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Publication: Diet Buddy
Keeping the Holidays Healthy and Happy!

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         Diet Buddy - Monday, December 4, 2006

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Keeping the Holidays Healthy and Happy!

Hi There Buddies:

With the Holiday Season in full swing, it's very easy to 
get side-tracked with our weight loss plan and exercise 
routines, not to mention the stress level for some of us, 
that seems to have reached new highs.

With all the parties, sweets, alcohol, missed workouts, 
late nights, mall-crawling, small talk, family issues, 
breathing air on crowded planes - yup, it sure is the 
exciting, but nerve-racking holidays again.  The experts 
are saying to try and get in some training and be mindful 
to stay healthy and stress-free if at all possible this 
holiday season.

"Diet, exercise, mind and spirit are key," says Laurie 
Steelsmith, ND, a naturopath in private practice in 
Honolulu.  "You need to build up to this time of indulgence.
We need to remember what this season is all about: 
connecting with loved ones."

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Exercise Tips for Holiday Health!

Fabio Comano, a certified trainer at the American Council 
on Exercise, recommends plunging in and getting in shape 
now, knowing that the holidays will bring on a few pounds.  
"Most people tend to put on weight in winter, it's part of 
our (biological) survival pattern, a little like animals 
packing it on for hibernation."

Comano thinks the holidays are stressful enough without 
loading yourself down with unrealistic exercise goals. "If 
you exercise 45 minutes a day, you may only be able to do 
30 minutes," he says.

*  Start the day with deep-breathing and meditating (if you 

*  Take a walk before a meal, then one after.  Or take a 
   walk after dinner but before dessert.

*  If you bake cookies as gifts, walk them around to the 
   neighbor's houses.

*  If you exercise in the morning normally, keep up the 
   schedule.  Just don't skip.

*  Buddy up with a family member.  Walking is a good time 
   to catch up.

*  Start some family traditions that are active, such as 
   cross-country skiing.

*  Create some make-work projects, such as setting the 
   table one piece at a time and returning to the kitchen 
   in between.  Or put on some holiday tunes and dance!

*  Don't stress out about exercise.  It's the other way 
   around - exercise eliminates stress!

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Diet Tips for Healthy Holidays!

Even if you are foraging in a relatives kitchen and not 
doing the shopping, a healthy diet consists of five fruits 
or veggies a day, complex whole-grain carbs, and adequate 
protein.  Surely you can grab an apple or banana and slap 
together a whole-grain, lean turkey sandwich instead of 
chowing down on cold ham fat and cookies.

Larrian Gillespie, MD, author of the Goddess diet, says that 
fiber is very important when eating richer meals than usual.  
"Nuts are a good source of fiber," she explains.  "Sprinkle 
them over your food.  They make you feel fuller."

Gillespie also suggests switching your biggest intake to 
mid-day.  This gives you more time to work off the calories.

Hot fluids, naturopath Steelsmith says, like soup or tea can 
also thin out mucus secretions that can trap bacteria and 
viruses.  She also suggests eating plenty of garlic, which 
has strong antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-stimulating 

Rubbing on hand sanitizer before a meal can stave off 
unfamiliar germs.

Gillespie recommends liberal consumption of the holiday 
staple, cranberries, to stave of possible digestive distress
from copious amounts of turkey and chicken, which can 
sometimes be cooked inadequately.

Steelsmith also advises packing a one-a-day multivitamin.

Steelsmith recommends drinking a lot of filtered or bottled 
water as you go through your day, even on shopping forays.  
Heat in a sauna, with plenty of sweating, helps detoxify.  
Or even taking a cold shower.  Brrrr!  Her prescription is 
to let hot water run down your spine for a count of 10, then
cold for a count of 5, then hot for a count of 10, for three 
cycles.  "End with the cold," she says.  "This is great for 

Before a party, of course, plan to eat and drink sensibly:

*  Drink water beforehand.  Alternate sparkling water with 
   an alcoholic drink, if you wish to drink.

*  Fill a plate and don't hover (or should that be hoover?) 
   over the buffet.

*  When you load a plate, aim for 2-3 bites of each food 
   that appeals to you.  Better to eat something in 
   moderation than yearn for it later and maybe overindulge.

*  You also can put some calories in the bank before a 
   party.  Eat lightly at all other meals of the day, but 
   don't starve yourself all day.  That can lead to that 
   buffet-hoovering syndrome.

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Tips for Calming Holiday Emotions!

"You need to get sufficient sleep during the holidays," 
Steelsmith says. This is part of a 'lifestyle tune-up" she 

The No.1 priority in such a tune-up is to see if you are 
spending your time on the things you value most.  Stress 
goes up if you do things you don't value.  Write down what 
things are most important to you - family, care-giving, 
work, status, whatever it is - and pursue those most 

If you are over-committed, say no. Don't feel guilty. The 
person who asked probably didn't want to do it either.

If the holidays are a time of religious observation for 
you, leave plenty of time for that.

If there are children around, remember how they love this 
time of year and look forward to it.  Make sure they get 
sufficient rest and get help with wrapping, shopping, 
decorating, and cooking, even if they make these projects 
take longer.

Don't expect to throw the perfect party or find the perfect 
gift for everyone. Somewhere, at almost every moment, a 
dog is eating dropped turkey. It's part of life.

To get in touch with the "new you", take 15 minutes to be 
alone each day. Do some stretching. Read. Or just focus 
on what is around you with every sense. Do you hear 
tinkling bells?  Smell gingerbread and pine? See sparkling 
lights? Feel the cheek of a napping child curled up next 
to you? Taste a sip of mulled cider or a dab of traditional 
eggnog on your tongue?

The holidays don't have to be scheduling, stress, shopping, 
sore feet, arguing, and obligations, so try and be HAPPY 
and ENJOY the spirit of the season.

Did You Know ???

That one of the most stressful times of the year for many 
people occurs just prior to and right after Christmas and 
New Year's holidays?  These times bring many happy emotions, 
but they can also cause anxiety, anger, and even depression.  
It's especially important right now to ensure you're focused 
on the task at hand.  Stop and think before you take actions 
which might be compulsive in nature.

Are the holidays getting you all stressed-out?  Stop by our 
Diet Buddy Forum and blow off some steam at...
Diet Buddy Archives

Have a great week everyone !!!

Disclaimer:  Since I am not a medical professional any 
statements in this column are strictly based on research I 
have done and should not be misconstrued as medical advice.

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