Monday, November 23, 2009

Healthy Holiday Season

It's that time of year again.

Thanksgiving is just days away, and while the holiday is supposed to be a day to reflect on what we are thankful for, its focus is often redirected to the turkey and all the fixings. We may sit at the table, say grace, or even state something that we are grateful for, but then we load our plate up with turkey, mashed or sweet potatoes, and maybe some cranberries. Technically, if we plate it up right (and light), this isn't such a bad meal. But what follows next is five weeks of holiday parties, egg nog, and Christmas cookies.

How do we stay fit during the holiday season?

Focus. It's important to remember what the holidays are really about. Seeing loved ones, visiting old friends, and celebrating whatever it is we celebrate (Hanukkah, the birth of Jesus). If we stay focused on what matters, we are less likely to overindulge on pastries, wine, and hors d'oeuvres.

Fitness. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule is very important. I know, firsthand, that this can be tough. We have so many places to be, errands to run, meals to prepare. Scheduling in gym/studio time is a great way of keeping to your exercise schedule. Write it in your planner, and treat it like you would a doctor's appointment, only cancel in an emergency. Exercise is good for your body, and it is also a great way of relieving stress.

Hydrate. Our society introduces apple cider into our daily diets somewhere around October, and then graduates to creamy egg nog (often spiked with rum) just in time for Thanksgiving. Keep water handy and drink it often, as this will keep you full and will make it easier to take a pass when the sugary beverages come around. Water is great for your skin, too. And remember, sugar weakens the immune system, so limit sugar intake.

Mood. Keep stress levels low by taking plenty of time to laugh, and getting lots of rest. Respect the fact that your body needs downtime. This not only means getting a good night's sleep (I like eight hours), but it also means taking time to stay in and relax around the house. Only say "yes" to parties that you really want to attend, so that you have more quiet time. Remember to take a few minutes each day to breathe deeply - ten or fifteen minutes in the morning and at night is ideal.

Food. I love to bake, and I am not adverse to having a cookie here or there. However, the basis of food in my home is whole. I stock up on yogurt and berries, to satisfy sweet cravings, cottage cheese and hummus for salt cravings, and spring mix salads, for when I am bored and just want something to eat. I eat protein with every meal, mostly, to keep me feeling full and to feed my muscles. I also keep frozen organic veggies to eat with my meals. I try to eat a nice balance of protein, fruits/veggies, and carbs (though usually I end up with more protein). If you have lots of valueless food to grab, you are defeating your own efforts. You can't eat Oreos at 10 p.m. if they aren't in the house. Stock your house with foods that support your efforts, and your health.

Look for more tips in my next newsletter, when I will be talking about New Years Resolutions (how to make, and keep them).

Enjoy your holiday season.

Bella Fitness for Women provides personal training and fitness coaching to women in their homes, and in our home office. For more information, visit us on the web at or call Tiffany Palisi at 973-809-7880.

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