Stay fit for the holiday season

By Jonathan Barnett
December 6, 2007

Staying healthy over the holidays seems like a formidable task. For many people, the holidays are a time to get together with relatives and enjoy a large, and sometimes unhealthy, meal. The holidays do not need to be a time of weight gaining and unhealthy habits.

There are many different ways to stay healthy over the holidays; the key thing is self-control.

“Be sure not to eat until your belly is full, eat until you are satisfied,” Lauren Baran, a senior exercise science and health promotion major, said. “It’s hard to stay away from the sweets, so balance it out. Less is more.”

Over eating and lack of activity are the main causes for weight gain during the holidays.

To stay healthy one must keep an eye on what they eat, for there are many foods that are unnecessary and can be avoided if and individual is keeping an eye on their waistline.

Dr. Steve Chen is one of the nation’s top authorities on nutrition, diet and weight management. Chen is one of 300 other doctors that are a part of an elite medical certification known as the Physician Nutrition Specialists.

“There are major calorie savings by eating white meat without skin versus the dark meat with the skin. Serve rice instead of stuffing, and baked potatoes instead of mashed. Substitute carrots for yams, and French bread for cornbread,” Chen suggests in an article focused on tips for staying fit for the holidays. “All of these ideas can help save calories.”

Along with watching what you eat and maintaining a healthier diet over the holidays there are a few other options to keep you healthy.

“45 minutes to an hour of cardio at least five to six days a week along with resistance training two or three days a week can help you maintain or even help decrease your weight,” Caitlin Mangold, a senior exercise science and health promotion major, said.

“Do 10 to 15 minute stretches in the morning and before bed. If you have any barbells lying around, do some simple bicep and triceps exercises,” Baran said.

One of the biggest New Year’s resolutions continues to be dieting and working out in order to get to a healthy weight. By cutting back during the holidays it makes it easier to reach that desired weight without the extra work of shedding the newly added pounds.

Chen has highlighted some easy ways to avoid eating too much when getting together over the holidays.

“Eat before the big traditional dinner. Offer to bring a healthy dish. Avoid appetizers and alcohol. Try everything, but in small portions. Fill your plate once, no going back for seconds,” Chen said. “Eat slowly and leave the table when you are done.”

Jonathan Barnett

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