quick portion controlled dessert to feed your family on another day. If you have an out of the way freezer, keep it there so you’ll only go get it when you really want it. I put my individual portions in sandwich or snack baggies and then put them all together in a gallon freezer bag for extra freshness. This is a great holiday tip for a time when way too many desserts are given to you. December’s overindulgence can be changed into February’s little special treat.
4. Don't stand by the snack table or chip bowl. Put some on your plate and head to a different spot so you don't inadvertently eat too much while talking.
5. Get your sleep and stay hydrated – we tend to eat to counter the negative effects of not being hydrated or thinking it will help us “wake up.” Drinking water also helps flush excess sugars and salts from holiday treats that make us feel bloated and spike insulin. Eating high potassium foods such as bananas and sweet potatoes also helps flush out bloating.
6. Brush your teeth and use mouth wash before you cook so you are less likely to "pick" an extra meal while you cook. This same technique is also excellent for preventing late night snacking. Brush, floss, etc. after your last meal of the night. Since you know you’d have to brush again, you are much less likely to snack. Chew mint gum when you are cooking. It keeps your mouth, full, fresh, and busy, making it unlikely that you’ll be something else in it. Also, the strong mint often mixes strangely with other flavors making it unlikely you’ll sample.
7. Use "Sampling” methodology at the buffet - place a very small amount of each thing that really looks good to you on your plate (a tablespoon full or so) along side a good sized salad (easy on the toppings. Potato salad, etc. goes in the “sampling” category”). Eat your salad and taste each ”sampling” item – take your time. Leave the remainder of anything you sample and don’t like. Include fat and fiber in this first “sampling” round. (i.e. smidgen of mac and cheese & salad.) Go back for only what you really like.
8. Don’t finish any empty or high calorie food on your plate that isn’t bringing you great satisfaction. Don’t clean your plate for the routine of it. Say to yourself, “Better left over or in the trash than on my butt!” (But do finish your veggies!)
9. Use positive psychology Don’t let one holiday overindulgence lead to a month of over-eating. Just tell yourself, “Okay, I’m back on track right now.” Forgive yourself. It’s your long-term patterns that make a difference not an occasional over-indulgence. Being physically active leads us to not want to “undo” it with unhealthy foods. Remind yourself that you’d rather have a healthy, great body in the New Year than over-eat a particular food now. Commit to remain fit and choose to enjoy food you don’t usually eat in moderation.
10. Get support for a healthier you with Wade into Fitness!
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