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Seven ways to avoid weight gain over the holidays

Relaxnews  Published Monday, December 9, 2013

‘Tis the season for holiday eating. And that means that most of us will pack on about one to two pounds this time of year. While that might not sound like much, annual weight gain adds up year after year.

But rather than put down the eggnog and fruit cake altogether, Dr. Amy Moore, assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University in the US, offers a few sensible approaches to enjoying the season while keeping your waistline intact.

Be picky about your splurges. Holidays are a time to sample special seasonal treats that people have spent a lot of time preparing, Moore says. “If Aunt Helen’s delectable Christmas Buche de Noel chocolate dessert beckons, enjoy a slice but pass on the brownies or soda.”

Be mindful. Pay attention to what you’re eating. Slow down and savor every bite, taking the time to appreciate what you’re putting into your mouth.

Plan ahead. If you know you are going to a party in the evening, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. “Bring something healthy to potlucks so at least you can count on one healthy option being offered,” Moore says. “Fruit – pomegranates, clementine oranges and cranberries – are terrific holiday dishes because they are pretty, festive and, best of all, easy.”

    Conversation is calorie-free. Focus on family and friendship, not the food.

Water is calorie-free, too. “Alternate a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage to pace yourself as you celebrate and prevent a next day hangover,” Moore advises.

Exercise. “While it’s not necessary to count every calorie, it is good to have a rough idea of how your calorie intake corresponds to your exercise, and know that it can take more exercise than you might think to balance out your food intake,” adds Ethel Frese, associate professor of physical therapy and athletic training at Saint Louis University.

Fight the urge to hibernate. Bundle up and get out for fresh air and exercise, Frese adds. Run errands, stop by to see friends and neighbors, drop off canned goods at a food pantry, check out an exhibit at a museum or build a snowman. The point is to keep moving.

source: www.ctvnews.ca


Tips for dealing with post-holiday stress

Dr. Katy Kamkar, Special to CTVNews.ca 
Published Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 6:00AM EST 

Feeling stressed or exhausted post-holidays is not uncommon.

Although, on the one hand, there might have been happy gatherings, delicious food and time off work/school, on the other hand, all the pressures, obligations, overindulgence, unmet expectations, financial strains, family disagreements – all make it difficult for people to relax.

Following the holiday season, we often hear people talking about financial debts, their overindulgence of food, sweets or alcohol, feeling overwhelmed with all the social and family gatherings, or about some family tension and conflict that occurred, which presently contributes to ongoing stress and rumination. Some people also share about the difficult times they had during the holidays because of an illness in the family, loss of a loved one or inability to be with loved ones, or inability to buy gifts for their children because of financial constraints.

Many people can feel physically/emotionally/financially exhausted following the holidays.

And so some period of adjustment is usually needed when we go back to school or work. We resume our daily activities, family and friends return home, social gatherings are over, and essentially all the “holiday To Do Lists” are completed.

Post-holiday coping:
It is often helpful to use the holiday season as a learning experience and examine what are the things you enjoyed doing and what was helpful and joyful versus what are the things you plan to do differently the following year.

We always need to remind ourselves of the positive memories we built from the holidays, the positives we have in life, and appreciate what we have. Sadly, it is often when we experience a loss that we realize what we had. We often forget to live in the moment and present time. So a good reminder for all of us is to live and appreciate the moment and the present.

Self-care is always important. We need to set up proper sleep hygiene, healthy diet, physical exercise, set up daily meaningful activity, reduce negativity, limit alcohol/nicotine and caffeine consumption, and seek social support and reduce isolation.

Given that financial difficulties present a significant stressor, it is helpful to look at spending habits; to set up a budget and follow budget to minimize debts. Seeking help from a financial adviser can be helpful when needed.

If experiencing family conflict: one of the best ways to resolve conflicts includes taking a proactive position and setting up a time to talk about it to help restore healthy relationships. We can work on listening and understanding the other person’s point of view, share our thoughts and feelings as well as listen to the other person’s thoughts and feelings. We all share the need to be heard, to be loved, to be respected and valued. Healthy relationships are essential to our health, wellbeing and quality of life.

New Year’s resolution: people make a lot of resolutions and decide to make improvements and positive changes. Sadly, we also notice and observe a strong tendency for people to abandon the resolutions and subsequently feel guilty, discouraged, and sad for not accomplishing their goals, which then increase stress.

To help keep a New Year’s resolution, we need to realize and accept that keeping the resolution is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process. We need to set up specific and realistic goals and expectations, set goals that we can measure and that are attainable and complete one small goal at a time. 

Accomplishing one small goal at a time helps to improve our motivation, sense of self-confidence and encourage us to achieve more. We can also use social support for help. We need to keep track of our progress, and focus on the benefits of improvement/changing/praise for each step completed. It is helpful and beneficial to perceive each resolution as opportunities.

My Most Sincere Best Wishes for 2013,
Dr. Katy Kamkar, Ph.D., C.Psych.

source: ctvnews

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How to Stay Healthy at Christmas

With all of its decadent foods, parties and related errands, Christmas is enough to put anyone at risk of getting sick. However, you can stay healthy during the entire holiday season if you know what to do and how to protect yourself.

Eat a healthy diet. Remember to eat plenty of vegetables (raw or cooked), low fat meats (such as white meat turkey), fruits (such as citrus fruits) and whole grains. If you would like to have a Christmas treat, such as a sugar cookie, a slice of pie or candy, limit your portion size. Eating healthy foods during Christmas will give you energy and help keep you healthy at the same time.

Get plenty of rest. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep every night during the holiday season. If you feel tired and need to take a nap during the day, try your best to do so. Also, try not to overexert yourself during the holiday season. If you need extra rest, remember that you don’t have to go to every holiday event or party you receive an invitation to. Staying well rested during the Christmas season goes a long way towards keeping you healthy.

Protect yourself from germs. Be sure to always wash your hands especially after using the bathroom and before handling any food. Use antibacterial wipes or gels for quick hand cleaning on the go. Also, try to avoid those that you know are sick to prevent yourself from getting sick as well.

Drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink. If you do drink during the holidays, remember to alternate non-alcoholic drinks with alcoholic ones and not to drink on an empty stomach. If you do drink at a Christmas party, remember to have a designated sober person drive you home.

Limit your Christmas stress. One way to do this is to plan ahead. Shop for Christmas gifts throughout the year. Mail your Christmas cards early and wrap Christmas presents throughout the month of December. If you can plan ahead and get things done without having to worry about time constraints, you will lower your stress level and increase your chances of staying healthy at Christmas.

Tips & Warnings
Remember to keep up with your regular exercise routine. Staying active will help you feel better and help keep you healthy at Christmas time. Try to exercise outside if you can. Exposure to natural light can also help keep you healthy.

By an eHow Contributor

source: eHow.com