Christian Living


Holiday Food and Fitness Plan

The holidays are usually the toughest times to help anyone with a diet and exercise program.  Many of the patients and clients I work with have a goal during the holidays of maintaining weight and not losing any of their previous benefits. Here are five tips to helping you make it through the holiday crunch. 

Don’t restrict yourself. This is not the time to start a major dietary restriction program. There is plenty of time to start that after the holidays. Many people will find that their office and home are being filled with cookies and candies, which makes it hard to refrain from all those tasty snacks. If you want to ‘give in’ at the company or family party, go ahead and enjoy yourself. Studies show that eating unhealthy food in a mental state of joy and happiness has less of a negative effect on the body – as compared to eating the same bad food when you feel miserable. This is why eating ice cream after a fight with your spouse or loved one is worse for you.  If you are in a happy, joyous state, then eating some of the bad foods won’t be as bad on the body. So enjoy and partake… it is the holiday season!

Try a different routine or workout. If the goal is to maintain, or not lose too much during the holidays, that’s great because a lot of people will find it harder to find time to exercise. So, as long as you do something physical, you should be content. If you can do something different to allot for time and energy level, it can have a huge benefit. There is something about doing the workout that helps you maintain a better diet than if you don’t do anything. The different workout routine doesn’t have to be too mentally and physically challenging, but you may find a whole different set of exercises that you can incorporate into your workout routine.

Change the intensity of the workout. Just like it’s OK to have a ‘better bad choice’ when it comes to a snack or a meal, it is basically the same when it comes to an easy, short workout.  Taking the time to do something physical is an accomplishment.  In addition, stress is typically highest during the holidays. You don’t want to be contributing more stress to your life by adding a tough physical workout. The intensity of the workout can be changed by simply adjusting the rest periods between sets and by using lighter weights or decreasing the number of repetitions performed. The goal should be to at least get some physical activity on most days.

Add fiber to your diet. This is a great nutritional trick that can also be used outside of the holidays. Fiber makes you feel full because it expands in the digestive system. This will help keep you from eating as much of Aunt Millie’s cookies and pies.  I am a big fan of ground-up flax seed, rather than psyllium. This is because a good percentage of my patients have sensitivity to psyllium. Let’s not forget the primary benefit of fiber, which is to help keep everything moving inside the large intestine.  Constipation is a huge problem for so many people. If you start adding a lot of extra sugar and refined flour from all the cookies and cakes available, you will begin to slow the elimination process. Fiber and Digestive Enzymes are also part of the “Seven Supplements We Should All be Taking."

Use a digestive enzyme.  Let’s face it; you consume more unhealthy foods over the holidays than normal. Many of these foods may irritate your digestive system. So, add a good digestive enzyme to help break down the foods. This will help minimize any indigestion, bloating, gas, and other digestive problems. There are only a few things worse than having that terrible bloating and gassy feeling after eating a bunch of unhealthy foods. The digestive enzymes will help minimize that by breaking down the food more efficiently so it can pass through your system much easier. 

Give these suggestions a try. Keep in mind that maintaining your level of health and fitness during the holidays can be a great goal for everyone. Don’t feel pressured to make progress each and every week. The name of the game is taking steps forward. But during the holidays, not stepping backwards could be considered progress for a lot of people.

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