Tis “The Season”!!!
Chocolate and gumdrops and brunches, OH MY!!! This time of year can be a health and fitness disaster unless you take control. It’s simply not logical to think that you can indulge every craving for 5 months and suddenly change track. If you give in to those cravings from September through most of January, you won’t be able to fight them the rest of the year. During this time is when people are less likely to adhere to their exercise routine due to changes in schedules. Changes in diet also contribute to lethargy and you don’t “feel” like exercising. A box of chocolate covered cherries will make you so nauseated and drowsy that exercise falls to the bottom of your to-do list, but there are ways to avoid this pitfall of the whirlwind of activity and food that accompanies these dark Winter days.
- Plan- Never go to an event “blind”. Carry healthy snacks in your car, purse or pockets. If you are going to a gathering where you can take food, take what you need to eat. If you like sweets, look at our recipes and make a sugar-free dessert just for you. There will be plenty of the sugar-filled variety for those who are not health minded. I made this Sugar-Free Chocolate Sheet Cake last night . I made it with dark cocoa and it’s dark, sweet and rich. I made mine with a 9×13 pan instead of the 10×15 and I baked it until a knife inserted in the center came out clean. It’s ooey-gooey, sticky and chocolate. This was mine from last night. It has a chocolate ganache frosting! Holiday approved!
- Don’t go around hungry! (and don’t grab a candy bar to alleviate hunger, regardless of what the commercial says…)-Stay full of good, nutritionally sound, whole foods and you won’t be overwhelmed by Holiday offerings. Have a hearty snack before every occasion that revolves around food.
- Get plenty of sleep.-Many of us get sleep deprived during the holidays with all the decorating, shopping and partying that goes on. Make sleep a priority now more than ever because sleep deprivation can cause excess hunger and carbohydrate cravings for quick energy. It can also contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder, seasonal depression.
- Get plenty of protein.- Protein keeps your energy up and helps improve your level of alertness. While carbs give you quick energy, protein gives you sustained energy. You are less likely to have an energy crash at the mall doughnut shop if you eat enough protein. David has an excellent article called Protein Supplements that discusses protein needs in detail.
- Throw it out of the house!- DON”T keep food around you that is a problem. I have a pretty good remedy for foods that I don’t need whenever they turn up in my house. I open the container, empty it in the garbage and douse it liberally with Dawn dishwashing liquid…works every time. I know someone who frequently tosses offending foods out the window when someone gives him foods that he doesn’t need to eat while he’s on a business trip…quite efficient. Destroy those holiday leftovers!
- DON’T BUY IT!!! I have ran experiments over the course of years concerning the seasonal feeding frenzy. What I have discovered is that if I buy it, I will eat it. Don’t lie to yourself. You are not buying those chips for “the kids”. You’re just buying chips. STOP IT!
- Wear fitted clothes during the holidays. Yep, all the time, especially when you’re grocery shopping, cooking or eating. I promise you that you won’t eat as much in tight jeans as you will in stretchy, slouchy sweat pants.
- Look at yourself without clothes in a full length mirror every day. I think that’s all that I need to say here…
- Eat breakfast-You will be more satisfied and have fewer cravings and more energy all day. Have protein, fiber and complex carbs. If you skip breakfast you will feel like you can eat like a maniac all day. That won’t work.
- Exercise-(with your doctor’s approval) When you are crunched for time, you can still slip in a quick walk. If you’re house bound, find a workout video on You Tube, buy some dumb bells that you can use or some elastic bands. If you want to exercise, get creative. There’s always a way if you are sincere.