Your Health And Fitness During The Holidays

Friday, December 07, 2007

Posted by Helene

It seems that when you health and fitness resolutions should be high on your list during the holidays, they seem to take a back seat. We always find a dozen excuses to put our fitness goals on the back burner such as family visiting, long shopping trips to the malls, children’s holiday pageants, baking sessions, parties to attend. Yet, with simple strategies, it is easy to maintain your fitness spirit and if not lose at least not gain too many pounds and keep your energy levels up.

Situation # 1: There is so much food around the holidays…I can’t resist!
Solution: Visualize how you will feel after you overindulge: was it really worth it? Could you have been satisfied with a smaller amount? Identify all the situations that make it difficult for you to stay on track: family gatherings, office parties, baking with the kids, and come up with a plan of action for each.
- Bring a low calorie appetizer to the office party, or a family potluck.
- Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. Have a healthy smoothie (see recipe at the end), a bowl of soup or half a sandwich before you leave the house
- Budget calories throughout the day, so you can afford to spend a few more at the party. Don’t starve yourself, but be extra diligent of what you eat during the day.
- Stay focused by getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. Fatigue does impair our will and motivation to make good food choices. We often mistake lack of energy for lack of sleep but it can also come from the food we eat and the lack of good nutrients we put in our body.

Situation #2: I am busy running around. That should be enough of an exercise!
- Stay active. Don’t confuse being busy for being active. Now more than ever is the time of the year you need to make sure you exercise 30 minutes a day. Break it into smaller 10 minutes session but do make this appointment with yourself. Treat yourself to an early Christmas present by hiring a trainer for 1 to 2 sessions a week if necessary.
- Burn extra calories in a longer-than-usual exercise session. Some research shows that adding just 10 more minutes of intense exercise to your usual workout can stave off holiday weight gain.
- Make snow men or snow angels with the kids.Rake leaves for 20 minutes.
- Join a holiday race: a lot of cities organize holiday races and walks. Not only will you help raise money for charities but you will keep your exercise going during this busy time of the year.

Situation #3: Party Time! Everyone else is eating. The hostess will be offended if I say “no”.
Because everyone else is eating does not mean that you have too. To stay on track, I often take inspiration from kids : look at them at holiday parties, they are much more into playing games and talking and getting to know each other than staying at the buffet line. If you are close to the host (family or friend) try to see about organizing board games or outdoors Frisbee or football sessions that will take the adults away from the buffet table, or make you digest after the meal.
At the tale, choosing smaller portions should not offend anyone. If somebody says something remind them it is your thighs not theirs…just kidding! Just say you are saving room for their scrumptious dessert!
At a buffet, use the smaller plate, makes only one trip and pick your favorites. I tend to use the items I am less likely to make or eat during the rest if the year, have one serving and eat slowly.

Situation #4:
It is the holiday season. I should have treats available all week long!
Now is the time to broaden your repertoire of healthy low-fat treats and to have plenty of fresh fruits available when the urge of snacking creeps up on you. Make healthy substitutions like using applesauce instead of oil, 2 egg whites instead of one egg, skim milk instead of whole. Try to reduce the sugar by using some strong honey and upping the spices.
Make mini cookies and mini muffins, cut brownies and bars into tiny square pieces, cut pies into 10 instead of 8. See the recipe for the Pumpkin Carrot bites below.

Finally, remember that even the most motivated person will slip and that everyone strays a little during the holidays. Do not add more stress during this busy time worrying abut the 2 extra truffles and the glass of Champagne you had. Keep on track as much as possible and stay positive the whole time. The trick is to do your best and enjoy this time.

Healthy Morning Smoothie:
2 cups orange juice
1 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
4 servings vanilla low fat yogurt
1 banana

Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
Number of Servings: 4

Calories: 195.0
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 5.0 mg
Sodium: 77.3 mg
Total Carbs: 43.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 6.5 g

Carrot Pumpkin Bars:

2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light butter/margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 large egg whites
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin pie filling
1 cup carrot, finely shredded

Cream cheese topping:
4 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon skim milk

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease 15 x 10 jellyroll pan.
Prepare Filling:
In small bowl: combine flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder & baking soda.
In larger bowl: Beat sugar, butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, egg whites, pumpkin pie mix and carrots. Beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix until well blended. Spread onto greased pan.
Prepare Cream Cheese topping:
Mix together cream cheese, sugar and milk until thoroughly blended.
Drop teaspoon-fulls of topping over pumpkin batter and swirl mixture with a butter knife.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester (inserted in center) comes out clean. Cool in pan completely on wire rack before cutting into squares.
Makes 48 squares.
Nutritional Info
Calories: 67.2
Total Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 9.1 mg
Sodium: 86.7 mg
Total Carbs: 13.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 1.4 g

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This Post was written by Helen from Tartelette


Very wise and thoughtful points! Thank you.
"Don’t confuse being busy for being active." In my case, this just hits the nail on the head! My favorite excuse has been exposed.

Nupur said...
December 8, 2007 at 12:22:00 AM GMT+1  

First, it's great to have you back again. Second this is something that I really needed. I have been on a low on fitness lately and as I have been "busy" I too thought it would be OK and enough. Helen you managed to do it again - motivate me to re-think everything and get back to my fitness routine.

I've missed your wise words!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
December 8, 2007 at 8:42:00 AM GMT+1  

It's good to be back again! Between family visits and work engagements life was getting a little crazy. It's busy now with the holidays, but I have learnt to map out situations.I am glad this article helps you guys. Writing it did it for me too!

Helene said...
December 8, 2007 at 4:07:00 PM GMT+1  

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