Healthy Holiday Tip #25

Use the down time (if you can find it) to evaluate your past efforts and compose some goals for the future.  This year, I'm going to be using this list  I found to help me identify new areas to explore and develop. Because fitness and weight loss demand so much attention, I believe this process will help me avoid becoming "one-dimensional" in my living.

Happy New Year to all who walk the path to health, fitness, balance and simplicity with me in 2010.

Healthy Holiday Tip #24

If you can find some water, SWIM!  I've already gotten in about 3 hours of swimming!  Keeping up with these active grandsons who are always ready to jump in and paddle around has kept me moving.  And it's been fun, too.  Incidentally, taking a picture of eight grandchildren - all in motion at the same time -  has been quite an adventure!

Holiday Health Tip #23

I've not taken the time to really develop this one as I have wished, but the phrase just keeps going around and around in my mind..."Do the right thing!"  Dr. Laura (you love her or you hate her) says it frequently--closes an hour of programming by saying, "Now, go do the right thing."

The Bible uses another word - "righteous" - to describe the kind of living most of us aspire to.  We really WANT to do the right thing most of the time.  But we all fall short of that goal.  The Bible says that, too!  "There is no one righteous, not even one! ...  all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Doesn't really take an ancient Book to tell me that!)  The glory of God is His righteousness!  He is ALWAYS right!  He is perfect in every way.

God needs no reminders to "do the right thing."  I DO.  God needs no help to "do the right thing."  I DO.  That's why God sent Jesus (whose birth we celebrate today).  That's why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit!  To help us "do the right thing".

Today and every day, I want to do the right thing when it comes to caring for my body.  I want to, I can, and I will exercise righteously and eat righteously.  Personally, I'm glad for Dr. Laura's reminders.  But more importantly, I'm thankful for Jesus! 

Healthy Holiday Tip #22

NEVER GIVE UP is my tip for today.  And I need it!

No matter how many home-made caramels you ate.  No matter that you ate 12 dark chocolate truffles from the bag. In the car. Before you got home from the gift exchange.  No matter that the day went by and you didn't get your 30 minute walk in. No matter that the scale shows you gained 2 pounds for the first time in six months of consistent loss or maintenance. No matter WHAT.  Never give up.  Begin where you left off and keep going strong!

Healthy Holiday Tip #21

Not from "O" and not original...but very helpful!  Before a potentially tempting event food-wise, have a snack with fiber, protein and a little fat to be sure your hunger is under control.  This one is easily done - having the snack, that is. 

The trick is not to make exceptions or excuses after arriving at the event!  I guess we'll see how serious we really are about managing our weight throughout the holiday season by the way we manage ourselves when surrounded by all the attractive and tempting foods.

Healthy Holiday Tip #20

OK.  This one will take some thought.  "Never just quit something....always substitute."  The rationale is that BAD habits fill needs, so it is necessary to replace them with GOOD habits that address that need.  Their ("O" Magazine's) for instance was you shouldn't  substitute push-ups for pancakes unless you REALLY love push-ups.

I think I get it.  Do you?  No need to worry about ME substituting push-ups for pancakes, by the way.

Healthy Holiday Tip #19

Back to the hints I found in "O"...
The gist of this one is, "Don't buy (or eat) food with ingredients your grandmother--or if you're younger than me, your GREAT-grandmother--wouldn't recognize as food."  The example in the article was "Splenda with Fiber".  Along the same line, "Avoid products with more than 5 ingredients."  Following these tips will help us concentrate on foods in their most natural state AND avoid chemicals and non-food additives.

Healthy Holiday Tip #18

OK.  This one DIDN'T come from "O" Magazine.  But I don't think I've  listed it yet....and it should be an easy one to implement during the holidays.

Wear red!  That's right.  Apparently it revs you up!  One study showed that athletes who wore red were more likely to win!  So, to "win" during the Christmas holiday and beyond, try wearing red.

Now that opens a whole subject that would best be addressed on my wardrobe blog.  I remember years ago when I was tested and discovered to be a winter person (based on skin tone, etc.).  I was given swatches of various colors to carry when shopping so that I could select clothing that would complement my "season".  I believe "my" red was to have a blue undertone......  Whatever!

No label on this post.  I couldn't think what category to put it in. By the way, did anyone else go to one of those parties or read books and articles to tell you what seasonal category you fell into?  (I somehow remember being draped with a large white collar and sitting under a bright light.....)

Healthy Holiday Tip #17

While reading an article in the most recent O Magazine, I jotted down 5 additional "tips" for healthy living.  While they're not directly related to the Christmas holiday, if we follow them, you and I WILL be healthier!  Here's the first one I'll share:  a seven-word mantra:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
What are some of your favorite "plants" to eat?
(Mine are brussel spouts, sour kraut, Romaine lettuce, and asparagus, among others.)

Healthy Holiday Tip #16

"Better hop into bed before I Overheat."  Those were the last words of the Middle-Aged Schoolteacher on Holiday.

My eyes were still blurry from the tears of laughter, so I MISread them as..."before I OverEAT."  I immediately saw a Healthy Holiday Tip here!  Hop into bed before you overEAT!  Couldn't be simpler.

Healthy Holiday Tip #15

She went grocery shopping while hungry!  "The cardinal sin", she called it.  In an honest post written with her usual insight, Cindy at Lose the Excuses, Lose the Weight gave me my 15th Healthy Holiday Tip. Thanks, Cindy.

It happens to all of us!  During the holidays, additional temptations lurk in the grocery aisles.  Beautifully packaged candies, baked goods, and even samples of appetizers call out from the shelves and tables.  My grocery store includes a Starbucks from which the scent of holiday coffee flavors waft enticingly throughout the entire shopping experience!

It helps to know it's going to happen and to take appropriate steps to resist the urge to indulge--even "just this once."  Some ideas to get you through....
  • Shop with a list.
  • Shop with a satisfied tummy.
  • Have a piece of hard candy or gum if the temptation gets REALLY strong.
Do you have other ways to get through grocery shopping without succumbing to the munchies?

Healthy Holiday Tip #13

You may or may not agree with this one, but I am finding that it is important to step on the scale every morning between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  While experts may advise otherwise (especially during the rest of the year), for me it is essential for several reasons. 
  • 1)  It keeps me mindful of my resolution to maintain my weight.  I worked too hard to get here!  I don't want to give up what I have gained as a result my exercise and healthy eating the past few months.
  • 2)  With extra-busy and/or irregular schedules, it is easy to lose track of time.  For me, it doesn't take many days to gain a pound, then two, then three....  
  • 3)  Weighing in each morning helps me make a sensible plan for eating that day. 
  • 4)  An extra pound registered is good motivation to increase exercise time during the day.  An extra walk or longer workout matches any weight gained with profitable activity.
  • 5)  The reward of seeing the scale register "no weight gained" is GREAT incentive to continue making healthy choices.
For me, WEIGHING is the WAY to enter the New Year with no regrets in the healthy habits category.

Healthy Holiday Tip #12

I didn't go "whole hog" on Christmas decorating this year.  But I DID get out all the red candles I have!  I grouped them on our coffee table and in another spot in the room.  Now while some enjoy candles for purely decorative purposes -- for their colors or shapes, others burn them to create an ambiance in a room. Softly flickering candlelight can be soothing and help us relax. This is why I enjoy candle light!  Candles help me transition into the specialness of the evening-- rather like changing into casual clothes when you come home from work. This routine allows your mind to shift into relaxation.

Appropriate relaxation is healthy.  And remember the observation in Health Tip #11:  "Less stress means less thoughtless eating."

Holiday Health Tip #11

Laugh!  Laugh a lot!  Because everyone's sense of humor is different, I hesitate to specify which blogs make ME laugh...but most of you know those that appeal to YOUR sense of humor.  I'm reading a new Garrison Keillor book that makes me laugh.  I know there are movies or TV shows that trigger laughter, too.  Laughter is a great stress reliever.  And stress relieved means less thoughtless eating!  So laugh heartily today.  Out loud!

Healthy Holiday Tip #10

Get a good night's sleep!  Holiday preparations and celebrations can often disrupt regular sleep patterns. Try to get to sleep at the same time every night and avoid heavy foods and alcoholic beverages before bedtime. Take a nap if you feel the need during the day to help recharge your energy.  Don't brag about your late night hours as though they were a badge of love, usefulness, success, or cleverness!  Instead, organize your life and make sure that adequate sleep is high on your priority list.  Everything else will go (or seem) smoother!

Healthy Holiday Tip #9

Standing in line?  Lift one foot a half-inch off the ground. The extra stress on your opposite foot, ankle, calf and thigh, plus your buttocks, will help firm and tone muscles. Switch feet every few minutes.

Holiday Health Tip #8

Occasionally I trim fat and calories from a recipe by substituting applesauce in oil-based baked goods, like quick breads, muffins and some cakes.  There is only a slight change in taste and texture (typically sweeter and softer).

I'm told that  applesauce is not a great substitute for butter, and will lead to disaster in cookies and any other treat with a crispy snap--unless you like cake-y, mushy cookies.

Most sources recommend a 1:1 swap:  if the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, substitute with 1 cup of applesauce. However, I say, "start easy!"  For a recipe that uses one cup of oil, use ½ cup of oil with ½ cup applesauce. If the finished product makes you happy, slightly increase the ratio of applesauce (2/3 applesauce: 1/3 oil; ¾ applesauce: ¼ oil) the next time to see how it affects the cake or muffin recipe. You may be able to do without oil completely, or you might find that as little as 1 or 2 tbsp. of oil added to the applesauce is ideal.