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It’s that time of year again.  For those in the Northern Hemisphere the weather’s Snowflower2010 HDRcooling off, the leaves are turning (or have already fallen) and the holidays are approaching quickly.  For those in the US, this means the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday, and a really festive time of the year centered around giving, family, and food.

I really love the holidays, but know that for most this is a dietary, nutrition-busting zone that seems to be a platform for gluttony, sloth, perhaps a few more of the deadly sins, and a body image low point in the year from which you have to recover as you move into Spring.  However, it certainly doesn’t have to be.

My challenge to you is to enjoy the holidays, but to make a plan incorporating some “small steps” so that you not only avoid spiraling into a state of pudge-laiden guilt, but that you enter the new year on January 1 in better shape than you were on November 1.

86523327It does take some discipline, but more importantly it takes a plan.  Every year, I set a goal to double-down on nutrition and exercise during the “holiday season”, so that I’m in better shape at the end of it, than I am at the beginning of it.  My plan is not about saying “No” to everything, and I enjoy myself during this period.  However, I do not waver from my plan – – and I remember, how good it will feel come Spring time, beach weather, etc., if I turn the season of gluttony into window for improvement.  Your plan can include whatever steps you’d like to tackle.  However, I thought I would share some of my specific “Holiday Health Steps” that you can incorporate into your plan:

Mark’s Holiday Health Steps:

  1. No Going Back for Seconds:  One reasonably sized plate of food.  The contents should be balance with protein, veggies, etc., but can have limited amounts of the bad stuff (e.g. stuffing, roles, sweets, etc).  The goal here is to control the “bottomless” plate phenomena.
  2. Related to item one.  Eat the healthy stuff first, and take your time.  You’ll allow your mind to notice you’re full and won’t crave overloading on crap, if you’ve eaten the good stuff already.
  3. Limit “Grazing” Options:  Don’t leave plates of holiday cookies, fudge or candy out in the open.  If you’re in an office environment, ask that the “snack/pot luck station” be relocated if it’s near your workspace.  Even if these things are in your house or office, having them around the corner, or better yet in the cupboard is better than having them in the open.
  4. Drink More Water:  Keeps you full.  Helps your metabolism moving, and is just good for you.
  5. Move More:  Park at the far side of the parking lot when shopping, use the stairs, volunteer to meet others in their office – – and move (no exceptions to these rules).  Strive for 10,000 steps a day from Nov 1 until January 1.  You can even use a pedometer, Up, Fitbit, or Fuelband and have fun with it.

If you have a rigorous fitness routine that includes weights, running, etc., don’t vary during this period – – keep it up.

With a plan, you have a chance, so “Happy and Healthy Holidays!”

Small steps add up!!!