A Pledge to Be Healthier this Holiday Season

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It’s that time of year again! As people around the globe prepare for the upcoming holidays, they will be surrounded by an array of sumptuous calorie-laden and unhealthy food offerings from late November through New Year’s Day. From office parties and social gatherings to traditional get-togethers at home, many of you will be among the masses looking forward to eating and drinking your holiday favorites. More than likely your holiday favorites will add up and if you’re not careful, you just may pack on a pound or two or ten and/or worsen an existing medical condition by January 1, 2015. By meticulously planning ahead and taking a pledge to be healthier, you can avoid the repercussions of excess and unhealthy eating during this holiday season.

So, how can planning ahead help you to be healthier? For every holiday gathering you will be attending think small plate. For example, rather than a large plate select a smaller dessert plate for placement of your chosen food items. Depending on the food offerings available, you can fill half of the small plate with vegetables, then add a petite serving of meat, a scoop of cornbread dressing and a scoop of potato or fruit salad. With the small plate concept you are focused on eating healthier, but you also get an opportunity to enjoy some of your favorites without overeating. When the time for dessert consumption arrives, think one. Make a pledge to limit your intake to one dessert item.

From the traditional turkey, honey-baked ham, cornbread dressing, collard greens, and broccoli rice casserole to sweet potato pie, pecan pie, and German chocolate cake, I know you’ll be overwhelmed with being healthier and staying within the limits you set. A primary way to avoid gaining a few pounds before, during, and after this holiday season is to burn the excess food off through exercise.

Check out the three tips that will allow you to squeeze physical fitness into your day without impacting your holiday time and budget.

Tip 1. Search your local, cable or satellite television listings for early morning fitness programming. Don’t forget about YouTube. There are hundreds of fitness videos on YouTube that will focus your attention on aerobic and/or strength training exercises. You can also check your local library for free or low-cost rentals of fitness videos and DVDs.

Tip 2. Join a walking, running, or cycling group. Exercise can be fun, especially when there is a social component. The camaraderie of a structured fitness group can be a great motivator and just may be what you need to get you jumpstarted for 2015. Costs range from free to low monthly dues.

Tip 3. Increase the steps you take each day. An inexpensive pedometer from Walmart can help you keep track of the territory you cover daily. Take the stairs. Start or end your day with a brisk walk around your neighborhood or at your local park. Set a goal to work your way up to walking 10,000 steps each day (that’s close to five miles) by January 1, 2015.

Even if you have some health problems like diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or arthritis, it’s important for you to look for ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.  Visit with your physician to find out what physical activities you can do safely and follow his/her advice about the length and intensity of workouts.

If you have an injury and you’re unsure about the physical activities you can pursue, ask your physician or physical therapist about what physical activities you can safely perform. Once again, follow his/her advice about the length and intensity of workouts.

Give yourself an early gift. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Take the holiday pledge to eat healthier and move more. Start today! Eat Healthy! Get Moving!

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? (Isaiah: 43:18-19)

Bridgette L. Collins

AFAA-certified personal trainer and RRCA-certified running coach Bridgette L. Collins is the author of Broken In Plain Sight, Destined to Live Healthier: Mind, Body, and Soul and Imagine Living Healthier: Mind, Body, and Soul. She is also the owner of Total Innovative Wellness Solutions, LLC., a consulting firm that provides individuals and organizations with strategic solutions for implementing and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits. She has been an avid runner for more than 20 years participating in a plethora of endurance race events (from 5Ks to marathons). Learn more about Coach Collins at www.BridgetteCollins.com.

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