During the holidays we’re scheduled to the max – parties and celebrations fill our calendars. Rich and sugary foods are constantly within reach. And when people get busy, it’s tempting to put off your exercise routine until the new year. If you’re facing these issues, you’re not alone. We all struggle with how to maintain balance in our life and health.
When I’m asked about avoiding weight gain and staying healthy amidst the chaos of the season, I like to take an overall approach. This isn’t a formula for surviving the busiest two months of the year – it’s a way to think about diet and exercise long after the tree is down and you’re working on your new year’s resolutions.
My personal goal for eating well and exercising is balance. This works throughout the year, but particularly when Christmas cookies are staring you in the face. It’s ok to have a have treat, and you don’t have to feel guilty about a Christmas cookie. Just don’t eat 12. Balance these sweets with fruits, veggies and lean protein whenever possible.
Even when your schedule is crammed and it’s hard to get outside because of the weather, making time for short bursts of physical activity is another way to stay on track. Folks get into trouble when they forget all dietary goals at the exact time when fitting in exercise is a challenge. Aim for 30 minutes, three times week to combat holiday weight gain and maintain muscle mass. An added bonus? Regular aerobic exercise also helps keep holiday stress and seasonal depression under control.
Another point worth mentioning is alcohol. As it is with food during the festivities, people tend to over indulge in alcohol as well. This isn’t great for two reasons: you’re increasing your caloric intake and lowering your inhibitions about going back for that third round of appetizers. I always recommended people continue to follow the recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption – up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
To sum it up, I preach moderation in all things. If you follow these simple suggestions, you’ll be in a much better place when the new year rolls around.
Do you have a relationship with a physician you trust? If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nieckula, please call (423) 886-2004.