Keep a Healthy Mind and Stay Fit During Holidays
By Jodie Lynn
If you are wondering how to keep a healthy heart and stay fit during the holidays, avoid gaining weight
and nine hundred other traps during this busy, but loaded down with obligations and food season, join the
crowd. Millions of people will either crash on their current healthy eating habits or worse chalk weight
gain up to the season or totally give up.
Keep Honest Records
If you are counting calories and carbs, good luck. The easiest way to go is to keep a daily record, an
actual journal, of what you eat. This is not the time to try and starve and then binge. In fact, yo-yo
dieting is not only bad for your heart but also for your entire chemical and emotional make-up. Keep
honest records and when you do allow yourself a day to nibble on holiday treats, do so without too much
Eat A Little of What You Want
Try to eat as healthily as possible and munch on holiday treats in small quantities. Did you notice I
did not say to avoid holiday meals or treats? If you try to avoid them, you will regret it. This is
always a good rule of thumb. Eat healthily for six days, and then eat one or two items, holiday snacks
or deserts on the seventh. Alternatively, consume a small piece of chocolate, Carmel or whatever is your
most loved flavor of candy every other day during the six days. Of course, you do know that chocolate
has been proven to be good for your heart -- right?
Keep Your Stress Level Low
The new saying, "Stress Can Make You Fat," is not new at all. (Where do people come up with these things?).
Just like over half of the population, anytime I am stressed, I eat and/or drink. Its a well-known fact
that the more calories you consume, the more weight you will gain -- unless you double your exercise level.
Try to organize things early: food, recipes, gift buying and wrapping, party, inside and outside decorations,
cards, travel arrangements for guests or for your own family, etc. Dont forget not to schedule school plays
and other social events too close together and try to buy any formal wear ahead of time. Keeping your
stress level as low as possible is a must during the holiday season and although it is sometimes hard,
try to keep your regular work out schedule as normal as you can to stay fit.
Dont Over Schedule
If something should happen and the best well-laid plans fall through, think positively about the situation.
Some people will spend hours trying to figure out what it was that they did to upset someone. Schedules get
crazy during the holidays and things will get mixed up or forgotten. Go with the flow and do the best you
can with schedules, kids, climate and relatives. Dont over schedule and sometimes that means having to say
no and feeling OK about it. Do it and don't feel guilty!
Having a daily checklist is probably the easiest way to stay organized. There are plenty of great planners
out there that will include a side panel or space on the same page of each day. Write down your appointments
and lists in pencil, in case it needs to be rescheduled and refer to it often. Share events that affect the
whole family with everyone at a family meeting.
Before the holidays get too close, try to begin to make healthy meals and deserts. Try them out on family
members, neighbors and/or the local homeless shelters. This way, you can get feedback as to whether or not
the new recipe is actually good or something you might want to pass on for now. For those that make the cut,
cook or bake them early, and freeze baby freeze!
Jodie Lynn is an internationally syndicated parenting/family columnist. Her
newspaper column, Parent to Parent, will celebrate its eighth year in
February 2004. She is the author of
and CEO/Founder of http://www.parenttoparent.com/.
She has appeared on NBC in a
three month parenting segment as well as other TV appearances along with
multiple radio interviews. Lynn's has contributed to two others books, "The
Entrepreneurial Parent," Penguin Putnam, (featured on Oprah in June 2002)
and "Why Aren't You Your Own Boss: Leaping Over the Obstacles That Stand
Between You and Your Dream," by Paul and Sarah Edwards and Peter Economy,
Prima Publisher, March 2003 (imprint of Random House). She and her family
live in St. Louis, MO.