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Throwback Thursday: Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season

 

                                   Picture courtesy Kimberly V. at freeimages.com                                        by Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

The holidays are almost here! I thought now would be the perfect time to revisit an older blog post about how to celebrate without thinking about your weight and instead just enjoying the present — all the happiness, family and great food that comes with the holiday season. Read on for my tips on how to celebrate health and holidays during the month of December and beyond.

Tis the season of food, food and food. So how do we manage our health while entertaining and celebrating?  Instead of fearing weight gain or trying for weight loss during the holidays, let yourself maintain your current weight. Slow and steady wins the race. However, this is not a race, rather an almost two-month period of eating and drinking.  This year, vow to make the holiday season healthy with family and friends as the focus, and these tips to plan a mindful season balanced between food and fitness.

5 Tips to Celebrate Health and Holidays

  1. Focus on Family and Friends – Growing up in an Italian family, I remember the holidays were about food and family. Instead of making food for 25 people, we made enough for 50 people. Instead of sitting around the fire, we sat around the table. If this was your family, start a new tradition this year. Celebrate your health and the holiday season by focusing on family and friends, not food. Have family and friends come over to socialize rather than eat. You can serve food, but don’t center the evening on/around the food and the act of eating all of it.
  2. Plan Fitness – With limited time, shopping exhaustion and colder weather, our fitness routines get displaced. Since moving increases your energy, your mood and your metabolism, this is the last thing you want to give up over the holiday season. Instead, make dates with friends to go to yoga together rather than getting drinks. Schedule spin class or any classes that you have to pay for if you miss. This is a great incentive to make sure you attend class.
  3. Make a Date – Use your daily planner or PDA to schedule all activities, whether it is food shopping, meal prep, exercise or therapy. If it gets scheduled, just like any important meeting, you will set the precedent to ensure this activity gets done.
  4. Slow down and Savor – Being a foodie, I know how hard it is not to celebrate with food. However, you can change your mindset and that of your guests too by hosting smaller, more intimate holiday parties. Create small, intense, flavorful meals. Start the meal off with a prayer, a toast or even a moment of silence to allow you and your guests to refocus, create inner calm, and engage in mindful eating.
  5. Use Your Five Senses – Rather than race through your holiday meal and overeat, be sure to use all five senses while eating. Smell your food and think about memories the aroma may conjure up. Touch your food is your bread hot and crusty or naturally rough with seeds and nuts? Think about the texture and how it makes you feel. Really look at the plate. Is the food presented beautifully? Are there multiple colors on your plate there should be. Listen to the food. Yes, listen to see if the turkey’s skin is crispy or the biscotti crunchy. And finally taste your meal!! Many people eat an entire meal and can never tell you what it really tasted like. They were too busy talking, or shoveling the food in so they could either leave the dinner table or get seconds. This holiday season, be healthy mentally and physically by truly tasting your food and appreciating each bite. A small amount of food tasted will fulfill you more than a few plates of food you never tasted would.