Thursday, November 17, 2011

Candy, turkey and pies: Oh no!

I asked my pal and fitness guru Amy Leach to give us some tips on how to stay healthy during the tempting holiday season. Read below for her awesome advice!

Amy Leach is the Fitness Center Manager at TCC's Metro Campus

 Does the holiday season get you just as excited about food as it does for me? It’s that time of year when it’s "OK" to go off your diet or workout regime because this time only happens once a year, right? Well, as many of you know, this once-a-year-eating-fest usually turns into two to three months of binging on all of your grandma’s favorite recipes. Let’s see, there’s candy corn at Halloween; turkey, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving; and anything sweet and fattening around Christmas!

With all this said, and likely known by you already, what is a person to do – stay on your diet throughout the holidays and be miserable or let the diet slide during the holidays and be miserable? It’s almost a lose-lose situation, especially in regards to your workout regime. I personally find it extremely hard to get motivated to workout when it’s 20 degrees outside and I am sleeping all comfy in my warm bed. And let’s not forget the crazy Oklahoma weather! It might be 60 out one day and then a blizzard may hit the next day. With weather like this, no wonder it’s hard to stay on track with any healthy lifestyle. The last time we got snowed in last year, the only thing to do was nap, bake cookies, nap, eat cookies and eat more cookies! Sound familiar?? So let’s start our strategizing now BEFORE all these wonderful and not-so-wonderful things occur.

I am extremely active and in decent shape, but I, too, struggle with these everyday situations. Here are my tips to get you motivated to stay on track while still enjoying everything pleasant about the holiday season.
·         Remember, family is one of the best parts of the holiday season. Focus on family, friendship, and laughter – not solely on food. Life is too short - wouldn’t you rather spend quality time with those you love as opposed to pulling up a chair to the buffet table? Think about it…
·         As all the magazines and popular health websites suggest, moderation is key! One thing I did last year at Thanksgiving was filled my plate with tons of veggies (and I didn’t mind if they were covered in butter or not), then I added some white turkey and a few samples of the other side dishes. Lastly for dessert, I made an apple pie with a can of lower sugar apples (of course natural would have been better but who has time to cut and peel them) mixed with Truvia (a natural sugar substitute), cinnamon and apple pie spice, and for the crust I used fat-free butter, whole wheat flour, oatmeal and a few graham crackers. That way I knew what was in it and didn’t feel as guilty about over-indulging.
·         Another tip is to go for a family walk or participate in a game outdoors. Again, last year my sister and I went for a walk after dinner and it was great because we bonded, vented about annoying family members and burned off a few calories in the process.
·         Lastly, don’t beat yourself up if you do over-indulge (which we all are going to do from time to time). Get up early the next day and do some push-ups, squats and jumping jacks at your house. If weather permits, go out for a jog or head to the gym for a quick 30 minute cardio and/or weights session. Christmas shopping is another way to burn some calories. Just remember to park far away from the entrance (probably won’t be too hard to do with all the traffic), take the stairs when possible and drink plenty of water.

Good luck and have a wonderful holiday season! 

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