Thursday, December 15, 2011

6 hints for healthy holidays

1. Prepare in advance: protein + exercise.  The hustle of the holidays tends to take us off our routines. In getting ready for a holiday party, set aside time to take care of yourself. First, get some exercise a few hours before the event: walk the dog, get on the treadmill, or enjoy some extra yoga postures. These 20 minutes will keep the metabolism moving and generate good feelings. Then, about an hour before leaving, eat some protein: a few almonds or a small protein shake. This will level the blood sugar for several hours that helps curb the appetite and increase one's control over alcohol and food choices.
2. Water between each alcoholic drink. Alcohol causes one to pass more water through the kidneys so it is important to stay hydrated. An 8 ounce glass of water between each alcoholic drink does several things. It fill the stomach so one feels full and is less likely to drink quickly. It replaces the water lost due to the alcohol. One can ask the bartender to add a slice of lemon or lime that will add minerals to the water, which can counteract a hangover.
3. Move away from the buffet table. Take a few minutes to look over the buffet table before picking up a plate. One doesn't need to fill the plate to overflowing, instead, select small portions of those things one knows they will enjoy. Leave some space on the plate and then move away from the food table. Find someone to visit with so that food is consumed at a slower rate. If you wish to have additional food, your hostess will be complimented that you are going back for seconds. Be sure that the total amount you eat is not overdoing it.
4. Dress for discipline. When selecting your holiday apparel, wear something that compliments your body type and fits nicely. Leave the stretchy pants in the closet. By wearing something that one would be uncomfortable in IF they overindulged, you are establishing a code of conduct that says, "I can enjoy myself, however, I will make decisions that support my long term goals of being healthy."
5. Salt and pepper. At our local convenience stores and many of the fast food restaurants, there are little packets of salt and pepper. Always have two or three in your purse or pocket. When selecting a dessert (or given a desert at a sit down dinner), these become lifesavers. Take a bit of dessert and savor the flavor. Place a second bite on your spoon or fork. Discreetly take a packet, open it ans sprinkle over the remaining dessert. (Salt for light colored desserts, pepper for chocolate ones.) You will be the only one that knows the dessert is no longer tasty. You still have the option of eating the one last bite you placed on your utensil. This is pleasure without the guilt or the calories.
6. Friends are more important than food. Perhaps the most valuable part of the holidays is the opportunity to enjoy our family and friends. These relationships are what brings sweetness into our lives. When one shifts the importance away form food, one can look at the reasons we get together. Enjoy the food but enjoy the people more. When we are visiting with others, put your utensils down, set the plate down, and the drink glass, too. Give full attention to the person you are engaged in conversation. Your heart, your health, and your waistline will appreciate it.