Saving Your Health during the Holidays
So you are taking time off exercise and proper nutrition for the holidays. After all, everyone needs to live a little right? What are you supposed to do when people worked so hard to fix all of this good (and free!) food? And how are you supposed to fit exercise in between shopping with Sis, taking the kids to see the parents, and all of the other exciting holiday activities?
When it comes to eating, I have three recommendations that are both powerful and easy to follow:
- Eat lots of unprocessed meat and cruciferous vegetables. You should have some turkey or chicken available along with lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower; and these should constitute the majority of your plate. What's left will accommodate all the other holiday stuff you have to try: stuffing, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole.
- Just skip the fattening foods that won't knock your socks off or that you eat too much of anyway. Do you really need all the white potatoes, cornbread, and rolls? Biscuits and gravy? Sweet tea? What about deserts? See the next recommendation below.
- Be mindful of how sugar makes you feel and how short-term the reward really is. Considering you've had enough to eat already, you can be moderate and get a tiny amount of what you want to taste, or you could be a humble trend setter and let the family and/or host(s) know you don't eat desert anymore because you are like an alcoholic when it comes to sugar. They will support you, pay no mind, or be rude and illustrate their own insecurities. Either way, you win because you did what would be best for everyone to do, which is to avoid sugary desserts.
Exercise is the easy part. One simple recommendation: Exercise Every Single Day! Body squats, pushups, and just plain rolling around on the floor all count as exercise, so there is no excuse from taking even one day off. Do pushups off the wall. Every time you sit down, stand up and sit back down again. Be sure to get up and stretch during every commercial. Movement is critical. Once you become aware of how much better you feel when you are moving around, you will instantly uncover more ways to do so. Move it or lose it. Motion is lotion.
Hopefully these convenient strategies will compel you to make some clear-cut decisions that will save your health during the holidays. And if you have simple and effective fitness strategies that have worked for you, don't hesitate to share them with everyone around you. We need to secure our future by educating our way to better health, and it all starts with you.
Matthew Oliver CPT
American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
Arthritis Foundation Certified Exercise and Aquatics Instructor